Worcester, MA, October 10, 2023
WORCESTER, Mass. – Easterseals Massachusetts (ESMA) recently held its annual Empowerment Celebration, a premier fundraiser and awards ceremony that highlighted leaders who positively impact the community by ensuring equal opportunities for people with disabilities. The event raised more than $80,000.
This year’s Empowerment Celebration theme was Create, Play, and Empower. The theme captured the essence of ESMA’s newest programs which involve a healthy amount of play, as “play” is crucial for learning and empowers clients to gain new skills that help them achieve their goals.
Attendees enjoyed an energetic evening featuring ESMA client-created art, a silent auction, motivational speeches from award honorees, a competitive fund-a-need appeal, and a special musical guest performance by Worcester’s own Cara Brindisi from NBC's The Voice.
President and CEO of Easterseals Massachusetts, Paul Medeiros, welcomed attendees and noted the heightened enthusiasm for the event in response to this year’s incredible awardees. “We are here to congratulate those who have helped empower our mission. Sean Flanagan, Sue Gagnon-Flanagan, former Massachusetts State Senator Harriette Chandler, and Berkshire Bank have all been allies of the disability community for many years. Their support of Easterseals Massachusetts only confirms their commitment to doing good in the world.”
This year’s awardees are:
Sean Flanagan & Sue Gagnon-Flanagan: 2023 Equal Opportunities to Live Award
Former Massachusetts State Senator Harriette Chandler: 2023 Empowerment Award
Berkshire Bank: 2023 Team Hoyt Award
More information about the awardees can be found at empower.eastersealsma.org.
The proceeds from this event go directly to Easterseals Massachusetts programs and services. Many of its programs including Camp, Accessible Martial Arts, College Navigator, Military & Veteran, and the Assistive Technology Mobile Van, are underfunded and rely heavily on the annual Empowerment Celebration to continue bringing these services to communities throughout Massachusetts. The event was possible thanks to volunteers and sponsors, including major sponsors State Street, Bayer Health Care, and Commonwealth Care Alliance.
(L-R) Skip Flanagan presenting the Easterseals Massachusetts 2023 Equal Opportunities to Live award to Sean Flanagan & Sue Gagnon-Flanagan. Massachusetts State Senator Harriette Chandler, Easterseals Massachusetts 2023 Empowerment Award honoree. Christopher Kostiw, Senior Vice President, Team Leader Commercial Lending at Berkshire Bank accepts the Team Hoyt Award from Russell Hoyt, President &CEO of The Hoyt Foundation.
About Easterseals Massachusetts
Easterseals is leading the way to full equity, inclusion, and access through life-changing disability and community services.
For nearly 80 years, Easterseals Massachusetts has worked tirelessly with their partners to enhance quality of life and expand local access to healthcare, education, and employment opportunities. And they won’t rest until every one of us is valued, respected, and accepted.
Each year, Easterseals Massachusetts provides 22,000 essential services to more than 10,000 individuals throughout the state and is well-known for their expertise in rehabilitation, assistive technology, youth services, Veteran’s services, employment and transition services, and disability advocacy. They pride themselves on empowering people with disabilities to live full and independent lives and be equal participants in society. More information is available at www.eastersealsma.org and by following @EastersealsMA on Facebook, Instagram, and X (formerly known as Twitter), and LinkedIn.