July hosts one of our very favorite holidays: 4th of July. Not only because it revels in our marvelous nation but because it promotes our very favorite word:
At the end of the day our goal is simple: help people with special needs become
independent. For nearly 100
years Easter Seals has
worked to ensure that these individuals have a place that is both safe and
pushes them excel to their full potential. One way we do this is through our employment services. Nationwide, Easter Seals has
been able to assist thousands of people with a variety of special needs train, prepare for, and find
a job. Because unemployment among the disability community is twelve times that of the average, we take
this issue very seriously and it
is constantly on our minds. Hearing of a first pay check or the latest friend
someone made at work is as exciting for us as it is for them. We hope to shrink
the unemployment rate and expand awareness for the equality of all people in
the workplace. INDEPENDENCE
is for all people, we are here to make sure that message is not forgotten. For
more information please log onto our website fl.easterseals.com and see how you
can get involved in the quest for independence. Independence
Friday, July 4, 2014
Thursday, May 22, 2014
Parents are among the strongest people we know. Sometimes it’s hard to believe all the unconditional love, support and care one person can give to another. This is why parents with special needs children are so important to us! We want to take the time out to mention one of the incredible parents we have been lucky enough to work with.
Shaquita’s Story: Shaquita Davis discovered she was expecting beautiful twin girls at five months pregnant. This happy news would prove to be short-lived however, as the doctor later informed her that there were apparent complications. Shaquita’s twins had what is known as twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. The girls were developing in a shared placenta sack with abnormal blood vessels. In her case, one twin was not receiving as many nutrients as the other, placing all three lives in jeopardy. The possibility of one child thriving while the other developed heart defects or grew malnourished was looming.
As her pregnancy progressed, doctors told Shaquita that the only way of ensuring the survival of her twins was to have emergency surgery. Concerned for her girls, she made an immediate decision to undergo surgery; even if it meant endangering her own life. After hours in the OR, the procedure was successful and Shaquita’s beautiful identical twin girls were born. Their names, Truste’ and B’Lyeve, are reminiscent of their inspiring journey into life. Truste’ was born with a cleft lip palate and had corrective surgery. B’Lyeve defied the odds and survived!
Shaquita came to the Easter Seals Murray Child Development Center after one twin was diagnosed with physical and developmental delays. Not wanting to separate her girls, she enrolled Truste’ and B’Lyeve in our program as it was the only place that would accept them both. Shaquita believes this is the perfect place for her 9-month old children to grow together and support each other, especially though their vital developmental stages.
For more stories that parents have shared click:
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Easter Seals Florida takes pride in the ways that we integrate our programs with mother nature. Our very own Day Break center for adults and seniors is home to a marvelous sensory garden. There, our older adult members are able to plant a variety of different flowers, vegetables and herbs. We like to think that it’s the union of social interactions and nature that keep our members happy.
Camp Challenge also proves this each and every year. Every child and adult that comes our patch of forested fun leaves feeling a new vigor. We have our campers interact with all sorts of life from trees on the zipline, petting zoo animals, nature trails and more. We couldn’t provide all of these things without loving our earth and respecting it in every way possible. We are proud to say that both our campers and our camp counselors are constantly learning about our earth and how to maintain it's impeccable beauty. So here’s to making every day Earth Day!
If you are interested in helping us keep Camp Challenge the lush, green playground it is visit: http://bit.ly/1mkS0Gv
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
There is a difference between being “different” and being “unique”. As an individual facing developmental disabilities, there’s no denying Michelle is “different” from your average 24 year old. She is one of the 4.6 million Americans living with such a disability, but out of those millions, she is unique. And that’s where we come in.
After moving to Central Florida from New Jersey, Michelle’s family discovered our Day Break program located in Winter Park. Her mother and step-father, both employed full time, felt uneasy about leaving their daughter home while they were working. Apart from Michelle living with congenital heart disease, developmental delays and hypertension, Michelle’s parents were concerned about her introverted nature. They wanted her to be social and were certain that in their absence, she would spent a majority of her time watching TV. Luckily, they found just what they were looking for in Easter Seals. Day Break offers a caring daytime environment for adults over the age of 18 with special needs or disabilities. With a balanced daily meal and plenty of social activities for Michelle, her parents couldn’t think of a better place for her. So, they decided to dive in.
At first, Michelle was shy and reserved. Given a few months, however, Michelle would soon become quite the social butterfly. She discovered her love for arts & crafts and her incredible urge to help others in any way she possible. Her parents are absolutely thrilled with her daily socialization, and thank goodness too, because with her ever-growing enthusiasm and caring nature we can’t help but adore her! At Day Break, Michelle has been able to meet new people, try a variation of activities, and discover exactly what makes her unique.
In honor of March being “Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month” we want to not only share Michelle’s awesome story of self-discovery, but promote the awareness of individuals living with developmental disabilities. Everyone deserves their chance to shine and we at Easter Seals let our members shine every single day.
Monday, March 17, 2014
Our mission at Easter Seals has always been to promote the independence of people with disabilities to live ordinary lives. We work tirelessly to ensure our community is aware of the challenges they face, but more importantly, we spread the value of treating all people equally. Since 1919 we have been the leader in providing both children and adults with the tools they need to reach their full potential. Because we are ever-growing with services that reach a huge spectrum of people, it’s safe to say that our website hasn’t always been quite caught up. But, all of that is about to change…Easter Seals Florida is delighted to unveil our new and improved website! We decided that it was about time that we had an online presence that was just as beautiful as our mission itself. We’re proud to announce that we’ve surpassed all expectations.
· Live social media feed
· Mobile friendly formatting
· New drop down navigation feature
· Dynamic and appealing web design
· Content tailored for the user experience
· New news section replete with client success stories
Most importantly: We designed our website to be accessible for our special needs clients so they can have all the information they need at their fingertips!
Be the first person to Tweet what year our logo began feturing a lily with the hashtag #ESFL and win a free iPhone 5 case! (Hint: it's under "History")
So, what are you waiting for? Come check us out!
Monday, February 10, 2014
Love truly is blind. It doesn't care what ethnicity you are, where you are located or even if you have a disability. It always finds its way into your heart. With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching we would like to reflect on the many different kinds of love found in our organization. From the love of a husband and wife to that of two friends who met in one of our programs, Easter Seals has a passion for spreading love and all its beauty. With that said, here are some of the kinds of love you’ll find in our organization:
- Love of Learning: A child with a disability is just as curious and eager to learn as the rest of us. We get such joy from seeing our young members grow and develop. Their thirst for knowledge is inspirational and their love for books, blocks and all things colorful keep us wanting to teach them all about the world around them.
- Military Love: We offer respite services to the families of military veterans while they are serving our country. It’s incredible to see how big of an impact these individuals have in the community and we are lucky to be able to work with such honorable citizens. In them we constantly see the love they have for their country and, of course, the love of their families who are anxiously awaiting their arrival.
- Family Love: The love and support our clients receive from their families never fails to amaze us. Mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters are some of the most incredible people we come across. Their passion for our organization is what drives us and the unconditional love they provide for their family member living with a disability or special need moves us deeply.
- Summer Love: Our annual summer camp,
always leaves us feeling like we made our campers truly happy. The entirely
accessible campground gives our members the ability to do things such as feed
farm animals, ride horses and even zip line! Their love for animals, the
outdoors and their freedom keeps us looking forward to another successful
summer. Camp Challenge
- Community Love: Our community is a huge support for our mission of awareness and independence for those living with disabilities. We have amazing volunteers and local partners whose devotion is truly treasured. Their constant love and willingness to help is something that we value beyond measure.
- True Love: We often hear and see happy couples with one of the two dealing with a disability. Their love stories are touching, to say the least. The pure love for one another is often something out of movies and we can’t thank them enough for the generosity of sharing their fairytale endings with us at Easter Seals.
Thursday, January 2, 2014
It’s a New Year and what a better way to spend the year new year than by saving a few bucks? You may not give big dollars or throw a big fundraising soirée but your volunteer time is valuable to us too.
During this season of giving, we want to let you know how much the giving of your time means to us. Time is such a precious gift, and through the time taken out of your busy schedule, time away from family or friends, you are impacting the lives of our families. As a small way to say thank you, we wanted to share the ways to deduct certain volunteer expenses on your tax returns this year.
Here are a couple of items that the IRS allows volunteers at a nonprofit to deduct from their taxable income (These can be verified through the volunteer coordinator of Easter Seals Florida):
Car and transportation expenses
This includes expenses such as, but not limited to, back and forth from home to office, meetings, or events. This can be recorded as actual gas used or by keeping track of the mileage at the rate of 14 cent per mile.
This includes expenses such as, but not limited to, airfare, other transportation, accommodations, and meals when preforming services away from home.
Other: Out-of-pocket expenses
Includes expenses such as, but not limited to, supplies for arts and crafts, new books purchased, printed materials for activities, background screening (unreimbursed), etc.
For more information on the limitations of tax deductions please visit, http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/remind-nonprofit-volunteers-tax-deductions-29659.html.
If you would like more information about volunteerism at your local Easter Seals please visit www.fl.easterseals.com/volunteering. Can’t wait to hear how much you saved this year. #SavingBig #TaxBreak