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August 25, 2016
by Katie   |   0 Comments

The Employment Division at Easter Seals Crossroads is a community resource for businesses, employers and job candidates. We work with qualified individuals who are seeking employment and we match their abilities to open employment opportunities.

Our employment consultants work directly with job candidates and potential employers; they are highly skilled in analyzing necessary qualifications for job success and they work diligently to make successful outcomes.

Two employment consultants have been honored as being top producers within the division this year – Sherri Negri and Marlene Martin.

Sherri Negri
photo of Sherri NegriSherri has worked at Easter Seals Crossroads for over a year now and she has been an employment consultant for eight years. Sherri assists individuals in finding employment that fits within their interests, backgrounds and skills set. This means everything from entry level positions to seasoned professionals.

Sherri has found that many businesses in our community know our brand name and that this recognition often helps open doors for discussion. She is quick to tell employers who are not aware of us that our candidates are pre-screened for employment by a team of qualified consultants and that we have a high level of long-term job retention among our candidates.

“I love helping individuals seek out and achieve their goals and dreams to live a more fulfilling life,” said Sherri. Sherri typically works with 20 – 25 individuals seeking employment during any given month.

One dream job that Sherri recently helped someone achieve was a culmination of this person’s goals and interests, which included teaching, advocacy and office work. Together, they researched opportunities and discovered that a career in mental health required her skills set and interest level. The consumer completed some necessary coursework, applied for some open positions and was thrilled to obtain her dream job shortly after.

Marlene Martin
photo of marlene martinMarlene has been an employment consultant at Easter Seals Crossroads for over 2 years and has over 20 years of experience in the field.

Marlene loves to meet and help people find jobs to sustain them in their daily living. She has helped people find employment in professional positions such as government offices and other organizations; service positions in restaurants and dining halls; and industrial and janitorial positions in stores and the hospitality industry. She finds that much of our community is very aware of the excellent reputation that Easter Seals Crossroads has earned; this helps her learn of employment opportunities that are available.

“I am here to help future employers; my goal is to make their jobs easier by offering training and support services to my job candidates,” said Marlene.

Marlene’s best advice to individuals seeking employment is to learn how to handle an interview well and maintain a positive attitude. Being able to excel during an interview often lands a person the job and the positive attitude often helps maintain that job.

Last year, our Employment Division assisted in placing 145 people with disabilities into permanent positions and arranged 83 internships with community employers. Thanks to the hard work of consultants like Marlene and Sherri, we are often the number one choice for businesses seeking qualified job candidates.

August 8, 2016
by Katie   |   0 Comments

Hickory Hall Polo Club
Friday, August 26, 2016

polo players - two men and one woman

Join Easter Seals Crossroads for a fun, family-friendly polo event at Hickory Hall Polo Club on Friday, August 26. Easter Seals Crossroads is the nonprofit partner who will benefit from sales made at the gate.

Tailgating with your own food and drinks is encouraged; a food truck may be available. Gates open at 5 p.m. and the match begins at 6 p.m.

The cost to attend is $20 per carload (cash only, no advance ticket sales).

For more information about Sunset Polo at Hickory Hall, contact us.


Images from last year's Sunset Polo match to benefit Easter Seals Crossroads. It was a beautiful outdoor evening for polo!

polo players moment of silence before match group of players trying to get ball

small boy and woman watching match one rider on horse during match

August 1, 2016
by Katie   |   0 Comments

bikes to vets image with graphic of bicycle and words Bikes to Vets


Donate a bicycle in good working condition and help a veteran thrive!

Did you know that a bicycle often helps eliminate huge employment barriers for veterans? Easter Seals Crossroads Veteran Services is asking for your help. Many of the veterans we serve are challenged with employment and housing issues.

You can help by providing a bicycle in good working order; each bicycle will be given to a veteran who needs help getting from home to employment or from home to a bus stop.

Our Bikes to Vets (BV2) project will accept bicycles in good working order and distribute them to veterans who need transportation assistance. Not only will your donated bicycle help a veteran with transportation, it will also help promote good health to improve the veteran's quality of life!

Bicycle donations can be made at:

Easter Seals Crossroads | 4740 Kingsway Drive | Indianapolis, IN 46205

Contact us if you need more information; donations accepted August 1 through September 16, 2016. Pick up can be arranged when donating three or more bicycles.

July 26, 2016
by Katie   |   0 Comments

image of new logo look with curtains - a sneak peakLate October we will be sporting a new look! We are excited to offer this sneak preview of what is to come for us in late October as we roll out our new brand, look and feel highlighting the same great quality programs and services that our community depends upon us to deliver.

Over a year ago, our National organization initiated a brand renaissance effort. This effort originated in response to solid research into the power of our current brand through a donor-backed study with a highly successful marketing firm, Siegelvision. It was concluded that “Our brand doesn’t deliver clarity about what we’re trying to do in the world,” and the rebranding efforts began. Research involving focus groups, consumer groups, community groups and affiliate groups was carefully conducted and the results involved a new look, new logo, new philosophy and new organizational architecture.

The concept behind the renaissance is simple: to redefine disabilities for today’s challenges. Our National organization (now referred to as Easterseals as one word) rebranded in May; view their website. Affiliates were asked to select an implementation year; we have selected 2016, and our hope is to push out our new look in October 2016. There are many things we are in the process of doing now to make that transition a reality.

In addition to our National organization, 13 of over 70 affiliates have launched the new brand. It is very possible that you will notice this as you visit websites and interact on social media. Until we launch this fall, we will not be using any of the new look; it’s hard to wait, yet exciting to know it is in store for us very soon.

While we will soon look different, be assured that the quality and extent of our programs are not changing in any way; we are staying true to our core beliefs and values. Our new National tagline – taking on disability together – will help all affiliates throughout the country consistently be known as industry leaders dedicated to the abilities of those with disabilities, challenges and special needs.

Look for more information this fall as we reintroduce ourselves to our community with our new look! With all the expertise from our National organization as well as a leading marketing organization, Siegelvision, we are positioned to truly make an impact in fall 2016. 

July 21, 2016
by Katie   |   0 Comments

Camps offered by Easter Seals Crossroads provide great opportunities for children and adolescents to grow, learn and play.

As we wind down this year's summer camping season, we want to thank the many, many staff members, camp counselors, volunteers and community partners who helped us offer the following series of camping programs:

CampAbility for children with special needs ages 4 to 10
Children enjoyed outdoor play, amazing field trips, peer play and more.

two CamAbility images - each with one child and one counselor


Camp R.O.C.K.S! for young people with autism ages 10 to 18
During this week-long, overnight camp, 76 young people enjoyed the outdoors by hiking, horseback riding, swimming and more.

two images - each of groups of campers walking in woods


Camp FUEL for adolescents with special needs ages 11 to 17
Adolescents enjoyed fun and unique experiential learning during June and July by taking field trips and interacting with peers.

two images - one of girl touching (contained) snake; one of group of campers smiling


iCan Bike for individuals with special needs
Forty individuals made great strides in learning to ride a two-wheel, conventional bicycle during an intensive one-week bike camp.

iCan Bike images - one with man and biker riding, one with volunteer and biker riding


Gadget Camp for young people who use augmentative communication devices
Children and adolescents enjoyed a week of indoor fun and outdoor play.

two images of Gadget Camp - one with group of campers drawing in class, one with group fishing at outdoor pond

July 5, 2016
by Katie   |   0 Comments

Camp FUEL is a camp for adolescents with disabilities and special needs who are ages 11 - 17 years old. Participants benefit from Fun and Experiential Learning Activities at FUEL from skill building and special guests to field trips and peer mentoring.

Our Camp FUEL Staff are REVVED up for Summer Fun

 

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 Bailey BrownBailey Brown • Counselor

Bailey is a senior at Trine University with a double major in exercise science and psychology. She is a member of Theta Phi Alpha; she works on campus as a resident assistant; and she plays lacrosse on her school’s team. Her plans include graduate school to study occupational therapy. This is Bailey’s second year with Camp FUEL and she is excited to be back.


photo of Kelly Hendricks Kelly Hendricks • Counselor

Kelly is a senior at the University of Indianapolis double majoring in psychology and social work. After she graduates, she plans to purse her master’s degree in social work. Kelly has worked at Parents’ Night Out for two years, and this is her second summer with Camp FUEL. For fun, Kelly loves snorkeling with manatees.


photo of Moira McKinneyMoira McKinney • Counselor

Moira is a junior at the University of Indianapolis majoring in anthropology and religion. She worked in our Parents’ Night Out for almost two years, and she was a counselor at CampAbility last summer. She is a caregiver and tutor for children of all ages. Moira is an animal lover and owns a bearded dragon, crested gecko, two snakes and two kittens.


photo of Sami SchweigerSami Schweiger • Counselor

Sami is a senior at Ball State University in Muncie, IN, and looks forward to graduating in May 2017 with her bachelor’s degree in special education - intense interventions. She gained quite a bit of experience working with children and adults with disabilities during her practicums and student teaching experiences at Ball State University. After graduating, she plans to find a job as a high school special education teacher. Sami just returned from her third mission trip to Guatemala.

 

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!