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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

May 26, 2015
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

This past April at our Ability Lunch, we recognized the abilities of Josiah, a five-year-old boy who began receiving early intervention services from us at 8 months of age. Josiah was diagnosed with Noonan Syndrome which has created a set of challenges for him and his family, but through the work of speech and occupational therapists at Easter Seals Crossroads, he is meeting important developmental milestones. You can watch, listen or read the captions to his incredible story here:

 

On Saturday, May 23, Josiah was surprised with an incredible day of fun involving The Indianapolis 500 and race car driver Josef Newgarden of CFH Racing. Josiah was nominated for and won a room makeover contest thanks to Century 21, and on that Saturday he and his family left for the day only to return to a remarkable change. 

Century 21 Scheetz realtors and staff volunteered to spend the day painting walls, assembling furniture and transforming the room both Josiah and Isaiah, his four-year-old brother, share together. A race car bunk bed was built along with vinyl wall decals of Josef Newgarden and his car. 

Room painted by Century 21 Scheetz staff

Room being painted by Century 21 Scheetz staff

Room painted by Century 21 Scheetz staff

Assembling bunk bed outside

Assembling light fixture

While they were quickly turning his room into a new play space, Josiah's siblings and parents all went to the 500 Festival Parade in downtown Indianapolis where Josiah and his mother rode in the pace car with Josef Newgarden. Once the parade was over, they traveled back to the house where a large group of Century 21 staff and media representatives were present to unveil the room to the family. 

Once Josiah and Isaiah saw the large yellow and black balloon arch, they ran inside and went straight for their room. Both boys were overcome with "wow's" and cries of joy as they began investigating all of the new items in their room. The light fixture in the ceiling was replaced with a race car that lit up, and upon seeing it Josiah said "How'd they get that up there?" Josef Newgarden quickly came in and autographed the race car for him, along with a piece of the car that he crashed last week. 

Standing outside waiting for the surprise

Josiah walking up with his mother Amanda

Josiah and Isaiah running into the house

Light fixture signed by Josef Newgarden

Josiah smiling at his mother Amanda

Shortly after the boys explored the room, the President and CEO of Century 21 Real Estate, Richard Davidson, presented the family with five tickets to attend The Indianapolis 500 in the Century 21 suite. Josiah's father Bill stepped outside to reflect on the joy that was presented to his family, all because of the support Century 21 gives to the community and to Easter Seals. He was very humbled to be receiving such support for his family.

 Rick Davidson presenting tickets to family

Easter Seals Crossroads is proud to partner with Century 21 Scheetz for our annual Bingo Bonanza event and other volunteer opportunities and fundraisers throughout the year. Many thanks go to Mick Scheetz, Valerie and Neil Perry, Rick Davidson, Tracy Hutton, Jill Johnson, Brian Wayman and Ron Green for spending the day in support of Josiah and his family.

 Century 21 Scheetz Team

For more information, read the article from Will Higgins in The Indianapolis Star and view more photos on our Facebook page. 

May 18, 2015
by Sara Croft   |   1 Comment

It is May in Indianapolis, which means thousands of people from all over the world are in town to watch IndyCar drivers race their way around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at 200+ MPH. On May 15, staff from Easter Seals Crossroads went to the track to experience an achievement of another kind. 

Ben Trockman

In June 2014 I had the pleasure of meeting Ben Trockman in Washington, D.C. He and other Easter Seals representatives from all over the United States came together to lobby on Capitol Hill for critical funding to support people with disabilities. You can read about our trip and see the photos here

Ben Trockman was a local Adult Representative for Easter Seals Southwest Indiana in 2010. After a motocross accident in 2006 left Ben paralyzed from the neck down, he met with therapists and assistive technology professionals through Easter Seals who helped make his home accessible and created ways for him to use a motorized wheelchair with a "sip-and-puff" system. 

Since 2006, Ben has graduated from the University of Southern Indiana and is currently employed at Old National Bank in Evansville where he has the mission of helping the company become a leader in disability employment. Ben has become an advocate not just for Easter Seals in Indiana but for all of the affiliates throughout the United States. When he isn't working at Old National Bank, Ben writes for his personal blog where he keeps people up to date on his advocacy efforts. Accessible airlines and transportation is important to Ben. He and his family have driven 12 hours across the Midwest to met with industry representatives in Washington, D.C. in hopes of helping people understand why accessible transportation is so important. 

Last Friday I listened to Ben receive the Ralph Braun Foundation Spirit of Ability Award presented by Sam Schmidt, a former Indy Racing driver who was rendered a quadriplegic after an accident in 2000 at the Walt Disney World Speedway. Sam chose to stay in the racing world by creating Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, which has become the most successful team in the history of the Indy Lights series, and also build the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation. 

Sam presented Ben with this award for many reasons. You can listen to the presentation with captions here.

 

 

We look forward to seeing all of the progress Ben makes towards employment for people with disabilities in Indiana and accessible airplanes! Many thanks to BraunAbility, the Ralph Braun Foundation and Superior Van and Mobility for creating this opportunity.

May 6, 2015
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

Temperatures in Indianapolis have risen to the 70's and even lower 80's, which means people are getting out of the house and enjoying the beginning of a new season. 

Walking, running or jogging is beneficial for your overall health and well being, but what if you could double your efforts and raise money for a nonprofit at the same time? Each time you take a step, walk around the block, or run a 5K, you could be helping children and adults with disabilities and special needs right in your community.

The Glo Run

Here's how it works:

  1. Create a fundraising page on FirstGiving for Easter Seals Crossroads. Upload a picture and share your story of why you support us.

  2. Set a measurable fundraising goal. Examples: Ask people to donate per mile that you walk, jog or run this summer or set a overall goal of $250 to raise in 4 weeks.

  3. Share your page with your friends and family via email and social media. 

Donations can be made to your page online with a credit card or you can log offline donations you receive that are made by check or cash. FirstGiving will show a record of who donated to your page and the amount so everyone can see the people that support you. However, donations can also be made anonymously.

Interested in running a 5K, half or full marathon for Easter Seals Crossroads? Simply create the same FirstGiving fundraising page and contact us to share which race you are participating in. Together we can set a fundraising goal that once achieved will allow you to run your race - for free! 

Easter Seals Crossroads is proud to partner with The Glo Run and the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon this year. To create a fundraising page specific for those events, please visit these FirstGiving pages:

The Glo Run - Saturday, September 5, 2015: https://www.firstgiving.com/eastersealscrossroads12/the-glo-run

Indianapolis Monumental Marathon - Saturday, November 7, 2015: https://www.firstgiving.com/eastersealscrossroads12/indianapolis-monumental-marathon-3

Now, how many miles do you plan on logging this summer? Leave a comment to let us know how you plan on running for charity in 2015!

April 27, 2015
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

Summer is just around the corner and we’re looking for volunteers to help with our summer programs for children and adolescents with disabilities and special needs. If you’re able to offer your time, please contact Tessa Barnard at tbarnard@eastersealscrossroads.org.

The following opportunities are available:

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. CampAbility is held at Hilltop Developmental Preschool (1915 E. 86th St., Indianapolis). There are three, two-week sessions beginning June 15th and ending July 23rd. Volunteers will assist camp staff during regular camp days and field trip days. Volunteer shifts are either full day from 8:45 am to 3:00 pm or only during the duration of the field trip, whichCampAbility kids playing outside could include transportation to and from the location. This is an ideal opportunity for students interested in physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology or special education due to the heavy focus on activities designed around those principles. Volunteers must be at least 16 years of age.

Camp FUEL is a summer day camp for adolescents ages 11 to 17 with disabilities and special needs who want to enjoy Fun and Unique Experiential Learning activities like skill building and visits from special guests, to field trips and peer mentoring. Camp FUEL is held at Easter Seals Crossroads (4740 Kingsway Dr., Indianapolis). There are two, two-week sessions beginning June 22nd and ending July 16th. Volunteer shifts are all-day from 8:45 am to 3:00 pm. Volunteers will act as peer mentors for camp participants and therefore, must be between the ages of 11 and 17 years old.

iCan Bike, presented in partnership with Rainbow’s End Optimist Club and Indy Parks, is a special needs bike camp for participants over 8 years of age to learn how to ride a conventional bicycle. iCan Bike is held at Perry Park Ice Skating Rink (451 E. Stop 11 Rd., Indianapolis) from June 22nd to June 26th. Volunteers act as “spotters” for the riders by walking/jogging/running alongside the participant and providing physical support and encouragement. We ask that volunteers sign up for the same 75-minute session each day for all five days, that way they have the opportunity to bond with their rider and see the progress they’re able to make throughout the week. Volunteers must be at least 16 years of age.

April 20, 2015
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

Fran GaleToday's post features Fran Gale, who has spent over 12 years as a board member and advocate for Easter Seals Crossroads. During her time with us, Fran has brought numerous corporate partnerships and individuals to us to further extend the reach of who we serve. 

Current Career: Retired as president of Gale Force Software Corporation

Education: Bachelor of Arts, Indiana University – French and Journalism

Hometown: All over the US, England, and Germany – raised in an Air Force family (my father was in the Air Force for 27 years, serving as a fighter pilot in Korea and retiring as a base commander). Accepted a job with Eli Lilly and Company upon graduation from IU and have lived in Indianapolis ever since.

How did you become introduced to Easter Seals Crossroads? I worked with an individual who was on the board of Easter Seals Crossroads, and he invited me to a breakfast meeting to learn more about the organization (he knew that my grandfather was in administration with the Indiana School for the Blind and that I had volunteered there while I was a college student). I was later invited to consider joining the Board of Directors, and I immediately became involved in supporting the work of the organization. I have served as a volunteer, advisory board member, board member, and executive committee member since joining the organization in 2003. I have recruited other people to serve on the board, and they have all become strong ambassadors of the unbelievable work done by the Easter Seals Crossroads team.

Why do you continue to stay involved?  Once I started meeting children and adults who have benefited so greatly from the services they have received from Easter Seals Crossroads, my passion for supporting this work continued to grow. It is hard to wrap your mind around all of the services offered and the people whose abilities are enhanced through receipt of those services – it’s almost overwhelming to witness the difference that Easter Seals Crossroads makes in people’s lives. One encounter in particular has stayed with me over the years: I went to the graduation day of the I Can Ride program that teaches children how to ride two-wheeled bikes. As I was leaving, a young mother approached me and asked if I had a child in the program. I told her that I did not but that I was a board member of Easter Seals Crossroads and that I wanted to attend the final training and graduation. She burst into tears, gave me a hug, and told me what a huge difference learning to ride a bike was making in the life of her seven-year-old son. He could finally join the neighborhood kids on their bikes, and his self-esteem had risen unbelievably. She wanted me to convey her thanks to others at Easter Seals Crossroads. I still get tears in my eyes when I think about this one experience, and there have been many others that continue to renew my commitment.

April 17, 2015
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

Today’s post was written by Tessa Barnard, Volunteer & Community Outreach Coordinator at Easter Seals Crossroads.

The week of April 12-18, 2015 marked National Volunteer Appreciation Week as established by an executive order from President Richard Nixon over forty years ago. Every sitting U.S. President since Nixon has made a proclamation recognizing the service of American citizens in their communities. President Barack Obama had this to say regarding the strength and spirit of service in this year’s National Volunteer Week Proclamation:

As a Nation, our greatest resource is our people. We each have the power to strengthen the fabric of our society and make the world a better place. Every day, Americans across the country realize this enormous potential through service to others and by giving back to their communities. During National Volunteer Week, we recognize those who embrace a life of active, energetic, and engaged citizenship, and we reaffirm our belief that all people have something to contribute to the American story.

This spirit of service is deeply embedded in our culture and vital to our national character. It reflects the idea that we are each our brothers' and our sisters' keepers, and it is a core part of being an American. Through service, ordinary people can make an extraordinary impact. In times of tragedy, volunteers are a source of comfort and resilience; in places of great need, they offer hope and renew our faith that a brighter day lies ahead; and in small neighborhoods and bustling cities, these dedicated individuals help build ladders of opportunity for people of all ages and backgrounds. Volunteers -- often with few resources and little recognition -- make enormous sacrifices to lift up the people around them as well as those they may never meet. As they do, they give new life to the values that bind us together as Americans and to the promise that those who love their country can change it.

For the second year, Easter Seals Crossroads has held a Volunteer Appreciation event at Latitude 360 to thank its volunteers for giving over 10,709 hours of their time in 2014 to children and adults with disabilities, special needs, or challenges. Volunteers from nearly every program were treated to a delicious appetizer buffet, exciting video and redemption games, silly photos, and bowling. Check out some of the great photos from that evening:

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

April 16, 2015
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

April is Autism Awareness month, but at Easter Seals Crossroads we understand how autism impacts families much more than just one month out of the year. Thanks to support from community partners and donors, we are able to provide a unique combination of autism resources that help children transition into teens and adults and provide much needed care and support for their families.

Touched by Autism Jewelry Line

Our Touched by Autism jewelry line allows you to be fashionable and show your support for autism no matter where you go. Each piece of jewelry represents a child being supported by an adult figure. This figure is a parent, a grandparent, a sibling, an educator or a health care professional; this figure can be you.

This unique jewelry line can become a talking point the next time you are in line at the grocery store, talking with neighbors or while you are attending a community event. It gives you the opportunity to talk about why you are an advocate for people with autism and share how you became connected with Easter Seals Crossroads. 

Visit the Touched by Autism jewelry page on our website to see the full list of jewelry available for purchase and to place an order. 

March 17, 2015
by Sara Croft   |   1 Comment

Heather HaliburtonToday's post features advisory board member Heather Halliburton. Heather joined us in 2014 and since then has helped us build new brand awareness and fundraising relationships with the community through our fall Hallow's Eve event and the Ability Lunch. In addition to our current events, Heather has also brought us several new event and fundraising opportunities and proves to be invested in our mission of improving the lives of children and adults with disabilities, special needs and challenges.  

Current career: Director of Human Resources, Stonegate Mortgage

Education Background: Bachelors – Marketing, Management from IU Kelley School of Business; Masters – Human Resources Development from Villanova University

Hometown: Carmel, IN; Lived in Indianapolis over 20 years

How were you introduced to Easter Seals Crossroads?

I first came to know Easter Seals Crossroads through United Way’s Leadership Program. We had a meeting at the agency and Patrick Sandy, President and CEO of Easter Seals Crossroads, gave a quick introduction to the agency, the services and its mission. I remember being rather awestruck at the diverse offerings and the depth of its reach into the community. It struck a chord with me and I felt compelled to build a relationship where I could contribute in some way to support everything going on here.

What about the United Way Leadership Program was appealing to you? Can you speak to your interest in working with and volunteering for nonprofits in general?

I applied to the United Way Leadership Program because I was interested in getting involved in joining the board of a nonprofit, but I wanted to be better educated about what that meant before I sought a place to serve. The United Way program gave extremely valuable experiences to learn how boards work (the good, the bad and the ugly) as well as exposure to the real issues facing our community. The knowledge gained through that year long program with stay with me forever and make me a much more valuable board member.

Why do you continue to stay involved with Easter Seals Crossroads? Is there a personal connection we can share?

I have been so impressed with everyone I have encountered at Easter Seals Crossroads. There is such passion and commitment to consumers and their families – it’s a great community. Things like sitting with Brian Norton, Manager of Clinical Services in the Assistive Technology Center, while he walked a consumer through assistive software challenges, to board and development committee meetings, to hearing consumer success stories have been so insightful and rewarding. I continue to stay involved with Easter Seals Crossroads and explore ways raise awareness along with fundraising because I think the work the employees are doing is so very critical and beneficial. I just want to do what I can to help people get access to services that can improve quality of life for individuals and their families.

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.

March 13, 2015
by Sara Croft   |   0 Comments

Easter Seals Crossroads is proud to recognize Century 21 Scheetz for ranking ninth in the nation for their fundraising efforts to our organization.

Since 2006, Century 21 Scheetz has been the presenting partner of Bingo Bonanza, our annual special event that raises money to support our children's services such as physical, occupational and speech therapy. In addition to this event, Century 21 Scheetz has raised funds through their own signature events and charitable foundation. Over $300,000 has been donated during their 10 years of partnership.

Tracy Hutton Century 21 Scheetz President

Tracy Hutton, President of Century 21 Scheetz, at Bingo Bonanza

On top of monetary donations, Century 21 Scheetz works with their partners to solicit sponsorships for Bingo Bonanza and each of their offices is in charge of create a prize package. This year, almost all of the prize packages were valued at $1,000 in cash, gift cards and more. 

Thanks to this partnership, we are able to provide a fun night of bingo all to support children and adults with disabilities, special needs or challenges. Watch this video produced at the 2015 event to see why you should attend next year!