Easter Seals Northern Ohio was awarded a grant of $2,720.45 for their Speech & Language Program, from the Toledo Rotary Club Foundation. Easter Seals, founded in 1919 in Elyria, Ohio, is the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofit organization serving both children and adults with disabilities or other special needs. In 1907, Ohio businessman and Rotarian, Edgar Allen lost his son in a tragic streetcar accident. The lack of adequate medical services available to save his son prompted Allen to sell his business and begin a fundraising campaign with fellow Rotarians to build a hospital in Elyria.
Through this new hospital, Allen was surprised to learn that children with disabilities were often hidden from view and—inspired by this discovery—he founded what became known as the National Society for Crippled Children, in 1919. In the spring of 1934, the organization launched its first Easter “seal” campaign to raise money for its services. The seals (designed by a Cleveland Plain Dealer cartoonist) featured the lily—a symbol of spring, and a sign of hope and renewal. The overwhelming public support of the “seals” campaign triggered a nationwide expansion of the organization. In 1967, due to the success of the campaign and the association of the “seals” campaign at Easter time, the organization formally adopted the name of “Easter Seals”.
How the grant funding will be used:
“Helping Children in Lucas County Build Key Communication Skills” is a grant that will make a positive and immediate impact on children with disabilities in Lucas County. The Speech & Language program at Easter Seals Northern Ohio (ESNO) is designed to promote early identification, diagnosis, and treatment of children at risk for communication disorders. ESNO works closely with local schools, day care centers and/or pre-schools to help ensure that the needs of local families are met. One unique thing about their program is that no one in need is ever turned away due to an inability to pay. To ensure the needs of each child are assessed accurately, ESNO uses several specialized tests to evaluate children and identify their specific needs. After testing is complete, the Speech-Language Pathologist creates an individual “Plan of Care” for each child that outlines specific goals based on his/her diagnosis. Activities are then created to address the unique needs of each child and help achieve these goals.
Funding from this grant will allow ESNO to purchase a set of new tests for the Toledo office so that they have the most updated and accurate tests available for families in need in Lucas County. Funding will also be used to purchase innovative new “games”, as well as key educational items, that can tailored to make learning challenging and fun for children. The Speech-Language Pathologist in the office carefully selected each item so she can be responsive to the needs of current clients as well as future clients, and all of the items can be used repeatedly for multiple years so that hundreds of children will ultimately benefit from this single grant.