COMMUNITY GEMS: Englewood man receives national award for his leadership

From left, Eric Dyer, Brett Breeze, center back, Jesse Sorah and DeMar Cotton out in front of the I Am Boundless Inc. at 700 Liberty Lane in West Carrollton. Breeze won a national award for his leadership work at Boundless helping people with disabilities. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

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From left, Eric Dyer, Brett Breeze, center back, Jesse Sorah and DeMar Cotton out in front of the I Am Boundless Inc. at 700 Liberty Lane in West Carrollton. Breeze won a national award for his leadership work at Boundless helping people with disabilities. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

Brett Breeze honored for work as direct support professional

I Am Boundless, Inc., was not named by accident, Brett Breeze said.

The statewide nonprofit organization believes in the boundless potential of everyone, including the children and adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities that it serves through its social services programs.

“Our main mission is to try to see people with these challenges have the freedom and opportunity to have their best lives,” said Breeze, of Englewood.

Breeze, 46, was honored this year for his part in that mission. He was named the 2022 Direct Support Professional of the Year in the leadership category by the American Network of Community Options and Resources, a national nonprofit trade association and advocate for the role of service providers.

“I was in shock,” he said. “Once I realized that it was a national award, it was very humbling.”

Breeze, a Dayton Daily News Community Gem, has a philosophy of leadership by service, said Deborah Randall, a regional director for Boundless that oversees the Dayton area. She was unsurprised that Breeze received the honor.

Breeze, whom Randall has known for about five years, is unique in that he can equally lead a group of peers or a group of individuals directly supported by Boundless, which is based in West Carrollton.

“Brett is an honest, flexible, humble person. He’s so sensitive to the needs of others,” Randall said.

Breeze, who recently was named to a new position with Boundless, worked for more than a decade as a disability services provider, primarily in the vocational training program.

Through the Pets & People program, he helped individuals learn both hard and soft skills as they made dog treats that are sold in stores throughout the Dayton area and online. Participants in the program make the treats from scratch, doing everything from measuring the ingredients to running the machines to labeling the packages.

The skills they learn are transferable to other jobs within the community – not only the precise tasks, but also skills such as how to interact with coworkers and customers and taking direction from a supervisor.

“It’s always the goal to get everyone as integrated in the community as possible,” he said.

That includes outreach, and preparing the community for the clients, too. Program participants also help to deliver orders, allowing customers to meet them and for participants to see that what they are doing has an impact on their community, he said.

“They really thrive when they understand that other people need them,” said Breeze, who estimated that he has worked with about 100 individuals.

Boundless also has a workforce program that can help them transition to jobs within the community. Breeze finds it bittersweet to see these individuals move on, but it is rewarding to see them confident in their abilities.

Breeze began a new job with Boundless this spring, as manager of a respite services program that started earlier this year for families of children. Randall said that Breeze is capable of anything that is asked of him and hit the ground running in his new position.

“There’s really nothing that I don’t think Brett would be amazing at doing,” Randall said.

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