Easterseals Colorado provides employment-focused services to students with disabilities who are transitioning out of high school and into community employment, post-secondary education, adulthood and independence. Our Pre-Employment Transition Services are aimed at promoting and exploring competitive, integrated employment options for these youth in transition.
Christian Freeman, BA, WIP
Senior Director of Employment Services
(Pronouns: She, Her, and Hers)
Tuesday, December 14, 2021, 6:33 PM
Providing programs and supports that enhance quality of life and create opportunities for greater in…
Providing programs and supports that enhance quality of life and create opportunities for greater independence for its clients.
Easterseals Colorado perseveres in providing vital supports and services to individuals living with disabilities and their families in Colorado. We provide adult day programs which provide community exploration, learning experiences, outdoor recreation, while promoting a healthy lifestyle to adults living a wide range of disabilities and skill levels. We provide employment services through training and guidance that clients need to prepare for and enter the workforce so they can earn money to live and thrive. We offer recreation programs including summer camp and respite care, which provides a much needed break for families who have a child or adult with a disability. Our Disability Benefit Services assist individuals with disabilities to acquire income, health insurance, and other basic needs to stabilize their lives, health and living situations. And there is more we have to offer … go to eastersealscolorado.org to learn more.
Working together to promote independence for all Coloradans.
“Easterseals Colorado has been a true blessing for our family. Our daughter, Kim, was born with a genetic disorder that affects many parts of the body including the heart, kidneys, and lungs, and it delays growth and development, impacts intellectual ability, and can cause low muscle tone and seizures. Overwhelmed and confused we sought out help and direction from Easterseals. They offered our family respite and guided us to the programs that would be most beneficial for Kim. Throughout Kim’s life, we have relied on them for so many programs and services.
We will always be grateful for the services that our family received. Raising a child with special needs can sometimes be difficult, but knowing there is an organization like Easterseals Colorado that is by your side to help, whether it be to answer questions, or provide such amazing opportunities for people with disabilities, makes life just a bit easier.”
As you are counting your blessings this year, Easterseals Colorado asks that you consider contributing an annual gift. Your gift of $100, $250, $500, or $1,000 – or whatever you can afford – will enable Easterseals Colorado services to continue to provide and expand programs to individuals living with disabilities and their families.
When you make a donation, you help strengthen our mission to ensure everyone — regardless of age or ability — is fully included and empowered.
Donate online at eastersealscolorado.org.
Monday, November 15, 2021, 1:18 PM
Every November, we celebrate National Family Caregivers Month (NFCM) to recognize and honor those ca…
Every November, we celebrate National Family Caregivers Month (NFCM) to recognize and honor those caring for a loved one, and to raise awareness, educate, and support for caregivers across the country. From full-time family caregivers to neighbors who have volunteered to pick up groceries for the person who lives next door, a caregiver can play so many important roles– but what all caregivers have in common is that they take time and energy from their own lives to care for someone else who needs their help.
The 2021 theme is #CaregiverAnd, which encourages caregivers to celebrate the other roles, activities, and passions that enrich their lives. Caregivers are a critical part of the Easterseals community and they’ve gone above and beyond to serve our community, especially this past year. Join Easterseals Colorado in celebrating NFCM this month!
Our program, the Colorado Respite Coalition (CRC), is proud to work year-round as a vital statewide resource for caregivers of individuals of all ages and all health care needs. Working with a coordinated coalition of community partners, we promote awareness of and access to respite care services and resources that help improve the quality of life for caregivers and the individuals they care for.
In Colorado alone, there are an estimated 584,000 caregivers (AARP). Caregivers spend an average of 24.4 hours per week providing care and six out of ten caregivers are also employed. Family caregivers suffer from health risks including physical and emotional strain, chronic conditions and for older caregivers there is a higher mortality rate due to caregiving-related stress.
Respite is a short break for caregivers, the opportunity for a caregiver to step away, knowing their loved one is well cared for, by bringing in professional care. We all need a break sometimes, and respite provides a chance to recharge. Additionally, respite can provide peace of mind and help to manage stress levels, which can lead to growth in personal identity, chances to pursue new activities and maintenance of vital personal relationships. Respite for the person receiving the care is also beneficial. It offers chances to socialize and meet new people, opportunities to learn new skills and try new activities and respite can reduce chances of accidents and hospitalizations.
The following quote, from a Colorado family, illustrates the importance of respite:
“We are relieved to have someone care for our child that understands his needs. Our provider is doing a fantastic job. We can leave our toddler in her care and not worry. Respite care is such a far-reaching benefit for a family like ours. We knew that having a child would be a challenge since we do not have extended family nearby. When we discovered that our child has special needs, we really didn’t know how we were going to make it, but we are making it – one day at a time. And things are improving. The service has saved our marriage. We are so thankful.”– David, Silverthorne (2 year old son) – In home respite care
The #CaregiverAnd theme ties back to the importance of respite and the importance of self-care to prevent caregiver burnout and depression. What are your passions? What are your interests? Outside of caregiving, what is it that makes up who you are and enriches your life? Being a caregiver is incredibly important, but it’s important to not lose sight of who you are. Taking a break from caregiving and spending time on the activities you love, that make you who you are, is incredibly important.
Sign the petition to honor caregivers today – Click here to add your name.
President Biden Proclaims November 2021 as National Family Caregivers Month – Click to read.
10 Tips for Family Caregivers from the Caregiver Action Network – Click to read.
Please visit our website at www.eastersealscolorado.org to see the various programs and services we offer for you as a caregiver, and for those you are caring for that will give you the respite you need and deserve. Our program, Colorado Respite Coalition, is an extremely helpful resource so make sure you visit their website as well at www.coloradorespitecoalition.org.
Tuesday, October 19, 2021, 9:53 PM
“America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion”Easterseals Colorado is proud to support Natio…
“America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion”
Easterseals Colorado is proud to support National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). Held each October, NDEAM aims to educate about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. The theme for NDEAM 2021, “America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion,” reflects the importance of ensuring that people with disabilities have full access to employment and community involvement during the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Held annually, National Disability Employment Awareness Month is led by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, but its true spirit lies in the many observances held at the grassroots level across the nation every year. Organizations of all sizes and in all industries are encouraged to participate in NDEAM. Join us!
With the unemployment rate among adults with disabilities nearly 12 times the national average, it’s important to highlight NDEAM. It is through Easterseals Colorado’s Employment Services that we provide the training and guidance needed to prepare our clients to enter the workforce so they can earn money to live and thrive.
“Ultimate Problem Solvers, Remarkable Talent”
This series, brought to you by Easterseals HQ, focuses on people with disabilities with meaningful, exciting careers including photos and quotes about their personal experiences with employment/inclusion.
Yannick Benjamin is a Remarkable Talent (and knows a thing or two about wine). He is a NYC-based sommelier at the University Club and one of the Co-Founders of Wheeling Forward, a non-profit that “enables people with disabilities to see possibility where others see insurmountable obstacles,” stepping in to help recently disabled people that lack a support system and resources to obtain the services they need, as well as helping people adapt to life with a long-term disability: “Wheeling Forward is trying to champion people who have disabilities who have goals and objectives that they would like to achieve, but they may not have the right resources or the exact network of family and friends to help them get there and Wheeling Forward tries to provide them with whatever is necessary to help them achieve their objectives and their goals. We all know that it’s very difficult in this day and age, let alone when you have a disability, to try to do it on your own. Everyone needs a little help.” Along with Wheeling Forward Co-Founder Alex Elegudin, the two have founded Wine on Wheels in New York City. Before a car accident in 2003 left Yannick paralyzed, he had a dream of becoming a world class sommelier. Today, Yannick is an Advanced Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers. On Wine on Wheels, Yannick had to say: “We really want to start bringing attention and awareness about people with disabilities to have more employment and more opportunities in the hospitality sector, whether that’s working in a winery, whether it’s working in a hotel, in a restaurant, but I just don’t think that there’s enough opportunities because when we talk about the hospitality sector, they are constantly looking for people, it’s a massive sector but yet still we’re completely left out, we’re completely invisible and there’s a lot of factors to that, and the main one that I think personally is because the major leaders in our industry and the culture of hospitality haven’t made that effort, there’s a combination of not being educated enough, not having the resources to be like how can we get more involved and I think what we want to really do is show that people with disabilities are incredibly hardworking, they’re dedicated and they bring a lot of value.”
Ben Trockman is a Remarkable Talent. A graduate of the University of Southern Indiana, Ben joined Old National Bank in 2014 as Community Outreach and Employment Specialist. Ben has been challenged to assist Old National to become a leader in disability employment and inclusion through education and awareness, while working to enhance recruiting efforts and rethinking the hiring processes to successfully recruit, on-board and employ people with disabilities. He is active within the disability advocacy community, and works with legislators in Washington DC and Indianapolis to improve employment opportunities, airline accessibility and healthcare options for people with disabilities. Ben also serves as Evansville City Council Member, First Ward and is the former Easterseals National Adult Representative from 2012. “Creating an inclusive company culture takes deliberate action and intentional effort,” Ben wrote. “In my career at Old National, I’ve had the pleasure of planting the seeds of inclusion, specifically for people with disabilities in the workforce by fostering relationships that blossom in the shape of mentorships, internships and full-time employment opportunities.”
Shaina Ghuraya is a Remarkable Talent. She is a writer on the upcoming Netflix Animation show Boons and Curses. Her artistic style is unapologetic, quirky and bold. She jokes that she is a triple threat – a woman, Punjabi, and disabled. “As a disabled, Indian woman I really struggled to find my place in whatever spaces I navigated, whether they were school, work, or even parties,” Shaina said. “It wasn’t until I started owning my identities that I realized I didn’t need to “find” my place, I needed to take it. Currently I’m taking my place in Hollywood as a writer/director which has not been easy. Hollywood perpetuates ableism not only in its content, but also in the workforce. Things are slowly changing, but so many gatekeepers have the power to make things change faster, and a large part of that is simply hiring creatives with disabilities. We’re out here, we’re talented, and we’re tired of not being included. Our stories are literally untold, so let’s change that.”
Erin Hawley is a Remarkable Talent. She is the Communications and Digital Content Producer for Easterseals HQ. Erin has collaborated with companies like Microsoft, Logitech, Adobe, and Electronic Arts to ensure accessibility and inclusivity is not an afterthought. She has been featured in The New York Times, USA Today, HuffPost, and on other platforms. She lives in Keyport, New Jersey, and you can find her online under the moniker The Geeky Gimp, her personal blog reviewing various nerdy media from a disability perspective. She obtained her Master’s degree in Multicultural and Translational Literatures at East Carolina University. “Our mission is one that’s really important because we don’t just offer services to help an individual day-to-day, we help in advocacy and getting the message out there that people with disabilities should be 100% included and 100% valued in society,” Erin said of her work with Easterseals. “I feel like focusing on employment this month that we should all really look at how the pandemic has changed the job landscape and how especially it has affected people with disabilities.”
All In for Disability Equity – 5 Powerful Reasons Why You Should Hire People with Disabilities
We’ll give you 5 powerful reasons why your company should hire people with disabilities. Read below!
1. Innovative Thinkers, Ultimate Problem Solvers
People with disabilities are highly skilled at adapting to new or difficult situations. When a company taps a diverse talent pool, including people with disabilities, employers find their work force to be more productive, creative and better at problem solving.
2. Reliable Employees
Despite common misconceptions, employees with disabilities are loyal, consistently rating higher than their non-disabled peers when it comes to the number of missed days at work, daily punctuality or adhering to a consistent work schedule, and staying on the job in their roles for longer tenures.
3. Strong Work Ethic
People with disabilities are motivated to work. Research shows that having people with disabilities in the workplace improves staff morale, strengthens teamwork, and elevates both the quality and pace of work that other staff produce.
4. Increase Profits
The majority of employers who have made the commitment — evolving their diversity policies to be more inclusive to recruit, hire, and retain employees with disabilities — have seen a positive impact on their bottom line, increasing productivity, customer loyalty and profitability.
5. Customers Value Your Values
Socially responsible companies are more successful in today’s marketplace. Your business practices matter to customers, directly influencing their purchasing decisions. The overwhelming majority of consumers are more favorable to companies that have diverse, equitable and inclusive workforces, including people with disabilities in their teams and within their branding and marketing efforts.
Impact of COVID Study
This year, Easterseals HQ conducted a study to determine how the COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected people with disabilities. We found that people with disabilities were more likely to be unemployed than the general population. In 2020, only 17.9% of the population of working-age people with disabilities were working versus 61.8% of the general population. Workers with disabilities were also more likely to be employed part-time than people in the overall population. We must collaborate with leaders to develop resources and tangible solutions to build a more inclusive, equitable workforce. View the entire study at www.easterseals.com/covidstudy.
All In for Disability Equity
We at Easterseals Colorado are All In for Disability Equity. We’re committed to collaborating with leaders across every industry to include disability within diversity. Today, one in four people identify as having a disability. The unemployment rate among adults with disabilities is nearly 12 times the national average. Two out of three people with disabilities want to work, but have not been able to secure jobs because of accessibility and attitudinal barriers.
At Easterseals Colorado, we believe all people should be 100 percent included and 100 percent empowered in the workforce. We focus on defining and finding the right job for our clients, regardless of age or ability. Working with Employment Services, job seekers will be provided with the training and guidance needed to prepare for and enter the workforce to earn money to live and thrive. For employers, our individualized services ensure that you are matched with pre-screened job candidates who meet the needs of your business. Easterseals Colorado’s Employment Services provide unique benefits to both employers and people looking for work. Participating employers are viewed as partners who share a goal of providing competitive integrated employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. Job seekers are given an opportunity to join the workforce and earn money to live and thrive.
Find out how you, your business and/or your industry can get involved with Easterseals Colorado’s Employment Services on our website here. Feel free to share this blog post with your community to show your support of NDEAM this October.
Wednesday, September 15, 2021, 9:41 AM
This week is National Disability Voter Registration Week! People with disabilities are a huge portio…
This week is National Disability Voter Registration Week! People with disabilities are a huge portion of the voting bloc as 1 in 4 people with disabilities live in America –that’s 61+ million voices strong. Be seen. Be heard. Be counted. Register to vote today!
Easterseals HQ put together a checklist to make sure your voice is heard at the polls!
What resources are available for voting during COVID-19?
What are my rights as a voter with a disability?
Federal laws require that all Americans have the same opportunity to participate in the voting process.
A voter with a disability has the right to:
What if my rights as a voter with a disability are being violated?
If you experience any problems accessing the polls on election day, contact:
Download the resource card below to take with you on election day!
Is it too late to register to vote?
Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Blind and Low Vision
Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
For more information on the Voting Rights Act (VRA), Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act (VAEHA), National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), and Help America Vote Act (HAVA) please visit the Department of Justice’s Voting Section website: www.justice.gov/crt/about/vot/
Be sure to check out AAPD’s REV UP Campaign.
“VOTE as if your life depends on it—Because it DOES!” Answer legendary disability advocate Justin Dart’s call and register to vote or update your registration today at weall.vote/revup!
Tuesday, August 17, 2021, 6:18 PM
The summer is coming to an end and most families have either just started, or are about to start, th…
The summer is coming to an end and most families have either just started, or are about to start, the 2021-2022 school year. Teachers, staff, students, parents, caregivers … whatever role you play, you may see or experience the back-to-school jitters or stressors in some capacity. It’s been a weird and challenging year, to say the least, so it may be more difficult for some families to go back-to-school in-person. We’ve gathered some general tips and ideas to prepare you for a great start to the year!
Anxious about going back to school? You’ve got this!
Let us know if you have a specific tip or trick to add to this list!
As always, you are not alone. Easterseals HQ has a recent blog post “Parents of Kids with Disabilities are Asking Schools to Make up for Lost Time” that shows some of the disparities kids with disabilities have faced with COVID school shut-downs.
And here is an interesting article with tips from a pediatric psychologist. Some kids may have stressors they face at school, some kids may have trouble adjusting to new COVID protocols, etc. Great professional advice and suggestions here!
We are wishing everyone the best as they head back-to-school.