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February 5, 2016
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

Today's post features Jennifer Meagher, who works as a Team Lead for Community Day Supports at Easter Seals Crossroads. Jennifer became involved with Easter Seals Crossroads through her college sorority, which led her to the unique opportunity to become a mentor.

Name: Jennifer Meagher
Hometown: Indianapolis
Education: North Central High School, Ball State University - Bachelor of Social Work. I’m hoping to be accepted into a graduate program at IUPUI this summer.
Date joined Easter Seals Crossroads: August 2014

How did you hear about Easter Seals Crossroads?
In college, one of my sorority’s philanthropies was Easter Seals. I didn’t know much about the organization until I joined the sorority. I have always been passionate about working with people who have disabilities. After I completed college I decided to look into Indianapolis’s chapter of Easter Seals. I found Crossroads and thought it would be a good fit.

Jenny and BrookeWhat is your favorite part of being a team lead?
I enjoy getting to know each consumer individually. I like learning about their interests and skills. This allows for me to provide more in depth person centered services.

What does a typical week look like for you and your mentee? Describe the activities you do/go to, what you do there, and why these activities are important for your mentee.
I currently work with five different consumers in the community and one charter school student who participates in the NEXT Project. Each day is different as the individuals have different needs, goals, and interests. 

Monday: In the morning I see a person who has goals that focus on socialization. Most of his activities include community integration that allows him to interact with others. These have included eating out at restaurants, visiting museums, and browsing around stores. Each of these outings gives him the opportunity to practice appropriate communication with others.

Tuesday: I see an individual who has been volunteering at a day center for the homeless. This individual works in the kitchen. He sets out food for breakfast, cleans the kitchen area, washes the dishes, greets the homeless, and prepares lunch. In this position he practices social skills, following directions, initiating and focusing on tasks, and job skills. This opportunity allows him to build confidence in his abilities to successfully complete a job. 

Wednesday: On Wednesday mornings I meet with a girl who has goals pertaining to exercise and creating a healthy lifestyle. She will always be given the opportunity to work out. She walks on trails and in the mall. She also uses exercise equipment, such as a treadmill. After she participates in physical activity, she will usually play a game or do a craft. 

Thursday: I work with an individual who is looking for a volunteer opportunity. He hopes to improve upon his job skills. This person will benefit from working on having professional conversations, focusing on tasks, and learning new skills. 

Friday: On Friday mornings I work with the same person that I do on Monday mornings.
In the afternoon I see a person who has a variety of goals ranging from safety, to exercise, to socialization. This individual participate in many activities, such as going to parks, working out in a fitness center, volunteering at a food pantry, frequenting museums, and exploring at the library.

What have you learned from being a team lead?
As a team lead, I’ve learned that it is important to treat each consumer with respect and compassion. It is essential that I listen to the people I work with and take their input into account. The consumers and I have to come to an understanding of our roles so that we can both get something out of the experience.

What is something your mentee has taught you?
Working with teenagers I have learned new slang, what is going on in pop culture, and that I do things that make me “old." On a more serious note, I have learned that each person I work with is a unique person. They all have different interests, strengths, behaviors, and personalities. Even though they are labeled as having a disability, as individuals they cannot be grouped together.

Are you interested in becoming a team lead like Jennifer? Read more about Community Day Supports or visit our job opportunities page to apply for the Community Team Lead position!

 

January 25, 2016
by Sara Croft   |   1 Comment

Are you looking for a fun way to give back to a great organization? Easter Seals Crossroads is partnering with the Shamrock Beer Run 5K on Saturday, March 12 from 12:45 p.m. to whenever the last participant goes through (6:00 p.m. at the latest). We’re responsible for recruiting at least 20 volunteers with serving permits to pour at one of four beer stops along the route. This race, much like Tap N Run, will start on Georgia Street and weave through downtown Indianapolis. The beer offered at this race is outstanding – Three Points, Upland, Carson’s, Scarlet Lane, and Quaff On!

So, what if you had a permit, but it’s expired? No worries! If you email tbarnard@eastersealscrossroads.org for the application form and return it by March 3, Fun-Races will pay your $5 application fee for a one-day permit. You’re also welcome to apply for your own two-year volunteer employee permit for $15 through ATC.

But what if you’d rather run/walk? You can do that too and still support Easter Seals Crossroads. Use the code EASTER to receive a discounted price on registration. Each time the code is used we’ll receive $5 from Fun-Races, so tell your athletic and/or beer enthusiast friends to sign up!

Shamrock 5K with Cindy Sanders

Pictured to the right is Becky Thaxton and to the left is Cindy Sanders, who works at Easter Seals Crossroads in our accounting department!

January 18, 2016
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

Easter Seals Crossroads is proud to announce that Kayla Shoemaker has recently become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). To recognize her achievements, we asked her a few questions about why she decided to pursue an LCSW and what it means for her future success.

Kayla Shoemaker Headshot

Hometown:
Ridott, Illinois

Undergrad/Graduate:
Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana with a Master of Social Work

How did you come to know Easter Seals Crossroads?
Being relatively new to Indianapolis, I stumbled upon ESC while looking for other opportunities here and came across the Medical Social Worker position. Once I saw the scope of services provided here, I felt passionate about becoming part of such an amazing organization. Being here has been a dream.

Why did you decide to pursue an LCSW?

I decided to pursue my LCSW so that I am able to have more opportunities available to me and continue to grow as a professional.

How will your new certification impact you? What will it allow you to do that you couldn’t do before?
My clinical license will allow me to see more individuals and families served through Autism and Behavioral Services and provide clinical supervision to Masters-level Social Workers.

Do you have any future plans for certifications or degrees?
Yes! Within hours of passing my clinical exam I thought, “What’s next?” I have not specifically identified anything at this time but I am always looking at opportunities for growth.

Tell me about one of your favorite moments while working at Easter Seals Crossroads.
This question is the most difficult to answer as there are so many moments I share with individuals, families, and even my coworkers that fall on a continuum of awesomeness. This could be from a goal met in therapy services to helping out at the ADS Fall Festival or volunteering at events like Bingo Bonanza.

January 13, 2016
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

Join the Indiana Citizens' Alliance for Transit (ICAT) and partners for Transit Day at the Statehouse on Thursday, February 11.

ICAT LogoTransit Day at the Statehouse is the one day during the Indiana General Assembly session dedicated to mass transit advocacy and provides transit supporters the chance to join others from around the state to meet with their state legislators, share information, and build support for transit funding.

The ability to meet with state elected leaders is the most important aspect of Transit Day. Our lawmakers often need to a reminder as to why transit is important in their districts and to the lives and livelihoods of their constituents.

Easter Seals Crossroads staff and consumers use IndyGo and other public transportation methods to get from home to work and back every day. The value of and need for public transportation brings to Indianapolis has a far reaching impact that continues to grow.

The event lasts from 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM. Interested individuals can register and find more information about the event by clicking here. It would be much appreciated if those who plan to attend could register for our records.

Possible Transit Day participants include riders, local elected officials, transit agency staff, nonprofit/community partners, transit supporters, local government employees, individuals with disabilities, disability advocacy organizations, interested citizens, and/or anyone else who is interested in improving public transit in Indiana.

Finally, similar to last year, we are presenting ‘Outstanding Transit Advocate’ awards in three categories: elected official, community organization, and individual. We are asking for nominations until Monday, January 25. Please submit any nominations you may have here.

January 6, 2016
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

Today's blog was written by Tessa Barnard, Volunteer and Community Outreach Coordinator at Easter Seals Crossroads.

Now is the time of year people look back at the previous 12 months and reflect on what improvements they’d like to see in the upcoming year. One possible resolution is to give your time by volunteering with Easter Seals Crossroads. You can make changes in yourself by volunteering to help others. We ask that you resolve to make 2016 the year you do GOOD.

Art with KaylaGet involved: Being an active volunteer means that you’re doing your part to make a difference in your community. By volunteering at Easter Seals Crossroads you’re helping us achieve our mission of improving lives of children and adults with special needs, disabilities or challenges by promoting inclusion, independence and dignity.

Opportunities abound: There are a variety of volunteer opportunities within Easter Seals Crossroads for you to enjoy. You can work directly with children or adults with disabilities or special needs in our summer camps or adult day services. You can also help behind-the-scenes in an opportunity like rebuilding computers in the INDATA Depot. A great way to stay informed on upcoming volunteer opportunities is to apply to become a volunteer so you’ll begin receiving our monthly volunteer e-newsletter.

Optimize your health: Volunteering not only benefits the community, but it’s also good for your individual health. The Corporation for National & Community Services released a report that noted, “Research demonstrates that volunteering leads to better health… those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer.”

Develop skills and gain experience: Volunteering allows you to further develop skills and gain experience that may help you in your future job search. Employers often view volunteer time equally as valuable as paid work experience when evaluating candidates. For example, you can enhance your childcare skills by volunteering at Parents’ Night Out – a respite program for children ages six months to 12 years with disabilities and special needs and their siblings – in an environment that is supervised by trained respite staff.

If you’re interested in volunteering with Easter Seals Crossroads, please visit our volunteer page or contact Tessa Barnard, Volunteer and Community Outreach Coordinator at tbarnard@eastersealscrossroads.org.

January 5, 2016
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

Community Day Supports at Easter Seals Crossroads provides a variety of day programming for children, teens and adults with developmental disabilities. One day could be filled with everything from exercise classes, cooking skills, discussion groups, gardening, art therapy and more, all to support the individual needs of our consumers. Many of these activities require supplies and financial support to maintain.

Community Day Supports Art Project

Below is a list of items that would assist in our consumers goals for the new year. Donations can be dropped off at our 4740 Kingsway Drive location Monday through Friday between 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM. 

Canvas
Art paper
Art supplies
Colored pencils
Washable markers
Mod Podge
Latch hook kits

Winter gloves
Hats
Sweat pants (any size)
Wallets / coin purses

Bingo prizes
Card games
Board games

Cookbooks
Electric skillet
Crock Pot
Hot chocolate mix
Panini press
Cereal bars

Nail polish
Hair spray
Lotion
Hair ties
Make up
Colognes and perfumes
Combs

Dance DVD’s
Music CD’s
Hand weights
Wii games

Bowling passes
Restaurant gift cards
Movie passes
 

For more information about Community Day Supports, visit http://www.eastersealscrossroads.org/community-day-supports or call us at 317-466-1000.

December 28, 2015
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

Harold Tenbarge PhotoToday's post features Harold Tenbarge, who joined the Easter Seals Crossroads Board of Directors in 2013. Since then, he has become an advocate for people with disabilities, an active volunteer, and advances the mission of Crossroads Industrial Services.

Current occupation: Senior Director of Global Procurement at Eli Lilly and Company
Educational background: Chemistry, Southern Indiana University
Hometown: Although originally from Evansville, IN, I have lived in Indianapolis now over 30+ years, so Indianapolis is “home”.

How did you first become introduced to Easter Seals Crossroads?
My daughter, while going to college, has been providing respite care for a couple of years for a young 3-year-old boy who has autism and I saw how she has made such an impact on his life and his family’s. I came to really understand how this offer of care and support truly impacts people’s lives. I thought, then, I wanted to do more to provide support in the community, and was looking for the best way to do so.

I was first introduced to Easter Seals Crossroads (ESC) by Paula Whitfield Taylor, a Lilly colleague, who has been serving on the Board of Directors for a number of years. Paula shared with me an overview of all the services provided by ESC and how many people’s lives are impacted by the organizations offerings and capabilities.

I then met with Jim Vento, President of ESC at the time, and Curtiss Quirin, Chief Operating Officer of Crossroads Industrial Services (CIS) to learn more about the organization. With my background in Manufacturing, Supply Chain, and Procurement, I saw a great opportunity to work with CIS to support the mission of the group.

What has been your most memorable experience as a board member?
Yes, of course, doing work to further the mission of the ESC and CIS organization is always gratifying, and to work with the Board of Directors to support the needs of the community create memorable experiences, but I have to say, working side by side with the staff at Crossroads Document Services (CDS), actually getting to know the people doing the work and seeing how committed they are and how important their jobs are to them is truly amazing. For me, that creates motivation to want to do more and more to support all our efforts at ESC!

As the committee chair, how do you see your experience lending to the success of Crossroads Industrial Services?
First, CIS have an amazingly talented staff that is committed to the success of the organization. I see the greater potential of CIS/CDS to grow the work that we can do, grow the employment opportunities for people with disabilities, and to generate greater revenues that can be reinvested in the broader ESC to provide more services to the community at large.
I have been blessed with great experiences and learning during my Lilly career in manufacturing, supply chain, and procurement, that I hope I can leverage and share these experiences and learning, to support the staff at CIS to meet our growth objectives.

How has Easter Seals Crossroads impacted your ability to advocate on behalf of individuals with disabilities?
I am a firm believer that support occurs one person at a time, one need being meet at a time. Through my experiences as a member of the Board of Directors of ESC, I have a much deeper understanding of the magnitude of the needs across our community, and an appreciation of the ability of ESC to serve these needs. Our ESC organization focuses on services for the community with disabilities, but does so with a focus on the “ability” of each person served. As I have become to understand that philosophy, it is very motivating to advocate on behalf of individuals with disabilities.
 

December 22, 2015
by Sara Croft   |   1 Comment

Case Calvert PhotoToday's guest post was written by Case Calvert. Case is a member of Indianapolis' power soccer team "Circle City Rollers" and was first introduced to Easter Seals Crossroads through our driver's evaluation and training program. His company, Find Signs, produced posters for an Americans with Disabilities Act event in July 2015, and he continues to be an advocate for Easter Seals Crossroads. 

Hi, my name is Case Calvert and I have used a wheelchair for more than half my life. Though I have dealt with this struggle for most of my life, it has most recently occurred to me that it is a real pain to go shopping for clothing suitable for someone in a wheelchair. It is quite possible that you have run into similar shopping troubles, like: the awkwardness of fitted shirts, assistance in putting on a jacket, the inability to try pants on in the store, the wrinkles, bulges, and incorrect fit of many types of clothing, pants that ride low in the back, the tight fit of many shoes, and difficulty in finding warm clothing items that don’t limit mobility, etc.

Though I experience a lot of struggles when shopping for clothing, I still like to dress well and I take pride in my appearance. Just because I am in a wheelchair doesn’t mean I have to sacrifice functionality or style.

I want to help make other people feel good in their own skin regardless of their disability. The thought occurred to me that if I have difficulties shopping for clothing, others with disabilities probably struggle as well. So, I wanted to know the answer to the question “How many other people have this same problem with clothes?” In order to answer this question, I put together a survey to understand the need for accessible clothing. Please fill out the survey because it will provide useful feedback about problems in finding accessible clothing! Thank you so much for your time and input.

Accessible clothing survey link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/JSKJQ58

For more information, contact Case at case.calvert@gmail.com

December 17, 2015
by Sara Croft   |   1 Comment

The IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI awarded Easter Seals Crossroads $10,000 to build a state-of-the-art, Multisensory Activity Room at their new Thompson Road location.

Lilly School of Philanthropy Grant Check Presentation

Designed especially for sensory recreation, the Multisensory Activity Room will provide a safe alternative to a ‘typical’ playground, provide the health and fitness benefits of a regular gym as well as help children with strength, movement, communication, behavior modification, social interactions, and self-care skills.

The need for comprehensive autism services is growing and to address those needs, Easter Seals Crossroads acquired a new facility located at 321 East Thompson Road in Indianapolis. The expansion of services includes occupational, physical and speech therapy for children, adult day services, autism services, and comprehensive employment for veterans and adults with disabilities.

The Multisensory Activity Room will house state-of-the-art occupational and physical therapy-based equipment allowing therapists to work with six children at a time with no contact points, and up to 15 children in an open gym setting, group play or obstacle courses. Therapists will be able to assess sensory processing, expressive and receptive communication, social skills, play skills, behavior, language and social development.

“We chose Easter Seals Crossroads because the grant completed their program. With the $10,000 of support, they would be able to finish their project in a very quick turnaround of about one weekend. Over 1,400 people will benefit from using this gym, 400 of which are children,” says Anna Powell, student at the School of Philanthropy.

“1 in 5 people have a disability, and disability is the only minority you can join at any point in your life,” said Scott Fogo, Vice President of Clinical Services at Easter Seals Crossroads. “This gift might be a final exam for the School of Philanthropy students, but it offers an immediate benefit that can live on forever, for those we don’t even know yet.”

December 15, 2015
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

Easter Seals Crossroads is proud to announce our newly licensed BCBA's, Amy Miller and Laura Tease. Both Amy and Laura recently completed the certification exam to become Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) so they can provide behavior analysis within our autism services.

To recognize their achievements, we asked them a few questions about why they decided to pursue their BCBA and what their long-term goals are.

Laura Tease and Amy Miller

Laura Tease (left) and Amy Miller (right)

Date of Hire at Easter Seals Crossroads:
Laura: March 2013

Amy: February 2012

Date of certification exam:
Laura: May, 2015

Amy: August, 2015

Graduate school and undergrad school:
Laura: Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis, Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis from Ball State University, Bachelors in Behavioral Neuroscience from Purdue University

Amy: I received my undergraduate degree from IUPUI, and my graduate degree was in Applied Behavior Analysis from Ball State University.

Hometown City/State
Laura: Technically Fishers, although I moved here from Lewisville, TX in middle school.

Amy: I am from Carmel, Indiana

Why did you decide to pursue a BCBA?
Laura: I tend to be more of a science-driven person, and ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) is a science driven intervention. The logic of ABA really made sense to me; we do everything for a reason and it’s my job to be a detective and find out what that reason is and how to modify it to benefit the individual. Behavior analysts focus on what is appropriate and meaningful for the individual and the success our consumers see is directly related to things that matter to them.

Amy: I decided to pursue ABA following my first job in ABA. I saw the MAJOR difference it can make in a child’s life, and I wanted to continue to grow and develop in this career. I have always wanted to make a difference in people’s lives and I have been able to do that through ABA.

How will your new certification impact you? What will it allow you to do that you couldn’t do before?
Laura: Luckily for me, I was able to see individuals as a mental health provider, but now I can provide actual ABA for more hours per week with our consumers. This opens doors for consumers to get the therapy they need but are unable to access due to transportation, insurance, or a multitude of other factors! Additionally, I can train students on their way to becoming BCBAs for their required supervision hours. I currently have one student and am hoping to add more in the future!

Amy: It will change the types of services I am able to provide. Hopefully, I will able to service more families with my BCBA and will be able to expand upon the type of service I provide.

What’s next after the BCBA? What are your future plans?
Laura: Since the state of Indiana does not have a state license for behavior analyst, I plan to test for my LMHC (Licensed Mental Health Counselor) license in April or May; and then I will be finished with credentialing! I hope to continue to provide services to consumers who are unable to access services elsewhere and supervise BCBA students.

Amy: I am always looking for my next challenge. I think for now I will take some time off of school before I decide my next big step.

For more information about our autism services, visit http://www.eastersealscrossroads.org/autism-services or call 317-466-1000.