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NewsMakers ’22: Judi Gerding, leader and innovator, celebrates 50 years of Point/Arc’s success

Second of five parts honoring The NKyTribune’s NewsMakers of the year. Tomorrow: Ray Hebert

By Judy Clabes
NKyTribune editor

Judi Gerding, president and founder of The Point/Arc, is a leader and innovator whose devotion to her son set her on a personal journey that not only improved her son’s quality of life but has impacted uncountable other lives along the way.

Her son Steve was diagnosed with Rubinstein-Taybu Syndrome at a young age. His mom ‘dreamed big’ for him and the dream ultimately became The Point/Arc nonprofit that is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Thanks to Judi Gerding and her husband and two other parent groups who united in 1972 to become dedicated advocates for loved one diagnosed with intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD), hundreds of Northern Kentucky families can access services from a holistic agency with a wide-rage of around-the-clock programs.

And in the process, Judi Gerding, has become a recognized — and awarded — expert in the social enterprise arena. As the intellect and energy around developing opportunties for I/DD children, young people, and adults, Gerding has created a number of social-purpose businesses that provide meaningful and productive jobs — and a path to a meaningful and productive life.

“Our history of filling in the gaps by creating integrated programs gives individuals with I/DD the opportunity to become contributing and inclusive members of our community and provides the self-esteem and pride that we all seek,” Gerding said.

For her 50 years of dedication to the improvement of the lives of I/DD individuals and for her lifelong contributions to the quality of life of the Northern Kentucky community, The NKyTribune recognizes Judi Gerding as a ’22 NewsMaker.

This is another of the wealth of recognitions and awards Gerding has gathered in her career — and all of them have been deserving and well-earned.

Judi Gerding

In 1982, The Point/Arc opened its first social enterprise. The Point Restaurant, to provide vocational training to individuals with I/DD. In 1985, The Point Commercial Cleaning Company and Employment Program to provide job training, placement and life-long follow-up was created.

The Point Commercial Laundry was established in 1996. In 2012, The Point/Arc opened the doors to The Point Apparel Company and The Point Perk coffee shop opened in 2015, “as a way for the community to come in for a feel-good cup of coffee, and to see our mission in action,” Gerding said.

But creating jobs wasn’t all Gerding had in mind.

The Point/Arc established its first group home in 1995. Today, The Point owns and operates 15 well-maintained homes in neighborhoods in all three counties in NKY that house nearly 60 residents — and provide the support that moves them to self-sufficiency in a safe environment.

In 1999, to fill a social void in the lives of those The Point/Arc serves, The Point Activities Program was launched with weekly social events, seasonal sports, monthly dances and vacations. In 2004, to provide community awareness and education for individuals with I/DD, The Point Outreach and Educational programs were established.

The Point/Arc has educational programs, that include social communication, transition programs, and career development. In 2013, The Point/Arc added case management as a way to assist individuals and families with finding resources and services through person-centered planning that will support them in achieving their dreams and aspirations.

The newest project, the Zembrodt Education Center, is an extension of Point/Arc that creates a welcoming community where people with and without disabilities can connect and learn over art and wellness offerings. Now, there can be more classes, workshops and one-to-one support — so people can reach their “fullest potential.”

The Point/Arc now serves more than 1,400 people annually through its programs and services.

“We’re always looking for new ways to fill in the service gaps and to integrate individuals with I/DD in the community to reach their fullest potential,” Gerding said.

Gerding says she feels blessed to be able to give and shares the credit for the Point/Arc’s success with many others — because “it’s a team effort.”

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One Comment

  1. Lorrie Miller Hill says:

    Love this story. God Bless people like this who use their time and talents to serve others; they are a treasure.

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