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Brighter Futures Celebration

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Honoring the achievements of three people with bright futures, and one outstanding partner committed to employing individuals with disadvantages and disabilities

2017 Brighter Futures Celebration
November 8, 2017
JACK Casino
5:30 Cocktail Hour
6:30 Dinner and Ceremony


We are looking forward to celebrating three individuals who broke down barriers to employment and are experiencing bright futures full of possibility. We will honor Kaivac Cleaning Systems with the 2017 Outstanding Community Partner Award in recognition of more than ten years of partnership in creating employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

Sponsors for Brighter Futures Celebration 2017

Thank you for your support in 2016!

You raised more than $85,000 for Easterseals' vital programs that break down barriers and build a more diverse and inclusive community. Our four awardees' incredible stories show the resilience and perseverance of individuals in our community. They also illustrated the power of a helping hand--a helping hand that your support allowed Easterseals to provide.

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Honorary Co-Chairs: Thomas and Beth Johnson

Check out pictures from this inspiring evening! by Easterseals.

Honorees from 2016:

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
2016 Outstanding Community Partner
Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden

The Cincinnati Zoo has been involved in Easterseals’ vital work in the community for more than ten years. The Zoo welcomes people with disabilities as volunteers. When they needed local properties deconstructed to make way for new developments, the Zoo enlisted Building Value. The Zoo’s recycle bins were commissioned from Building Ability. This strong partnership achieves incredible impact in building a more diverse and inclusive community.

Jerry Elliott, Jr.

Spirit of Easterseals

Spirit of Easterseals Award 2016

Watch Jerry's story.

Prior to Easterseals, Jerry was orphaned, immigrated from Liberia, and came to Cincinnati, only to encounter homelessness. Thanks to his incredible work ethic and the experience he gained through YouthBuild and Building Value, he is now in his second year of apprenticeship at Messer and is able to support his family. 

Nikki Vandergriff

Independence Award

Independence Award 2016

Watch Nikki's story.

Refusing to be defined by her disability, Nikki didn’t let past employment frustrations deter her. Her hard work and determination led her to be hired as a Kitting Specialist with Easterseals. She has also become very involved with the Easterseals' Addressing Health Disparities Initiatives. She attended many classes, found a primary care physician, improved her eating and exercise habits, and lowered her blood pressue and BMI! She has taken control of her life and is loving every minute of it.

Eric and Kelli Fitzgerald

Upward Mobility Award

Upward Mobility Award 2016

Watch Eric and Kelli's story.

After serving our country well in the US Army and Navy respectively, Eric and Kelli both struggled to find employment that both challenged and fulfilled. They had the courage to ask for help from Easterseals, and never gave up. Their hard work and perseverance led them to their current jobs, where they feel they are working at their full potential.

YOU can support Easterseals' work in the community.

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