There are no better ambassadors for our programs than the folks that directly benefit from or participate in the programs themselves. They are natural messengers for our cause, speaking with authority and bearing witness to a program's effectiveness and worth.
Here at Easterseals, we're fortunate to have a small army of program ambassadors. Every year, Easterseals National office in D.C. teaches a new group of participants from our Senior Community Service Employment Programs (SCSEP) across the country the skills they need to run their local Participant Advisory Council (PAC). Members of each PAC provide information to employers, elected officials, and participants regarding the benefits of hiring seniors as well as age and disability awareness and education. This inclusive practice results in increased confidence, learning, sense of self-worth, and self-reliance for participants - all of which improve the lives of our seniors and their capacity to become and stay employed.
This year, Easterseals Oregon chose Brenda to be our chapter's attendee. Together with the representatives (pictured above) from each of the other 10 Easterseals affiliate SCSEPs, they shared their stories to ensure that people are aware of and know how to support this successful program.
While in D.C., the PAC members also met with senators and members of congress, including an informal meet and greet where we could recognize those who support our work, with several representatives taking the time to join us. Oregon's own, Sen. Ron Wyden stopped by to say 'hi' to the group and take a picture with Brenda.
Sen. Wyden and the other attending electeds were presented with a certificate lauding the results they have helped SCSEP achieve. More than 400 seniors secured work this year through this vital program. And, more than 42,000 have reentered the workforce since 2003. Those are some impressive numbers!
So, a sincere thank you to Brenda and the rest of this year's delegation for their PAC leadership and the great advocacy work. And of course, many thanks to the congressional members for their support.