As we can all intimately appreciate, comparing our lives and world pre Covid-19 to the first few months of the Pandemic is a juxtaposition of polar opposites.
The fiscal year 2019 - 2020 for Easterseals Louisiana (ESL) began with residual pride from the recent local and National “100 years of Easterseals celebrations” and great optimism for the future. Fittingly, in July, our fiscal year launched with ESL once again earning a highly coveted Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) 3-year re-accreditation. Regarding philanthropy efforts, the Summer of 2019 included expanded Campership opportunities for children and young adults with physical and intellectual disabilities. We started to take a critical look at ways to reach next generation donors and develop strategies around reducing expenses and increasing returns so that we could best support our communities.
As we entered the Fall, ESL expanded housing and support opportunities in both Monroe and Shreveport and was invited to partner with several other non-profits on two Re-entry Integration Programs, known as EXIT-318. Our job would be to provide case management and transitional/reintegration skills training for individuals with behavioral health conditions who were exiting corrections facilities.
In November, Easterseals Louisiana was honored to be named a 2019 New Orleans CityBusiness Top Non-Profit Organization, and in December we celebrated supporting 10,022 individuals across the state of Louisiana! Early 2020 offered opportunities for emerging partnerships with other local organizations to expand and enhance services and to innovate to meet the changing needs of people with disabilities.
In late February, Covid-19 began to fill our newsfeeds and by mid- March, we were facing a global pandemic. As with many organizations, Easterseals Louisiana quickly began Covid-19 safety protocols and shifted several of our traditional face to face service models to “virtual” telehealth methods of delivery. We developed a “Stay at Home, Safe at Work" plan to protect our workforce and participants. Immediately, we saw heroes emerge as our employees, many on the front lines, rose to the occasion with unprecedented and steadfast commitment to our mission of supporting the 10,000+ babies, children, adults and seniors differently, but just as passionately.
We also witnessed our donors and community partners who traditionally sponsored our face to face special event fundraisers shift their support to online giving platforms to ensure no individuals in need went without necessary items.
In addition to the physical health impacts of the Covid-19 virus, behavioral health challenges have also emerged. Social isolation, financial, and other personal impacts have affected many individuals. Easterseals Louisiana stepped up with enthusiasm and pride to meet these emerging needs by expanding several of our core programs and services in our behavior health and housing programs recently.
Although 2020 has created unpresented challenges and many unknowns remain, what stays constant is our unwavering belief in all inabilities, limitless possibilities for everyone and our commitment to fostering environments where everyone is 100% included and 100% empowered.
Thank you for believing in and supporting our mission and please stay safe and well!
With Warm Regards,
Our leaders work hard to plan for the future of Easterseals Louisiana!
Want to learn more about the future of Easterseals Louisiana? Check out our 2019-2020 Strategic Map, here!