Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

50 Making a Difference Profile: Dee Blose, Canadian County's Youth & Family Services

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

50 Making a Difference Profile: Dee Blose, Canadian County's Youth & Family Services

Article excerpt

Dee Blose has always been a fan of numbers, but a career crunching them wasn't to be her fate. The former tax accountant's life was profoundly changed when her second child, David, was diagnosed with autism. In the struggle to understand and find help dealing with her son's problem, Blose ended up as one of Oklahoma's leading advocates for children with developmental disabilities and their families. That quest led to a major career shift, and Blose eventually ended up in her current position as executive director of Canadian County's Youth & Family Services (YFS) headquartered in El Reno.

One of her greatest professional achievements has been the success of a $7 million fundraising campaign to build a new children's emergency shelter in El Reno. The new facility replaces an old one, housed in what was once a condemned nursing home, which "was literally falling down around us," Blose said. "I am very proud to say that as of this September we will have moved into a beautiful new facility, made possible by many, many generous donors, with not one penny of debt attached," she said.

Among many new programs, Blose initiated an annual Youth Listening Conference, which provides a forum for high school students to talk candidly about the issues that face them daily in their schools and communities. The conference is geared toward local school boards, city councils and other community leaders who are in a position to make changes that influence these students' lives. Equally influential is an annual statewide Autism Symposium, begun by Blose and YFS, and now coordinated by the Center for Learning and Leadership and the University of Oklahoma.

Blose earned her bachelor's degree in accounting at Oklahoma State University, followed by a master's degree in education from the University of Central Oklahoma. At UCO she received a merit award, given to the graduating student with the highest grade point average. She is on the board of directors for the Oklahoma Association of Youth Services, is a three-time chair of the Department of Human Services' Advisory Committee on Developmental Disabilities, and was appointed by the governor to the Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council and as the Oklahoma representative to the President's Committee on Mental Retardation. …

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