In the Community: Beyond Our Boundaries

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    Beyond Our Boundaries opened its doors in Canton, Ohio in January of 2001.

    The concept of Beyond Our Boundaries evolved after a series of past experiences by founder Debra Shumard. For fifteen years, Debra taught ballroom dancing to senior citizens, as well as couples and singles groups.

    One day, while visiting with her brother who has autism, she thought about the possibility of hosting a class with people with developmental disabilities. Once Debra realized her plan could become a reality, the classes were held at five different locations throughout Northeast Ohio. “While my brother did not sign up for the class, a lot of others did!” Debra said.

    After Debra started taking groups to ballroom dances in Akron and Canton, she quickly realized how much the participants desired to go out and socialize at other events. There was only one problem- there were no other events. Especially hard to find were any kind of organizations that allowed those with disabilities to have the chance to go on vacation.

    In order to learn more and gain experience with taking people on vacations, Debra decided to pursue her master’s degree in Therapeutic Recreation at Kent State University. After finishing her degree, Beyond Our Boundaries was born.

    The Trips

    Beyond Our Boundaries offers a variety of trips throughout the year, including both bus trips and flights. Each trip averages somewhere between 20-45 people and has a 1:3 chaperone to participant ratio. They operate on a detailed itinerary developed with the participants in mind, highlighting both the popular parts of each city as well as lesser known, quaint locations of each city. Past trips have included Seattle, San Antonio, Anaheim, New York, Chicago, and Orlando, not to mention an Alaskan cruise, a Bahamas cruise, and an England/France cruise. “ I think they have represented us (Northeast Ohio) very well in many parts of the country. Our travelers love to meet new people on the trips and tell them all about where we call home”, Debra explains.

    Other Ventures

    Rising from their original concept, Beyond our Boundaries created two other companies that reinforce their mission of disability inclusiveness. is an online training platform for caregivers of people with developmental disabilities. Most recently, Beyond our Boundaries Virtual Tours was created. This venture is designed to offer video tours hosted by a young man with developmental disabilities named Bob. His first tour, the pilot project, was filmed in Pittsburgh and takes the viewer to several notable places throughout the city including The Heinz Museum, The Cathedral of Learning, The Incline, Primanti Brothers, and the Carnegie Science Center. During these visits, Bob interviews key citizens and talks about the friendliness and accessibility of the city.

    In hopes of developing an interest in travel for teens with cognitive disabilities, they also offer a lesson plan kit that can be used by teachers of teens with disabilities, along with the video, to learn multiple subjects. “We are currently looking at ways to place this in classrooms”, Debra expressed.

    Looking to the Future

    Beyond Our Boundaries has grown immensely over the past 18 years and shows no signs of slowing down. “We have a plan, with Beyond our Boundaries Virtual Tours, that may help us expand our business model to encourage people with disabilities across the country to visit more cities, step out of their comfort zone, learn to love travel and then model that concept to peers in other cities”, Debra explains, “I see us going as far as we can go!”

    Liner Legal Canton

    The Liner Legal Canton office is located near the heart of downtown Canton at 800 Market Ave N, Suite 410B Canton, OH 44709. If you or a loved one needs help with their disability benefits or is fighting a long term disability insurance company, call Liner Legal Canton at 216-282-1773 today. This fight cannot be fought alone.