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July 15, 2015
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

Hungry for something other than your everyday lunch routine? Come and join us on Friday, July 24th from 11:00 a.m – 2:00 p.m in celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Enjoy a hearty lunch at Food Truck Friday on Georgia Street (intersection of Capitol Ave) along with the opportunity to browse adaptive vehicles brought by BraunAbility, Superior Van & Mobility and Easter Seals Crossroads. At noon, Mayor Greg Ballard will speak about how the ADA has impacted the City of Indianapolis. Also, be sure to stop by and meet Case Calvert, one of the members of our five time national power soccer champions, Circle City Rollers Power Soccer Club, and learn about how he drives his accessible van.

Look forward to music from X103 and make sure to grab a Celebrating Accessibility t-shirt (S-XL) for $15.00 to help support the programs at Easter Seals Crossroads. Celebrating Accessibility bumper stickers in the shape of Indiana will also be available. 

Celebrating Accessibility

The purpose of this event is to celebrate the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This is a wide-ranging civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disability. The ADA was signed by President George H.W. Bush on July 26, 1990. Without the ADA, the programs and services provided by Easter Seals Crossroads would not be as effective – such as our drivers training and evaluation programs. 

Want to learn more about the ADA? Easter Seals is hosting a Twitter chat on Thursday, July 23 at 1 pm CST / 2 pm EST to talk about the ADA's impact and what still needs to be done in the disability rights space. Follow #ADAToday to join in on the conversation.

We can not wait to see you there and celebrate 25 years of ability!

Celebrate ADA

June 29, 2015
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

Have you and your family ever been to a polo match? Join us as we gather at Hickory Hall Polo Club on Friday, August 7 and help support Easter Seals Crossroads and Cancer Support Community as the charity partners.

CampAbility Horseback Riding

Image of CampAbility on a horseback riding field trip in 2014

What: Hickory Hall Polo Club 

When: Friday, August 7 at 5:00 p.m.

Where: Hickory Hall Polo Club - 7551 E 100 N, Whitestown IN 46075

Cost: $20.00 cash per car

Hickory Hall Polo Club is the only polo club located in Indiana and is an excellent environment for a unique Friday evening with the family. Gates open at 5:00 p.m., and the match begins at 6:15, however, be sure to get there early for the opportunity to participate in as many activities as you would like.

Experience an evening of polo, games, and food, along with exciting half time entertainment, a wine pull, and a variety of other fun activities. Consider purchasing a VIP ticket for the exclusive opportunity to take a barn tour to see the horses and their living quarters before and after the match. The barn is not open to the public and only a VIP ticket will allow you to enter this beautiful facility.

This is a family friendly event with a variety of kid’s activities available; nonetheless, your pop-up canopies, Frisbees, and footballs are also highly encouraged. Afraid of leaving the dogs home alone? Bring them too as treats will be available.

General admission is only $20.00 per car with the option of an exclusive VIP barn tour for an additional $20.00 per person. Proceeds from the event will benefit both Easter Seals Crossroads and Cancer Support Community. We hope to see you there!

For more information or VIP tickets contact Sam Sanders, Marketing Assistant at ssanders@eastersealscrossroads.org or 317-466-1000.

June 25, 2015
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

Riding a bike is something many people take for granted. Some children learn this skill at a very young age while others may experience challenges. That's why we offer iCan Bike in partnership with Rainbow's End Optimist Club and Indy Parks. 

Since 2008, Easter Seals Crossroads has provided iCan Bike to teach children and adults with special needs how to ride a conventional bike in a 5 day summer camp.

Candice Aviles of RTV6 came to Perry Park yesterday to interview Rainbow's End Optimist Club, one of iCan Bike's extraordinary partners, and spread the word about the camp. You can view the segment here.

 

June 23, 2015
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

Camp FUEL kicked off their first session this week with a field trip to Distelrath Farms, located off of Raymond Street in Indianapolis. Adolescents ages 11-18 with disabilities or special needs participate in Camp FUEL to benefit from fun and unique experiential learning activities such as field trips, skill building and mentoring.

Campers spent the morning participating in farm chores such as shoveling, planting, picking up sticks, installing lights and other general farm maintenance. After the chores were completed, everyone had plenty of time to meet the animals and have some fun. 

Goats on the farm

Bunnies on the farm

The tech team fixing lights for the farm

This group was building light fixtures to place throughout the farm.

Here you'll see campers removing the soil from several potted plants and dumping it out on this large canvas.

Here you'll see campers removing the soil from several potted plants and dumping it out on this large canvas.

Campers were helping create a trench for better flow of rain water.

Campers were helping create a trench for better flow of rain water.

Campers were helping create a trench for better flow of rain water.

Picking up sticks is a daily activity on the farm!

Picking up sticks is a daily activity on the farm!

Here you'll see campers removing plants and replanting them elsewhere.

Feeding the pigs

Walking back to the farm

Group photo

Camp FUEL is currently full and in session. To learn more about the program, contact Joelle Samples, Respite Manager, at jsamples@eastersealscrossroads.org.

June 19, 2015
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

Dean Weseli PhotoToday's post features advisory board member Dean Weseli. Dean joined the board in August 2014 after spending many hours volunteering for Easter Seals Crossroads in programs like CHEER, a respite program for adults with disabilities. Since then, Dean has helped us build new brand awareness and fundraising relationships with the community through our fall Hallow's Eve event and he participates in the development committee on overall fundraising opportunities for the agency. 

Current career: Director of Wealth Management, The Windsor Group, Ltd.

Education Background: Bachelors –Finance from University of Dayton; Masters – MBA with concentration in Finance from University of Cincinnati

Hometown: Indianapolis, IN. I have called Indy home for over 25 years.

How were you introduced to Easter Seals Crossroads?
I first was introduced to Easter Seals as a guest at the Annual Business Lunch. I was very impressed with the organization and the depth of services. It was good timing as I was looking for a way to get more involved in the community.

What have you learned from volunteering in CHEER?
First, I really liked the idea of CHEER, which is a fun night for the adult consumers while their families get a night to relax. I have learned so much volunteering at CHEER and truly have enjoyed the experience. The biggest takeaway for me is experiencing the positive energy and the uplifting spirits of the consumers that participate in CHEER. It really is infectious. I also find it to be very humbling experience to say the least.

Why do you continue to stay involved?
It’s funny, it seems as soon as I think I know most of the services that are offered through Easter Seals Crossroads, I learn of another outstanding service provided. For example, the board recently took a tour of the Assistive Technology Center headed up by Wade Wingler and his team. That was very impressive. Obviously technology moves quickly and the fact that Easter Seals is leading a statewide initiative is something to very proud of.
I mention that because the services provided and all the people I have gotten to know through Easter Seals are at the core of why I stay involved. I hope to continue to be an advocate of the organization for many years to come.

A full list of Easter Seals Crossroads board and advisory board members can be found here. For more information about our board, contact us today.

June 8, 2015
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

Today's story was written by Sam Sanders, Marketing Assistant at Easter Seals Crossroads.

Finding the confidence to sign up for a 5K, half marathon, or full marathon is one thing a lot of people are still looking for, but this confidence is just one of the many beautiful characteristics Pamela possesses. Pamela has participated in all kinds of races such as the Walk to End Alzheimer's, JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes, the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, and many others. This year Pamela has decided to compete in the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon 5K. Pamela's story would be much different without these opportunities to walk, but now she cannot wait to participate in another race with the help of Easter Seals Crossroads. Pamela has been receiving services from Easter Seals Crossroads for two years and is an avid participant in the Adult Day Services.

Pamela with her medalsThe inspiration for Pamela came from her parents who had both passed away from kidney disease. "I saw them go way down with it so I told myself I would take good care of myself and take long walks and exercise and diet and so on. I was 400 pounds and lost a significant amount by diet and exercise," she explained. Pamela began training three years ago, first with a friend and then on her own for the last two years. Pamela enjoys walking alone, but doesn't mind the company when a friend wants to join. Her favorite places to walk with a friend are on the trails at both IUPUI and Butler University. She enjoys the long walks and loves the scenery, especially the fountains at Butler.

A normal day for Pamela begins with a trip to the gym to lift weights, walk on the treadmill, and bike - sometimes at 9:00 a.m. She continues the day at Easter Seals Crossroads where Pamela says they "have fun and enjoy life!" Pamela explains that she is able to participate in a variety of activities, "We go out into the garden and plant flowers and tomatoes and herbs. We go out and play basketball and take walks around the block." Her favorite of these activities is walking with the other clients in the Adult Day program. It sounds like the training never stops for Pamela!

There is nothing holding Pamela back as she looks forward to the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon 5K. She says, "I love walking for Easter Seals Crossroads. You see, my sister was scared the last time when I did a race by myself, but now she's cool with it. Now I can go on and just have fun. She waits for me when the race ends and I hold up my medal!" Pamela loves power walking and plans to do it for this race. She explained, "I'm training now to walk around so I'm not so tired." Her goal is to walk the entire race without stopping.

Pamela has some words of encouragement for anyone who is a competitor or is thinking about racing, "Don't give up. Keep going because it took me five years to walk. I was around 400 pounds and I lost a significant amount by diet and exercise." Pamela brings a smile to everyone's face at Easter Seals Crossroads. She is always a pleasure to be around and makes it a priority to never let anything get in the way of her walking.

You can learn more about Easter Seals Crossroads Adult Day Services at http://www.eastersealscrossroads.org/adult-day-services. Easter Seals Crossroads is proud to be a charity partner with the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. To learn more about how you can get involved, visit our blog about FirstGiving here. 

June 5, 2015
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

When a person comes to us for assistance finding a job, there are many areas where Easter Seals Crossroads can help. From career assessment tests to resume writing and interview skills, our job coaches are preparing people every step of the way to meaningful employment.

Certain jobs often require a uniform or dress code that may or may not include items a person already owns. When you do not have a job, purchasing the required clothing may seem near impossible. Thanks to Worth New York, our job coaches now have several women's clothing options that are on-the-job and interview appropriate.

Worth New York sent three boxes packed with high quality button-down shirts, jackets, dresses and skirts in a variety of sizes to our office. Our employment team has everything hanging up in a closet, available for browsing at any time.

"The Employment Services department of Easter Seals Crossroads is so fortunate to have received this generous donation from Worth Collection. Having the opportunity to pick out a brand new outfit of high quality clothing for interviewing or working, not only enhances the physical appearance of our job seekers, it also truly enhances their self-esteem and confidence," says Marjorie Mansfield, Manager of Employment Services at Easter Seals Crossroads.

Worth clothing hanging up

Valencia picking out what to wear

Valencia looks through the Worth New York clothing and picks out a few options in these photos.

Valencia picking out what to wear

Valencia modeling Worth clothing

Easter Seals Crossroads thanks Worth New York for their generous clothing donation. Providing these additional resources enhances the ability for our job candidates to find meaningful employment. We look forward to following up with Valencia in a few months! Learn more about our employment services at http://www.eastersealscrossroads.org/employment-services.

June 3, 2015
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

Image of Troy FriszToday's post was written by Troy Frisz, Project Coordinator at Easter Seals Crossroads. He originally wrote this article on LinkedIN here.

What benefits are there for employers to hire persons with disabilities? Several industry surveys show that employees with disabilities have low turnover rates, low absenteeism, and high productivity. Furthermore, employers may receive tax credits and incentives from state and federal governments. When utilized, employees with disabilities have a strong support system that can provide additional training, accommodations, and/or employer advocacy.

The Great Recession hit the disability population harder than other demographics. The recovery has shown little change in the displaced disabled workforce. In order to stay profitable during the recession employers consolidated job descriptions in order to reduce their workforce. In today’s recovery, job opportunities have increased, but those jobs now require the ability to perform several skills in order to successfully complete all assigned tasks. The days of job carving are long gone.

Over the last 10 years eligible candidates have increased for Vocational Rehabilitation services. The increase is related to veterans, an older generation staying in the workforce, and the redefining definition of disabilities. Currently, few programs address older workers and the new challenges that they face. Veteran programs are often determined on a year to year basis thus doing little to address any on-going services. When a disability is redefined, it is seen as the trendy cause of the moment, often pulling funds from existing programs and rarely encouraging any new funding.

Peter at Butler University smiling at cameraDr. Christopher T. King looks at how the existing system can improve under the WIA. Dr. King is the former director of the Ray Marshall Center for the Study of Human Resources at the Lyndon Baines Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. His study is called “Improving Service for Persons with Disabilities under the Workforce Investment Act and Related Programs: Challenges, Opportunities, and a Way Forward.” This study’s focus is on the difficulties of employment services post recession.

“This paper concludes that employment support programs will benefit substantially from using performance standard adjustments and service incentives. These instruments will lessen unintended disincentives for service providers that the WIA system generates. In addition, data collection is often limited to self-reporting of disabilities, making it difficult to clarify the mix of services that should be provided… Lastly, there should be a concentrated effort to build a collaborative network of partners that involve not only state VR (Vocational Rehabilitation) programs, but other organizations that are tasked with serving individuals with disabilities as well.” (D, King. P 5.)

Tools that are now becoming more readily available are internships and work trials. Internships often provide interns to employers at no cost or commitment. Interns are given a chance to prove their capabilities within a reasonable time frame. Depending on the internship’s funding, interns can be paid a small stipend that will help cover transportation, clothing and food. Work trials are on the job assessments. Often the candidate is followed by their support system to evaluate their capabilities so that an accurate placement can be pursued. At this time these are the most commonly used tools that would be in line with Dr King’s recommendations.

The Connect to Work internship focuses on building job skills and experiences for candidates that have little to no work experience or large gaps in their work history. Through a private grant, Easter Seals Crossroads offers a weekly stipend to their internship candidates at no cost to host companies. Candidates are required to work 15-20 hours weekly for 8 weeks. Host sites are never asked for a commitment of employment at any time during the internship.

Host companies receive the benefit of visible assessing quality applicants. Each candidate goes through a pre-admittance assessment that provides the best qualified intern for each position. Once placed, Easter Seals Crossroads provides worksite training for each intern which is designed to meet the host company’s specifications. Throughout the internship the candidate is assigned both a Project Coordinator and an Employment Specialist that follows the candidate's progression to ensure the best results to both the host company and the intern.

The Connect to Work internship is yet another way that Easter Seals Crossroads is leading the way in Vocational Rehabilitation Service.

For more information, visit our web page about our employment services or contact Troy Frisz at 317-466-1000 or tfrisz@eastersealscrossroads.org

June 1, 2015
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

Regions Bank has been a longtime partner with Easter Seals Crossroads. For many years, our holiday ornament was placed in central Indiana Regions Banks to increase sales and visibility. When we received a call asking about our interest in the "What a Difference a Day Makes" contest, we knew we could not turn the opportunity down to work with such a great community-focused business.

Spencer in therapy

Leaders from each of the 19 markets served by Regions selected a nonprofit from their area to be highlighted and to compete in the vote. In commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the American with Disabilities Act (occurring July 2015), each of the organizations nominated serve people with disabilities. Easter Seals Crossroads is honored to be recognized among such well-established nonprofits.

As a nominee for the Regions Bank's "What a Difference a Day Makes" grant contest, Easter Seals Crossroads automatically receives 50 volunteer service hours from Indiana Area Regions associates and a $500 grant from the bank. The winner of the online vote will receive 100 volunteer hours from Regions associates and a $5,000 grant from the company.

We need your help! Here's how you can get involved:

  • Vote daily at www.regionsbanknews.com. Click the green "Vote Now" button and select Easter Seals Crossroads from the list. 

  • Share this blog with your colleagues, friends and family members and ask them to vote. Tell them why you support Easter Seals Crossroads by sharing a link to one of our YouTube videos.

  • Join the Facebook event for daily reminders with quotes, photos and information about Easter Seals Crossroads that explains why people should vote for us. 

Online voting will take place throughout the month of June, concluding at 11:59 p.m. CDT on Tuesday, June 30, 2015. Voters should be at least 18 years of age. 

May 28, 2015
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

Last week, several Easter Seals Crossroads staff members attended the Crossroads Guild's 60th Anniversary Luncheon. Organized in 1955, the goal of the Guild is to help the children of Easter Seals Crossroads reach their full potential, and to enrich and make a difference in their lives with compassion and respect for differences in abilities through volunteer service, staff support, promotion of Crossroads' values and services, the education and socialization of Guild members, and fundraising.

President Linda Knoderer reflects on her the past, present and future of the Crossroads Guild:

"After six decades, Crossroads Guild continues to make a difference in the lives of children. All members have the same ideas and goals in mind when they join the Guild, and that is to support the children’s programs of Easter Seals Crossroads by volunteering and fundraising. Of course, with membership comes added benefits, such as developing lasting Guild friendships, and working with dedicated and caring staff members at Crossroads.

2014 Crossroads Guild Check PresentationOur Guild fundraising goals for the upcoming 2015-2016 Guild season will include the same events as always with the possibility of adding a few new ones. To quote the old saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” pretty much sums up the Guild’s thinking about fundraising. We will continue with our longstanding letter writing campaign, host a Christmas in July craft fair and bake sale at Easter Seals Crossroads, and exhibit our crafty wares at the annual Gift and Hobby Show in November. We are also discussing the addition of another artistry venue in October to promote and sell our handmade items. However, as we continue with our ongoing established fundraisers we are always on the lookout for new and innovative money makers. Our fundraisers this past fall were very successful, and we were able to donate $10,000 to the center for Wish List items and $2100 for therapists’ stipends. Fundraising is an important goal, but Guild gals also take pride in volunteering their time to help out when needed at Easter Seals. It’s not unusual to see Guild members lending helping hands at Easter Seals Crossroads sponsored events.

As I complete my tenure as president, I feel extremely blessed and grateful that our supportive group of women continue to make a difference with dedicated commitment to Guild and Easter Seals Crossroads. I am only a five year Guild member, so my presidency has been a jump right in learning experience about Guild and Easter Seals Crossroads. It has been a fun, busy, rewarding, and wonderful time, and I am proud to be a Crossroads Guild member and Easter Seals Crossroads volunteer!"

Volunteer Support: During their 2014-2015 fiscal year, Crossroads Guild volunteers contributed 4,443 hours of service, an increase of 1,403 hours over last year. Tessa Barnard, Volunteer Coordinator at Easter Seals Crossroads, presented certificates to Guild volunteers and thanked everyone for understanding how important volunteers are to the success of our organization.

Guild member volunteering at the Halloween Party

Guild member volunteering at the Autism Family Resource Center Halloween Party

Karen Ellett volunteering at the Ability Lunch

Karen Ellett volunteered at the 2015 Ability Lunch to assist with registration

Vally Allen, Ability Lunch Committee Member

Vally Allen (left) was a member of the Ability Lunch committee for 2014 and 2015

Financial Support: Their fundraising efforts through their Blue Boy Campaign, Christmas in July Event, Gift and Hobby Show, Cash for Kids, and general donations have raised $10,751. Over the last ten years, the Crossroads Guild's fundraising efforts have totaled $115,700.

The generosity of the Crossroads Guild members and friends allowed them to support the 2014 Annual Family Fun Day, the Autism Family Resource Center Halloween Celebration, the Cookies and More Party for Easter Seals Crossroads staff members, gifts for the Children's Respite Holiday Party, Autism Awareness Month Seminar Meetings, therapist spending stipends, and the 2015 Easter Seals Crossroads Wish List. 

Linda Knoderer, President of the Crossroads Guild, presented President and CEO Patrick Sandy, Vice President Scott Fogo and Manager of Clinical Services Sherry Floyd a check for $10,000. These funds will be used to purchase wish list items for the Children's Medical Rehabilitation program.

Check presentation

Copy of the check

Easter Seals Crossroads is thankful for such a longstanding partnership with the Crossroads Guild. To learn more about volunteer activities, events and fundraising activities with the Guild, visit http://www.eastersealscrossroads.org/crossroads-guild