This year we watched as Easterseals clients and families across the country reached incredible milestones, achieved their goals, and set new ones. Our organization announced exciting changes, strengthened our resolve to protect services for people with disabilities, and expanded our programs to meet the needs of individuals in their communities. We couldn't have done it without the support and advocacy from friends like you. Check out our top moments of 2017:
In November 2017, we announced that Angela F. Williams will serve as the tenth CEO in our nearly 100 year history. We’re thrilled to have Angela at the helm to lead us into our 100th anniversary in 2019. Stay tuned as we share more about Angela and her vision for Easterseals. For now, learn more about Angela’s strong record of accomplishment and leadership.
This year our 72 affiliates nationwide served more than 1.5 million million people with disabilities, veterans, seniors and caregivers, responding to the direct and urgent needs of their communities. This grassroots effort is what makes our programs and services so effective. We’re grateful to our talented staff and volunteers across the country for helping people with disabilities and their families live, learn, work and play in their communities.
Throughout the year we’ve continued to help infants, toddlers and young children get the strongest start in life through services like early intervention and inclusive child development centers. We also supported and prepared parents through resources like our Ages and Stages Questionnaire, a free online screening tool which helps identify important milestones from birth to five years of age.
Our services were there for families with babies like Layton. When Layton was born with a cleft palate, Easterseals South Carolina was the obvious choice to his parents. Read more about how Easterseals helped Layton.
The disability unemployment rate was two times higher for people with disabilities than people without a disability in 2017. We’re continuing our commitment to close that gap by equipping people with disabilities with essential skills and the necessary supports to find and maintain meaningful employment. This year we assisted friends like Stephanie. Check out Stephanie's story below:
Additionally, the Department of Labor reaffirmed their confidence in our commitment to serve mature workers eager to be retrained and reenter the workforce through the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) by awarding a continuation grant for another year. In 2017 we served over 3,500 individuals over the age of 55, placed more than one job seeker per day into competitive, integrated employment in their community, and provided over 1.6 million hours of volunteer service to local non-profit and governmental agencies in communities nationwide.
Easterseals continued to respond to the needs of veterans, military families and caregivers from coast to coast through essential services and initiatives.
Through a generous grant from an anonymous donor, Easterseals impacted the lives of female veterans in 15 markets across the United States. Collective program efforts supported over 1,500 female veterans in areas such as job training, care coordination, childcare and counseling. Over $100,000 in emergency assistance was provided to 103 female veterans from 14 states, representing all branches of service. Ages ranged from 23 to 70 with primary assistance provided for housing, vehicle repair, and utilities. One such receipient was Sonya Broadway from Houston, Texas, who received financial support from Easterseals Greater Houston in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
We also expanded our dedication to successful reintegration in other parts of the country with high military populations. This year, the Steven A. Cohen Military Clinic was opened at Easterseals DC | MD | VA to provide high-quality, accessible and integrated behavioral health care to veterans and their families or caregivers. At Easterseals New Hampshire, The Farnum Center for military veterans expanded to include a new outpatient facility for the treatment of addiction and substance misuse.
We’re helping people get to where they need—and want—to go! Easterseals, through its National Aging and Disability Transportation Center (NADTC) answered over 30,000 inquiries about transportation options, ADA regulations, and effective ways to provide transportation to people with disabilities, older adults, their families, and caregivers. Our National Center for Mobility Management (NCMM) continued to generate and share new knowledge in the mobility management arena leading to state, regional, and community partnerships and systems development.
We hosted three Twitter chats on topics including respect and inclusion, disability identity and pride, and women with disabilities in the workplace. We were joined by influential people in the disability community who are breaking down barriers and paving the way for inclusion, like Madeline Stuart, the world's first supermodel with Down syndrome. We also hosted the Disability Film Challenge, created by Nic Novicki with support from Easterseals Southern California. By encouraging filmmakers with and without disabilities to write and produce their own short films, the Disability Film Challenge is breaking down barrier to representation of people with disabilities in the media.
In 2017, thousands of advocates across the country mobilized to protect services crucial to children and adults with disabilities and their families. Thanks to the efforts and advocacy of disability activists, parents, friends, healthcare professionals and supporters, we were able to send a petition to Congress with over 2,500 signatures; collect more than 250 stories from parents and individuals with disabilites about the impact Medicaid has made on their lives; craft 22,403 messages to Congress; and much more. Together, we raised our voices to protect services through attempts at healthcare reform, tax reform, and budget cuts. We're grateful to all who joined in these efforts and look forward to all we can accomplish together in advocacy in 2018.
In 2017, 18 Easterseals affiliates across the country introduced our fresh, new brand in their communities. Check out our latest PSA to learn more
Our national corporate partners supported services that help people with disabilities in a variety of ways – from health and wellness programs, financial literacy and assistive technology services to children’s services and everything in between.
Our donors’ generous support meant so much to us this year. In communities large and small, our donors helped fund incredible initiatives like a new fitness center at Easterseals Serving Chicagoland and Rockford. When we needed you the most – particularly in the aftermath of the devastation caused by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma which impacted the affiliates and families we serve in Houston and throughout Florida – you were there, and we’re so grateful.