A A

Blog

June 28, 2016
by Katie   |   0 Comments

CampAbility is offered each summer for children with special needs and disabilities who are ages 4 through 10. Our staff at CampAbility are a terrific group of individuals who provide amazing opportunities for kids to grow, learn and have fun.


Meet our CampAbility Staff
 

photo of Angie HilligossAngie Hilligoss • Manager, Respite Services

Angie joined us last year as a lead counselor at CampAbility; she liked it so much that she was quick to accept the position as our manager of respite services when it became available. In this position, Angie oversees all of our respite programs, which include not only our summer camps, but our Parents’ Night Out, Teen Night Out and CHEER (adult respite). Angie received her degree in child development from Owens College; she has over 20 years of experience working with children with special needs and disabilities and we are thrilled that she has made Easter Seals Crossroads her work home!


photo of Tim BlanusaTim Blanusa • Lead Counselor

Tim just graduated from Butler University (elementary education/mild intervention). Tim works regularly at Parents’ Night Out for Easter Seals Crossroads; he is very excited to be a lead counselor this year and he cannot wait to meet all of the terrific campers and families!


photo of Tim KeatingTim Keating • Lead Counselor

This is Tim’s second year at CampAbility. He has his bachelor’s degree in social work and is currently working on obtaining his master’s degree in special education. He has worked at a camp for adults with disabilities and he has been employed at his school’s disability services office. During the school year, he is an instructional assistant at Nora Elementary; he is an ABA therapist; and he is a team lead at Parents’ Night Out. Tim is excited to work with such a great group at CampAbility this year.


photo of Chris TylerChris Tyler • Lead Counselor

Chris is new to CampAbility. She recently graduated from IUPUI with her bachelor’s degree in psychology. She intends to begin her master’s degree in public health. She has worked at Parents’ Night Out and is excited to spend more time with all of our campers this year.


photo of Jodi Churchill

Jodi Churchill • Behavior Specialist

This is Jodi’s second summer at CampAbility. Jodi has bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice and psychology from Indiana University. For the past six years, Jodi has worked with kids with mental/ emotional disabilities and developmental delays in various school and community settings. Jodi loves working at CampAbility and she is thrilled to be back.


photo of Magale AvitiaMagale Avitia • Camp Counselor

Magale is a sophomore at the University of Indianapolis majoring in applied public health with a concentration in physical therapy. She has her certificated in medical interpreting from St. Vincent. She works at Parents’ Night Out and also in retail at the Loft Outlet. Magale has an 8-year-old brother who has Down syndrome. Magale was born in San Antonio, Texas, and is a Spurs fan.


photo of Kaley BurchKaley Burch • Camp Counselor

This is Kaley’s first year as a counselor at CampAbility. She is a senior at Purdue University studying special education and elementary education. She has been a camp counselor at various locations and she loves being outdoors and playing her guitar. She is from Santa Claus, Indiana.


photo of Hannah FogoHannah Fogo • Camp Counselor

Hannah has returned for her second year of CampAbility. She is a junior at the University of Indianapolis studying elementary and special education. Hannah is super excited to be back and she is looking forward to meeting all the new campers. Hannah loves to travel whenever she can.


photo of Ellen HodsonEllen Hodson • Camp Counselor

This is Ellen’s second year at CampAbility, and she has also worked at Parents’ Night Out. She is a junior at the University of Indianapolis studying psychology and pre-occupational therapy. She is very excited to be back at camp and have fun with all the great campers and families! Ellen loves to travel; especially when it involves using her passport.


photo of Allie HumbirdAllie Humbird • Camp Counselor

This is Allie’s first year at CampAbility, although she works at Parents’ Night Out. She is a sophomore at IUPUI studying exercise science, pre-physical therapy. She loves to do triathlons, eat ice cream and spend time with her family and friends. She is especially looking forward to all the fun ahead at CampAbility this year.


photo of Kariann MartinKariann Martin

Kariann is new to CampAbilty this year and she is excited to be part of the team. Kariann graduated from Kentucky Christian University with a degree in elementary education and Bible studies. During the school year, she teaches at Bell Intermediate Academy in Martinsville. She loves new experiences and is looking forward to lots of fun times with the campers.


photo of Erin MillsErin Mills • Camp Counselor

This is Erin’s second summer working at CampAbility. She has been looking forward to camp all year and is very excited to be back. Erin is a junior at the University of Indianapolis studying psychology and pre-occupational therapy. She loves traveling and she spent time in Poland this past spring. Erin loves having the opportunity to meet so many terrific campers and families this year.


photo of Megan Saunders Megan Saunders • Camp Counselor

Megan is a health science and Spanish major at Bradley University. This is Megan’s first year as a CampAbility counselor, but she has volunteered at both CampAbility and iCan Bike for the past few years. She is looking forward to a fun-filled camp season this year.


photo of Drew SmithDrew Smith • Camp Counselor

Drew is a student at Ball State University studying secondary English education. He has worked with a project called the Prism Project in Muncie, Indiana - an organization that specializes in services for children with autism. It is through this connection that he developed a passion for teaching and helping others. In his free time, Drew is developing his cooking skills; so far, he has mastered cereal and toast! Drew is looking forward to a great summer at CampAbility.


photo of Abbey WeisenbachAbbey Weisenbach • Camp Counselor

Abbey has returned to CampAbility for her second year. Abbey is a junior and is currently studying human development and psychology at Indiana University and she hopes to become an ABA therapist upon graduating. Abbey is very excited for another great camp year.

June 25, 2016
by Katie   |   0 Comments

Recently our own Tracy Gale, PsyD, and Laura Tease, BCBA, wrote an article for Indy's Child Parenting Magazine - our partners and friends. Specifically for parents and caregivers, the article addressed ways to keep learning active for your child all summer long.

Read the article here (page 36).


Summer can be daunting for parents of children with special needs since school-based services and therapies may be put on hold and the possibility of losing progress is high. Here are a few tips to help prevent the summer slide.

Look for opportunities within the school.

Depending on your district, some schools offer summer therapies and extended school year (ESY) services. Although not as intense as school, these services can continue progress throughout the summer.

Explore summer camp options.

Agencies around central Indiana offer day and overnight camps for children with special needs. Summer camps can offer opportunities to learn new skills and maintain abilities, while providing a structure similar to the school day.

Plan activities during the day.

Seek out one "major" activity during the day as a focus, such as the park, pool, play dates and weekend trips. Some attractions offer free or low-cost memberships during the summer.

Consult with therapists about home programs.

Before saying goodbye for the summer, check with your child's therapists to see about any programs you can implement at home to address needs.

Consider outpatient summer therapies.

Summer my be a good time to address activities that require a higher level of effort and supervision, like toilet training or feeding. Consult with agencies to see about summer availability.

 

 

June 16, 2016
by Katie   |   0 Comments

Career Expo graphic with location Easter Seals Crossroadsman at booth at career expo

 

On May 12, 2016, Easter Seals Crossroads partnered with the State of Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Eskenazi Health Midtown Community Mental Health and Sycamore Services to bring employers and qualified candidates together for a one-day career event.

For employers, it was the perfect way to add diversity to their workplaces in that all job seekers who attended were qualified individuals with disabilities seeking long-term careers.

For job seekers, it was a perfect opportunity to find employment opportunities since 26 central Indiana businesses representing a variety of industries were in attendance.

The day was structured with two distinct time slots for job seekers; individuals registered for either the morning session or the afternoon session. Before visiting employers, job seekers were encouraged to register for a workshop titled Networking and Making the Best Impression, which was offered before both the morning and afternoon sessions.

This third Career Expo event was a successful event for both employers and job seekers. Of the 26 employers who attended and completed an after-event survey, 25 of them felt that the event was excellent or good (22 excellent, 3 good). All responses from employers indicated that they were either definitely likely or highly likely to interview or possibly hire candidates who they met at the event.

Additional comments from employers included:

  • Good turnout
  • Great participation and volume of job seekers
  • Very pleased
  • Well organized
  • Good employer/exhibitor base
  • Nice attendance


Approximately 129 job seekers attended Career Expo this year. All who responded to the survey felt that the event was either definitely helpful or somewhat helpful to their job searches.

Additional comments from job seekers included:

  • Great
  • Organizers did an amazing job
  • Great event with very helpful people
  • Nice variety of companies represented


Events such as Career Expo are strongly dependent on the partnerships with organizers and employers in our community. When working together, we can identify solutions for employers who seek qualified job candidates for their open positions.

Thank you to all the employers and job seekers who made Career Expo 2016 such a great event! Contact us for more information about Career Expo.

 

 

June 7, 2016
by Katie   |   0 Comments

On May 27, Carolyn Baumgartle, Matt Bernard and Michael Custer from our Veteran Services visited Adult Day consumers to talk about everything military and veteran related.

Veteran staff members came prepared; they covered everything from the real meaning of Memorial Day to what it is actually like to go out on a maneuver. Consumers truly enjoyed the special day – they particularly liked testing out the equipment, which included helmets, googles, backpacks, vests and more. One consumer even experienced what it might be like to run wearing a heavy backpack.

Community integration is an integral part of our programming for our Adult Day participants. Opportunities with those in the community are beneficial to our clients to help them experience

  • making choices
  • learning new things
  • exploring their community
  • being an important part of our community


Interactive opportunities also benefit our community at large in that individuals can better understand and value the contributions of those with disabilities and special needs. Equally important as going out into the community is bringing community leaders into our Center. These types of experiences can be social, educational, spiritual, interactive and fun.

Veteran Service staff members interacting with clients in Adult Day program at Easter Seals Crossroads

“This unique military experience provided by our own staff members was one of the best informational sessions we have had for our consumers,” said Tracy Wright (Manager of Community Day Supports). “Veteran staff members interacted really well with our consumers who are still talking about what they learned. I was off on Friday, but one of the first things I heard when I returned on Tuesday was a consumer who said ‘I was a soldier on Friday.’ That told me a lot about what a great day he had,” said Tracy.

Thanks to Veteran Services staff members at Easter Seals Crossroad for doing such a great job of sharing information in a very memorable way!

June 3, 2016
by Katie   |   0 Comments

motorcycle image with Veteran Services logo


Join us on Saturday, June 11, 2016, for a Ride for Veteran Services presented by 11th District American Legion Riders. The ride begins at American Legion Post 34 (2210 East 54th Street, Indianapolis), travels to Ropkey Armor Museum in Crawfordsville and ends back where it started at American Legion Post 34.

The ride is open to all riders for $20 bike and $5 passenger. Registration takes place between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. the day of the ride with kickstands up at 10:30 a.m. Registration includes ride, bandana, wristband and bottled water.

Ride to Benefit Veterans helps provide comprehensive support services that include transportation, work clothing, employment training and more for eligible veterans.


Contact us for more information about this year's ride

May 24, 2016
by Katie   |   0 Comments

Recently our own Tracy Gale, PsyD, and Laura Tease, BCBA, wrote an article for Indy's Child Parenting Magazine - our partners and friends. Specifically for parents and caregivers, the article addressed the always timely topic of summer camp readiness.

Read the article here (page 40).


Summer camp is a great opportunity to learn and have fun. Preparing your child with special needs for camp may take a little extra work, but it is worth the preparation. Here are some tips for making camp a positive experience for everyone:

Create a social story to practice new routines and introduce new people.
Overnight or day camps have a different structure than school or home, and your child may benefit from learning about these changes. Consider including pictures of the actual location and staff so that your child knows exactly where to go for common needs like the bathroom or play areas.

Do a trial run.
Ask your camp coordinator if you can visit camp before the start date to allow your child to feel comfortable with the location. For overnight camps, do a trial run with grandma or a family friend for a weekend. This can help identify additional needs, such as comfort items, and help determine if your child is ready for overnight camp.

Let your child help pack.
Packing can be a great opportunity to discuss the activities during camp and expectations for behavior. Packing deodorant can start a discussion on hygiene at camp just like packing a swimsuit allows your child to talk about swimming. Remember, label everything!

Provide information about reinforcers and preferred activities.

Send your child with small reinforcers or preferred activities. Camp staff will be able to utilize these items to motivate your child to participate and try new activities.

Enjoy your respite!
Being a parent is a hard job, and you deserve a break! Use this time to indulge in self-care. Unsure what to do with your time? Ask to meet with other parents from camp for support and networking; camp is a great way to build relationships for both your child and you.

May 17, 2016
by Katie   |   0 Comments

three images of volunteers with children at CampAbility

CampAbility is just a few weeks away and we’re still looking for volunteers to help throughout the summer!

CampAbility is a traditional summer day camp for children with special needs ages 4 to 10 that provides indoor and outdoor activities that explore sensorimotor experiences, expand communication skills and enhance social skills in a fun and nurturing environment. Volunteers are needed to assist camp staff throughout each of the three camp sessions and especially on field trip days. Individuals with any interest and/or experience working with children with disabilities and special needs are needed.

Students studying or interested in physical therapy, occupation therapy, speech-language pathology or special education are especially encouraged to volunteer for CampAbility because of the heavy focus on activities designed around those principles. Below are more details about this exciting volunteer opportunity:

Location
Hilltop Developmental Preschool located at 1915 East 86th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46240

Length of Assignment
Camp consists of three, two-week camp sessions. Volunteer shifts are flexible, however consistency is preferred. Volunteers are not required to commit to all six weeks of camp.

Time Commitment
Volunteer shifts are from 8:45 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. or during the duration of a specific field trip. Camp runs Monday through Thursday with the exception of the week of July 4 where it will run Tuesday through Friday

Requirements
Must be at least 16 years of age, must complete volunteer application and interview, volunteers age 18+ must agree to undergo a limited criminal history background check, volunteers must have an up-to-date (within the last 12 months) TB test, volunteers must attend camp orientation/training on Monday, June 6, 2016 and arrive on time to all assigned shifts.

Contact us Today
Anyone interested in volunteering may contact Tessa Barnard, Volunteer and Community Outreach Coordinator, at tbarnard@eastersealscrossroads.org or 317.466.1000 x2414.

May 11, 2016
by Katie   |   0 Comments

2 photos of Project SEARCH interns on the job


Both locations of Project SEARCH have set their dates for their end-of-year celebrations. 

EAST Project SEARCH End-of-Year Celebration | Wednesday, May 25 | 2 p.m.
Community Hospital East (1500 North Ritter Avenue, Theatre - Lower Level, Bldg 3, follow signs)
Contact Keith at RFox@ecommunity.com for more information

North Project SEARCH End-of-Year Celebration | Thursday, May 26 | 2 p.m.
Community Hospital North (7250 Clearvista Pkway - Multiservice Room, 3rd Floor)
Contact Angie at ALeGrand@ecommunity.com for more information

Staff members work hard to create a fun and memorable celebration for their interns who have worked diligently throughout the year to get to this point. Keith Fox, Angie Hoskins and Kelly Pattison are our own Easter Seals Crossroads staff members who work at Community Hospital locations - Keith is at the East location and Angie and Kelly are at the North location. Ann Meuleman is the teacher assigned from My IPS to work at East; Jill Rusk is the teacher assigned from Lawrence Township to work at North; Mark Gifford assists as a job coach at East.

The program works in collaboration with the Center on Community Living and Careers ñ Indiana University, Community Health Network, Indiana Family and Social Services Administration. Lawrence Township (North), My IPS (East), Warren Township (East) and Easter Seals Crossroads.

What is Project SEARCH?

Submitted by Keith Fox and Angie Hoskins
The Project SEARCH high school transition program is a unique, business-led, one-year, school-to-work program that takes place entirely at the workplace. Total workplace immersion facilitates a seamless combination of classroom instruction, career exploration and relevant job-skills training through strategically designed internships. Students are referred to the program through their schools, family members, or Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor and apply in the winter and spring in the year prior to entering the program.

The goal for each student participant is competitive employment. The program provides real-life work experience combined with training in employability and independent living skills to help youths with significant disabilities make successful transitions from school to productive adult life.

Project SEARCH serves students with significant intellectual and developmental disabilities. Typically, these are students who are on an Individual Education Program (IEP) and in their last year of high school eligibility.

Internships/Worksite Rotations

Through internships, the students acquire competitive, marketable and transferable skills to enable them to apply for a related position. Students also build communication, teamwork and problem-solving skills which are important to their overall development as young workers.

Internship rotations begin a few weeks after the start of the program. Students are required to interact with their supervisors via telephone and written communications to arrange a job interview to secure each rotation. A department mentor is identified at each site and job coaches and department staff collaborate to provide support for students. The Project SEARCH staff delivers the training and develops job accommodations and standard work procedures.

Job Placement and Community Connections

During the last few months of the program the emphasis is on refining skills, achieving the career goal and carrying out individualized job placement. The Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor is a critical part of the team as the job search process begins. Upon satisfactory completion of the program (95% or better attendance, good attitude, successful skill acquisition at each job site) students receive a Career Portfolio, which typically contains a resume, letters of recommendation, a competency profile and any awards / special recognitions received while in the program.

Statistics

  • Project SEARCH East was the first Indiana program; it has had 71 individuals complete the program since 2008. They have received 3 international awards for job placement.
  • Project SEARCH North is in its fifth year of operation and has had 51 individuals complete the program. Thirty-seven of these individuals are currently employed, which represents a 73 percent placement rate.


Success

According to Angie
"I could tell you about 37 great stories! But one that stands out most is Susan*. She came to us three years ago a shy, young girl afraid of speaking up. Six months into the program she asked me to go with her to the Director of Maternity. I agreed but had no idea why she wanted to go see her. So we reached the Director's office and Susan marched in and said 'I think you should hire me.' The director asked Susan why she thought this and her answer was 'Because I have been here for three months and I do a good job; I like you and you like me.'

That must have been an acceptable answer because that director hired Susan! Now two years later Susan lives independently, works full time and recently had me over for a glass of wine in her new apartment! That to me shows success.

Or maybe it's when Sean* said to me 'Thank you for doing what you do, Miss Angie.' or when a director said to me 'This really works; you really make sure these individuals can be successful!' or when Pete* handed me an autism awareness pin and said 'You should wear this because you support me and my autism.' or when a parent said 'Without this program, my son would still be sitting at home.' And the list goes on . . ."

According to Keith
"Success to me is when I see individuals grow, gain maturity and increase self-esteem when they find that they can do complex jobs that are routine and structured. I know I am doing the right thing when I have the ability to change an individual's life by helping him or her succeed. It not only benefits the intern, it enriches the lives of the families, the patients, peers, colleagues, communities and me."

*Names Changed


May 5, 2016
by Katie   |   0 Comments

Easter Seals Crossroads is proud to celebrate ability with the accomplishments of Chris and Kayla - two individuals who have used our services during the year.

Nine-year-old Kayla is a busy, happy girl - she enjoys school, church and playing with her sisters. Her mom LaShaunna brings her to Easter Seals Crossroads where she works on physical, occupational and speech-language therapy.

When Kayla was 1 1/2 years old, she sustained a traumatic brain injury after an accident - a dresser fell on her while she was playing with her twin sister. While she was in the hospital, she contracted meningitis. Doctors told her family that Kayla would not be able to walk or speak, but after many therapy appointments and hours of hard work, Kayla is walking and learning to communicate.

Kayla's Story
 

  </


Chris developed a tumor on his spinal cord. Once removed, Chris was paralyzed from the waist down. Very soon after his surgery, Chris knew he wanted to get his life back on track as soon as he could.

"Driving was my number one goal because I knew if I wasn't driving again, there were a lot of things I wouldn't be able to do. I did not want to be a burden on my family or friends and driving seemed like it would be the way to relieve some of that burden," said Chris.

"Easter Seals Crossroads made that process possible for me. My whole life has definitely changed. When my 8-year-old son asked me if these changes were going to be forever, I told him that being different isn't a bad thing." said Chris. 

Chris' Story
 

 

Chris and Kayla represent 2 of the 6,500 individuals in our community whom we have served; individuals who never thought about needing us - until they did.

May 2, 2016
by Katie   |   0 Comments

Wednesday, May 4, 2016
Dallara IndyCar Factory, Speedway, IN
With Keynote Speaker Sam Schmidt

Presented by

Community Health Network logo


Held at the amazing Dallara IndyCar Factory during the most exciting month in Indianapolis, the Ability Lunch features keynote speaker Sam Schmidt. Sam, former IndyCar driver and current co-owner of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, has made a huge impact in the racing community. While practicing for a race in 2000, Sam sustained a C-3/4/5 spinal cord injury — hear his inspiring story at this year's lunch!

The lunch and program begin at 12 p.m., but plan to arrive at 11 a.m. to see the Dallara IndyCar Factory and complete your race experience. You can even picture yourself alongside a race car in a one-of-a-kind photo opportunity (limited to the first 50 people).

Buy your ticket(s) today! ($100 each)


Silent Auction - Now Open
Andretti Suite tickets for the Indy 500 are up for grabs, along with race wear and race experiences. If you cannot make the Ability Lunch this year, you can still bid on these one-of-kind experiences during the online auction that is now open and will remain open until Friday, May 6, at 12 noon.

We are excited to use GiveSmart at this year's event to make the whole process of bidding easy for our guests. Donations in support of Easter Seals Crossroads can also be made through the GiveSmart site. Happy bidding!

Ready? Set? Bid (and Give)!