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Easterseals Top Moments of 2016

2016 was a landmark year for Easterseals. We introduced our new brand, along with other exciting changes; we celebrated the achievements of children and adults at our 75 locations across the country, and we forged and fostered incredible partnerships that helped us continue our mission to change the way the world defines and view disabilities. Check out our top moments of 2016, and help us make 2017 even more impactful.

*Note that these are in no particular order.

1. Easterseals’ new brand

Easterseals Southern California brand launch revealing new logo

In May 2016 we unveiled our fresh new brand, including a new logo, tagline, colors, and a reimagined name of “Easterseals.” Throughout the year, 35 of our locations across the country revealed the brand in exciting and creative ways, like this inspiring video from Easterseals Serving Greater Cincinnati and brand launch parties, like the one at Easterseals Southern California (left). One thing we aren’t changing is who we help or how we make a difference. We remain the vital resource for people living with disabilities, veterans, caregivers and families.

2. Disability is in the spotlight

This year, we saw disability portrayed on the television shows Speechless and Born This Way. In Speechless, the DiMeo family (including teenager J.J., who has cerebral palsy) faces successes and challenges familiar to any American family. On Born This Way, a reality TV show, a group of young adults with Down syndrome experience the typical trials and tribulations of young adulthood. We had the opportunity to chat with the people behind Speechless and Born This Way and learn more about their inspiration and motivation for creating these shows. Our CEO Randy Rutta also shared his take on disability in the media.

3. Did you see our episode of Mack & Moxy?

The Owens family

Speaking of disability on TV, Easterseals was featured on an episode of the acclaimed children’s television show Mack & Moxy! Easterseals kid Charlie Owens from our Midwest location in St. Louis, Missouri, was the star of the show and shared the important message of autism inclusion. We are so proud of Charlie for being the first child non-actor with autism featured in an entertainment program of this capacity. Be sure to catch Mack & Moxy on Netflix or check your local listings for show times.

4. We went to Capitol Hill for our Advocacy Summit

Easterseals friends in front of the West Wing at the Advocacy Summit

In June, Easterseals met with elected officials to address a number of issues facing people with disabilities, veterans and their families for the 2016 Advocacy Summit. These issues included assisting caregivers, workers with disabilities, young children and families, and supporting older workers and America’s veterans.

5. We chatted on social media about today’s important topics

In 2016, we hosted Twitter and Facebook chats about romantic relationships with autism; disability on reality TV; finance tips; fashion and disability; and being fearless. Thanks to all of our panelists and to everyone who participated in the chats. Be on the lookout for more in 2017!

6. A grant from PwC helped support military transition assistance programs

NCO and Public Affairs Officer Michael Leverton

Through a $1.2 million, four-year grant from the PwC Charitable Foundation, Inc., Easterseals Dixon Center was able to assist service members who are nearing the end of their military service make successful career transitions prior to their separation from the military. Along with the Teamsters Military Assistance Program (TMAP) and ABF Freight, we’re helping military service members like NCO and Public Affairs Officer Michael Leverton.

7. Easterseals and the election

Beginning in late spring, we published blogs, articles, surveys, and resources for people with disabilities and their families. We were proud to create an election hub, three-step voter checklist, and an open letter to the candidates based on responses from a survey open to the public that drew nearly 375 responses. In the week before the election, our blogger Beth Finke published an op-ed in the New York Daily News about casting her vote as a person who is blind.

The winning lily seal of 2016 titled
8. We have a new Lily Seal

Our Lily Seal of the Year contest was held this fall in a bracket-style competition. After nearly 1,000 votes were cast, “Blending In” by Ana Pilavjyan (left) was the winner.

9. Friends, supporters, and employees of Easterseals gave thanks

During the month of November, we asked people to write to us about someone or something they’re grateful for this year in a campaign we called Statements of Gratitude. We received a number of thoughtful, inspiring, and heartwarming responses, including video submissions like this one from Erin Hawley, digital content producer for Easterseals Thrive. It’s never too late to share with us what you’re thankful for, so let us know who, or what, you’re grateful for!

10. You told us what “Easterseals is…”

This fall, supporters told us what Easterseals means to them using the hashtag #DisabilityTogether. Responses poured in from around the country and included personal stories and touching tributes all beginning with “Easterseals is…”Want to join in? Share what Easterseals means to you today. Some examples of the campaign were even featured in Times Square in New York City (right).

11. We revitalized our smoking cessation website in partnership with the CVS Health Foundation

Our smoking cessation website was updated to include a health survey, facts about quitting smoking, and more resources to help people with disabilities and veterans stop smoking. Are you ready to quit? Access these resources now!

12. The Smithsonian featured Easterseals (and our iconic lily stamp) in a digital exhibit

As we continue to look to the future, we also remember our past. This year, the Smithsonian National Postal Museum featured Easterseals in a digital exhibit about our mail program and the impact of the lily seal. Included in the exhibit are a history of Easterseals and a timeline beginning in 1919 through present day. Check out how Easterseals has changed through the decades in this engaging exhibit.

The cover of Parents Magazine features a woman with her son who has Down syndrome
13. Disability was featured in the October issue of Parents magazine…and so were we!

The October edition of Parents Magazine was its 90th anniversary issue and focused on the theme of “Today’s American Family”, with a cover featuring a mom with her toddler who has Down syndrome. An advertorial promoting Easterseals was included in the issue with a shout out to Make the First Five Count.

14. We formed a partnership with a new autism documentary

A new documentary called Swim Team is making the festival rounds this season, and Easterseals is thrilled to partner with the film to elevate awareness about issues raised in the film, such as inclusion and employment. Read our exclusive Q&A with Lara Stolman, the director of the film.

15. Our Easterseals Thrive community grew

We’re proud of the community Easterseals Thrive has (and continues) to become year after year. In 2016, Thrive hosted (and participated) in Twitter chats, held a book club, made a Spotify playlist to motivate young women, wrote about relationships and interdependence, and fostered friendships among young women with disabilities. Keep up with Easterseals Thrive on Facebook and Twitter and join the amazing community.

16. We helped people every day thanks to you

We served over one million people with disabilities and their families, veterans, older Americans, and caregivers thanks to support from friends like you, a caring network of staff at each of our locations across the country, and many more who are eager to change the way the world defines and views disability. Help us continue our work in 2017 by supporting us with a charitable donation.

Comment below with your picks or tweet @Easter_Seals to let us know.

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