Easter Seals

In Here's the Spin, News by Nathasha Alvarez

Easter Seals History – National

Who and What is Easter Seals? Easter Seals has been helping children and adults with disabilities and special needs, and their families, live better lives for more than 80 years. Whether helping someone improve physical mobility, return to work or simply gain greater independence for everyday living, Easter Seals offers a variety of services to help people with disabilities address life’s challenges and achieve personal goals.

In 1907, Ohio-businessman Edgar Allen lost his son in a streetcar accident. The lack of adequate medical services available to save his son prompted Allen to sell his business and begin a fund-raising campaign to build a hospital in his hometown of Elyria, Ohio. Through this new hospital, Allen was surprised to learn that children with disabilities were often hidden from public view. Inspired by this discovery, in 1919 Allen founded what became known as the National Society for Crippled Children, the first organization of its kind.

In the spring of 1934, the organization launched its first Easter “seals” campaign to raise money for its services. To show their support, donors placed the seals on envelopes and letters. Cleveland Plain Dealer cartoonist J.H. Donahey designed the first seal. Donahey based the design on a concept of simplicity because those served by the charity asked “simply for the right to live a normal life.”

The lily – a symbol of spring – was officially incorporated as Easter Seals’ logo in 1952 for its association with resurrection and new life and has appeared on each seal since.
Easter Seals History – Miami-Dade

Easter Seals Miami-Dade is located just behind Cedars Medical Center in Downtown Miami to serve you. The services offered at our facility are: Medical Rehabilitation – including: Early Intervention, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech and hearing therapies– Job Training & Employment, Inclusive Child Care, Adult Day Services. Easter Seals Miami-Dade is committed to caring for children and adults with physical and mental disabilities and special needs resulting from any cause — whether diagnosed at birth or incurred through disease, accidental injury or the aging process.

Easter Seals Miami-Dade was founded in 1942 and was originally called the Crippled Children’s Society. Easter Seals was the first to offer an education to children with disabilities at a time when they were not allowed in the public school system. Renting a church basement and hiring a teacher, a handful of students began attending classes. Easter Seals Miami-Dade’s Board of Directors was instrumental in pushing the public schools in Miami. Since those humble beginnings, Easter Seals Miami-Dade has expanded its mission to help people of all ages overcome or minimize the impact of disabilities on daily life.

In 1957, Easter Seals Miami-Dade opened a new comprehensive rehabilitation center. Ten years later, the Demonstration School for Children with Learning Disabilities was created. In 1972 a heated, indoor therapeutic pool was constructed. Scoliosis screening services for all middle school students in Miami-Dade County was started in 1977. In 1982, an early intervention component was added, providing developmental intervention for children ages birth through two years of age at the center and in the child’s home. In 1983, a Vocational Services Department was established. This program encompasses job development, placement, supported employment and supported living. As a continuation of its pioneering efforts, Easter Seals established the Therapeutic Day Care Center for people with Alzheimer’s disease in April 1986. In 1989 Easter Seals began providing in-home respite services to adults. In 1993 the Culinary Arts program began in collaboration with Miami-Dade County Public Schools and the South Florida Training and Employment Council. In 2000, tutoring was provided to students at risk of dropping out of school through a grant from South Florida Work Force. The expansion of the organization continues today, most recently with an additional facility that opened in Hialeah in August 2001 for therapeutic day care for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive impairments.

Easter Seals Miami-Dade also acts as an advocate for the passage of legislation to help people with disabilities achieve independence, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Passed in 1990. The ADA prohibits discrimination against anyone who has a mental or physical disability, guaranteeing the civil rights of people with disabilities.

At the core of the Easter Seals Miami-Dade organization is a common passion for caring, shared by its more than 160 staff members and volunteers, as well as by those who support its mission. This heart-felt commitment to helping people with disabilities and their families is what Easter Seals Miami-Dade is all about.

Funding for Easter Seals Miami-Dade comes from a variety of sources, including private insurers, government agencies and fee-for-service. To make our services accessible to as many people as possible Easter Seals also relies on public contributions. Public contributions help cover the difference between actual program costs and what our clients can afford.

Easter Seals Miami-Dade’s continued success in providing services to individuals with disabilities would not be possible without the support of those who volunteer their time, energy and hearts to inspire and touch the lives of those we serve. The personal commitment of our volunteers truly enhances the services Easter Seals Miami-Dade provides to our local cientelle. To donate your time, contact Jim Konschnik, Director of Development at Easter Seals MIami-Dade. He can reached at 305-325-0470 or via email at jkonschnik@miami.easter-seals.org or log on to www.miami.easter-seals.org for further information.

Although Easter Seals is a national organization it maintains that approximately 90 percent of revenue supports services in the areas where funds are raised. For the 20th consecutive year, Easter Seals ranks first among National Health Council members for the percentage (94 percent) of program dollars spent on direct client services.

Now let’s talk about the expansive programs at Easter Seals Miami-Dade:

Out-Patient Rehabilitation Services: Promoting Independence & Quality of Life, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, Aquatic Therapy

Easter Seals Medical Rehabilitation Services for both children and adults, offers physical, occupational and speech therapies, for orthopedic injuries, arthritis, fracture care, post polio, spinal disorders, stroke, had trauma, sports/work related injuries, chronic pain syndrome, cerebral palsy, developmental disabilities, congenital birth defects, and trauma disorders. Our Aquatic Therapy provides individual and group classes in one of South Florida’s only heated therapy pools.

Vocational Services: Building skills to find—and keep—a great job, Job Coaching and Placement, Assisted Living, Summer Jobs

Easter Seals Vocational and Employment Programs provide young adults with disabilities a full spectrum of services, from job training and job placement to assisted technology and mentoring programs. Easter Seals helps people with disabilities find and keep jobs that enhance independence. We also provide summer jobs for learning disabled teens who are at risk of dropping out of school.

Adult Day Services: Anticipating the Needs of Adults with Disabilities & older adults

Easter Seals Adult Day Program provides day care and in-home respite to those afflicted with Alzheimer’s Disease and other memory related disorders. Specialty services include physical therapy, music therapy, recreational and pet therapies. Easter Seals Adult Day Program is designed to promote higher independence among its clients and provide essential day to day support to their caregivers and families. Easter Seals Miami-Dade has 2 Adult Day Care Facilities and an in-home respite program.
Educational Services: Child Development Center, Demonstration School, Culinary Arts, Tutoring

Easter Seals Educational Services include our Child Development Center for children ages 6 weeks through 5 years, our Demonstration School which provides education for ages 6 to 14, and a Culinary Arts program that provides a component that teaches commercial food preparation skills to teenagers with special needs.

For more information regarding Easter Seals Miami-Dade
Contact us at:
Phone: 305-325-0470
Email: info@miami.easter-seals.org
*Editor’s Note: This particular article was submitted to provide first hand information about Easter Seals on a national level as well.