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Stories of Hope

Individuals served by Easterseals face numerous obstacles self-sufficiency: lack of education, poverty, illness, disability, family troubles, and more. But every day we encounter individuals who defy the odds, break down barriers, and achieve their goals. These are their stories.

You can also learn more about the people and organizations who go above and beyond to further the purpose of Easterseals, our Easterseals Heroes.

Donor Spotlight: Barb and Kevin Dougherty

Barb and Kevin Dougherty Kevin and Barb Dougherty know people living with disabilities have so much to share. The drive to help individuals overcome these barriers to employment led them to Easterseals Serving Greater Cincinnati.
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A veteran's lessons for Gen Z

Alana and her Grandpa Chitwood A high school sophomore reflects on how her grandpa's advice is driving her work ethic, and why it has inspired her to make a gift in support of Easterseals Military & Veteran Services.
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Donor Spotlight: Remco DeJong

Remco DeJong Remco DeJong firmly believes in the mission of helping others break down barriers to employment. He first came to Easterseals as a Building Value store customer.
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Donor Spotlight: Mt. Zion Baptist Church Woodlawn

Mt. Zion Baptist Church Woodlawn Logo When Larry Bennett of Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Woodlawn learned about veterans at Easterseals who needed assistance, he wanted to take action . He turned to the church’s Military Ministry for support.
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Donor Spotlight: Christy Pretzinger

Christy Pretzinger Christy attended her first Easterseals celebration several years ago and was immediately drawn to the mission and helping people achieve through employment. “Easterseals is incredibly diverse in the different ways they help people. I want to be a part of that.”
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Jasmine turned an uncertain future into a successful career in construction

Jasmine Jackson completed Easterseals YouthBuild and Building Value, leading to a successful career in the construction industry. Easterseals YouthBuild and Building Value opened up opportunities that led Jasmine to starting her own business and serving as a role model to others.
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Juan turned a time of uncertainty into a journey of opportunity

Juan Pacheco The death of his employer left Juan without a job and without a home. It was tough for this Marine veteran to ask for help, but the call to Easterseals Military & Veteran Services created a ripple effect of positive changes.
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Nathan experienced transformational growth on his journey to employment

Nathan Tshiboyi Born in Europe, Nathan wasn't developing at the same pace as his peers. His family found answers when they moved to America and were amazed at the changes they experienced through Easterseals.
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Yalonda launched a new career in healthcare through Easterseals Prosperity for All

Yalonda Render Yalonda found herself starting from scratch after leaving an abusive relationship. Her Breakthrough Moment came when she found Easterseals Prosperity For All - and a new career as a phlebotomist.
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Veteran finds success, new home, through Easterseals

Adam Davis Adam Davis was presented with his own tiny home at the 2019 Honoring Our Heroes 5K
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It’s Electric! How Building Value super-charged this West Sider’s career potential

Elijah Allen Easterseals and Building Value helped Elijah go from temp jobs to high scores in an electrical apprenticeship.
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Morgan Gattermeyer: Finding her voice in the arts

Morgan Gattermeyer Morgan's work at InsideOut Studio in Hamilton has developed her skills as an artist, public speaker, and an advocate for Easterseals.
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Paul Heldman: Inspired to Give

Headshot of Paul Heldman After only two years of being involved with Easterseals, Paul Heldman made the decision to donate to the Work and Grow Program in his community! As a result of his generosity, 11 individuals are experiencing new life opportunities through the Work and Grow program.
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Grace Lutz: Finding Success

Picture of Grace Lutz After high school graduation, Grace wanted to join her friends at college, but her parents pushed her towards Easterseals’ Project SEARCH. As she looks back on how far she has come, she candidly advocates for Project Search and other programs like it. “Without Easterseals,” she reflects, “I don’t think I would have known what to do.”
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Ben Tonnis: From a Shy Young Boy to Confident 'Big Ben'

Picture of Ben Tonnis Ben Tonnis came to Easterseals through a referral and worked with Easterseals’ Work and Grow program, a blend of paid work and recreational activities in a community setting. Ben started as a shy young man, now he is friendly, dependable, hardworking and beloved by all at the Powell Crosley YMCA.
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Mushay has overcome disadvantages

mushay davis Those who meet Mushay today have trouble believing that she was once a shy teenager facing economic challenges and struggling in school. Now she's a college graduate who is paying it forward as a Workforce Development Specialist.
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Eddie is defying disability

eddie pope square pic Eddie exemplifies the path to employment for many young people with disabilities. With eight years of experience in increasingly responsible positions, Eddie successfully pursued community employment, and it’s been a great fit.
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A good heart and a great employee

justin glover Justin Glover may have a developmental disability, but that doesn't define him. While involved with Easterseals, Justin Glover received job coaching and participated in three different internships, finding a great fit in maintenance at the Hamilton County Sherriff’s Department. His hard work and dedication led him to become the first Project Search participant to be hired on by the Hamilton County Sherriff’s Department.
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Keeping a Legacy Alive

Engberg Including Easter Seals in your will is a way to honor a loved one. Giving back to an organization that has touched your family personally is a wonderful way to keep a legacy alive.
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Chris Macklin 2014 Independence Award

2014 Independence Award Winner The Independence Award recognizes an individual served by Easterseals who has set and achieved or made significant progress toward greater independence. They have taken on new challenges, such as learning a new skill, setting and achieving an education or life goal, or have stepped out of their comfort zone in order to explore new opportunities to grow and to increase their self-esteem and independence.
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