On April 13, the City of Middleburg Heights celebrated the retirement of Helga Sheppard and the impact she has made on this community. When she started working for the Middleburg Heights Recreation Department on April 13, 1993, Helga saw a great need for a program that helps children with special needs. Along with Carl Guarnieri and Cindy Schultz, Helga Sheppard developed the ASK program, Adaptive Sports for Kids, which organized sports programs adapted for children with different needs. As Director, Helga organized softball, basketball and bowling programs. The success of the ASK sports programs led to Helga organizing social events for these children including field trips and dances.

The ASK program became an essential recreational and social experience for the children and families in the community. Helga’s constant encouragement and attention helped children feel special and important, specifically during the annual ASK banquet where she presented trophies and awards to the children. Helga was such a positive influence for these children that even today, many of them work and volunteer for the ASK program as adults.

During her 23 years as an invaluable director and organizer of the ASK program, Helga’s commitment to children with special needs has made our Recreation Department and our city a better, more caring community. To honor the hard work and dedication of Helga Sheppard, Mayor Starr declared April 13 Helga Sheppard Day in Middleburg Heights.

Thank you, Helga, for your dedication and the positive, lasting impact you have made on this city.