Friday, July 26, 2013

Celebrating 23rd Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

Life is about self-fulfillment and achieving goals. Whether it is as simple  as tying your shoe or running for president, we all have different goals in life. What if someone told you that assembling packages is like becoming president? For some individuals it is.

Today marks the 23rd Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Without this civil rights legislation, there are many individuals that would not be able “to enjoy employment opportunities, to purchase goods and services, and to participate in State and local government programs and services.” Easter Seals’ mission mirrors the ADA and what it stands for: To provide exceptional services to ensure that all people with disabilities or special needs and their families have equal opportunities to live, learn, work and play in their communities.

If the ADA did not exist we wouldn't have our Vocational Services, which offers individuals with disabilities and special needs the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to deliver high quality work to companies in the community.

Today I want to remind you of this significant legislation that allowed people with disabilities to have the equal opportunities of employment. I want to share an article that lists the top 10 inspirational novels about disabilities and reality:

  1. “Under the Eye of the Clock,” by Christopher Nolan (Skyhorse, 1987). This autobiographical novel by the late Irish poet Christopher Nolan, who had cerebral palsy, is a gorgeous and insightful book about the expansive life of a man who seemed entirely trapped in his chair. He pecked out this story with a pencil attached to his forehead. My wife and I have given away more copies than we can count.
  2. “Lark and Termite,” by Jayne Anne Phillips (Vintage, 2009). This powerful, complex novel moves between two stories: the No Gun Ri massacre during the Korean War in 1950 and a devastating flood that confronts a West Virginia family in 1959. Termite, a profoundly and multiply handicapped boy, is cared for by his aunt and his devoted 17-year-old half-sister, Lark. Theirs is one of the most affecting sibling relationships in American literature.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Dando es como recibimos

It’s better to give than to receive (English). 

Can you image being in another country and you don’t know the language? I must say it was difficult for me to communicate when I was in Hungary four summers ago, and I think the most difficult part was expressing my needs. Have you ever considered how this would feel on a day-to-day base? Sara Osleger does.  

Sara Osleger who is a mother of 3 year old twins and a volunteer at Easter Seals Florida’s Adult Day Break at the Miller Center, gave back to our members by going above and beyond. Upon her volunteering she found the need to break the language barrier between the staff and the clients. Seeing the need, she started a fundraising campaign, which raised the money to purchase four iPads, four iPads cases, and various apps. 
“I might have been the catalyst for this fundraiser but it’s the donors who directly impacted the center and made the difference," said Sara.                                                                
Bert playing a matching game app called Smiley Fruit.

This gave our staff the opportunity to communicate to those who are bilingual. Needless to say this was an amazing gift to our members and to the staff. For over 100 years Easter Seals has had countless volunteers give back to our members and over thousands of volunteer hours logged in. Sara is the definition of volunteerism. Giving back to the community and enriching the lives of others. She said: 
“I try to maintain a balanced life and that is why Easters Seals is a part of it. I’ve always been taught through my family and church how important it is to give back, and there is nothing more gratifying.” 
Whether it be a language barrier, disability, or a special need this could help Easter Seals members feel more involved and listened to because it’s better to give than receive. #VolunTweet  #DoGooder 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Achieving Goals Is What We Do

Orlando City Soccer at Camp Challenge with Kingston the mascot.
Goal!!! The crowd goes wild as Andrew kicks the ball and brushes past Jamie Watson’s legs, two for Easter Seals’ campers and one for the Orlando City Soccer Club. It is a close game but little do the campers know that Jamie has achieved his goals once he saw Andrew crack a smile and yell for joy.

Jamie Watson, a midfielder for Orlando City Soccer Club, became an Easter Seals Florida official spokesperson this past fall. Being a part of the Easter Seals team, he nearly felt at home because he too helped people with disabilities and special needs, more specifically his brother Brett. Brett was born with cerebral palsy and mental and physical delays. Much of Jamie’s life revolved around caring for his older brother and making sure he enjoyed life to the fullest. 

For over the past four weeks Jamie and his soccer team dedicated the same energy to our new accessible soccer clinics at Camp Challenge. I cannot express how thrilled we were and how excited the campers were.  Every Wednesday at 3:00PM is the time that every camper anticipates and every Wednesday at 3:00PM Jamie couldn't wait to put a smile on the campers’ faces.  

 By becoming a spokesperson for Easter Seals, I am dedicating myself to spend time with these amazing children and adults, and to help however I can.” said Jamie Watson. Not only has Jamie been a great advocate for Easter Seals Florida, but also a wonderful supporter. His goal for this season is to raise $5,000 for us and has raised over $3,000 thus far.
We all have goals in life whether it is to kick a ball into the net or to make someone smile. The latter is goal that CAN be achieved every day. You too can help by joining us at Easter Seals Appreciation Day, and help us cheer on Jamie Watson as the Orlando City Lions play the Charlotte Eagles. For every ticket purchased $5 will be donated back to Easter Seals Florida. Now, that’s something we can all smile about. #MakingMovesMonday #VolunTweet

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