Marla Doss Celebrates 30 Years!

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Marla Doss

Marla Doss celebrates 30 years with agency serving children, teens, and adults with disabilities


Last week, Community Haven’s Board of Directors and senior leadership gathered for a special luncheon celebrating President and CEO, Marla Doss’ 30th Anniversary at the agency. When asked about her 30 years at Community Haven, Marla stated, “It has been a beautiful journey. Over sixty years ago, parents of children with developmental disabilities had a vision of a place where their children could grow and succeed. I am happy to be part of that vision 61 years later. As a citizen of this community I am committed to serving children, teens, and adults with disabilities and I want for them what every parent wants for their children- a safe and loving environment. We are delivering those services and helping people along the way and I am proud and honored to have been part of this for the past 30 years.”

President and CEO, Marla Doss graduated from Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan with a Master of Art Degree in Counseling and Personnel and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology. Her experience with working with the disabled began 30 years ago at Community Haven where she served as the Director of Residential Services, overseeing 60 full-time residents.  As her love for individuals with developmental disabilities grew so did her desire to advocate.  Marla took the position of Development Director at Community Haven so she could be out in the community and spread the word of all the accomplishments that the children, teens, and adults with disabilities were making each and every day at the agency. In October of 2011 Doss took on her most challenging role to date, President and CEO of Community Haven. With her team, Marla provides a stable and loving place for the individuals served at Community Haven. She serves on a number of committees in the Sarasota/ Bradenton area such as The Service Club of Manatee County, Downtown Sarasota Kiwanis club, and she is a member of AFP-Association of Fundraising Professionals.

During one of many conversations at the anniversary celebration, Marla reflected on the past but mentioned that she and the agency have more to do. “We have come a long way since our beginning 61 years ago,” commented Doss. “And now more than ever, children, teens, and adults with disabilities in our community need our support. We must continue engaging our community in an effort to support individuals with disabilities.”

Doss was referring to a 1.1 million dollar capital campaign to expand one of the agency’s largest programs, Haven Industries, which currently serves more than 170 adults with developmental disabilities from throughout the Sarasota-Manatee region. The program provides critical services including employability skills, vocational training, and life skills training while providing unique opportunities for individuals to work in a variety of settings. Plans for a new building include a large production and assembly area for training, a loading dock, three state of the art classrooms with assistive technology for many different types of special needs, a fitness room, and a cafeteria for lunches and special occasions.

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