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Autism

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Easter Seals

Easter Seals

When we think of large companies or organizations its easy to forget that they didn’t all begin that way. We see only what is before us and not where the organization came from. Almost always, the beginnings are humble and behind every great organization is a person with passion and a story. Easter Seals, one of our countries oldest non-profits, is no different.

It all began in 1907, when Edgar Allen lost his son in a streetcar accident. There was not proper medical care in their town and as a result Edgar’s son did not survive. Edgar, a Ohio businessman, sold his business to begin a fund-raising to build a hospital in his town of Elyria, Ohio. Once the hospital was built he learned that children with disabilities were  hidden from public view. In 1919, determined to help these children, Edgar Allen founded the National Society for Crippled Children, the first organization of its kind.

By 1934, the organization launched its first Easter “seals” campaign to raise money for its services. Donors showed their support by placing seals on their envelopes and letters. A Cleveland cartoonist designed the first seal  based on the concept of simplicity, believing that those served by the charity wanted “simply for the right to live a normal life.” The lily became Easter Seals’ logo in 1952 for its symbolism with resurrection and new life and has appeared on their seal ever since.

The Easter Seals campaign was so successful that by 1967 the organization changed its name to Easter Seals.

Today, what began as fundraising campaign for a hospital, has grown into an organization in more than 550 U.S. cities with over 23,000 employees and thousands of volunteers. The Easter Seals organization continues its mission in helping individuals with disabilities and their families, live better lives. They offer help, hope and answers to more than a million children and adults living with autism each year.

From humble beginnings to a lasting legacy of compassion.

Charity Matters.

 

Copyright © 2014 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.

A trash truck, a boy and a moment

Photo via Robin Newberger
Photo via Robin Newberger

One of the first words my oldest son said was, “Twas Twuck.” Every Wednesday we would sit by our big upstairs window and wait for the beloved trash man. He would waive, smile, honk and make our day. This morning I went looking for something to share with you about Autism and the story I came across simply made my day.

What has made this story so impactful, really had nothing to do with autism but rather with a beautiful act of kindness.  Manuel Sanchez, the trash man, gave Daniel the toy garbage truck that he purchased with his own money and had no idea that Daniel had autism. He just knew that Daniel was always waiting for him each week.

In a recent interview Manual said, “That little boy is so special, and he will steal anybody’s heart as soon as you see him,” Manuel told his employer. “I didn’t know what he has but there’s something very special about him.”

Obviously, there is something very special about Manual Sanchez too. His kindness has gone viral and he has inadvertently become the messenger of Autism awareness month by showing the world that the more you give the more you get.

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2014 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.

 

Danny’s Farm

As April’s Autism month comes to an end, I thought I would share the remarkable story of our friends, the Gott family. Jim and Cathy Gott’s son, Danny, was diagnosed with autism as young child. The Gotts lived the battle of therapies, the challenges of adolescence and then the reality of what happens to their son as an adult? What happens to adults with autism?

The Gott’s faith, love and tenacity knows no bounds and they were determined to create a place that not only helped their son live a fulfilling life as an adult with autism but helped others as well. That very special place is Danny’s Farm.

Danny’s Farm’s is much more than a petting zoo. It is a place that brings joy and purpose to adults with autism as well as to young children. As Cathy said, “My hope as a parent is to inspire others to harness their children’s passion.” Danny’s passion was animals and when Danny was 15 they began planning a legacy for him and other adults with autism.

The mission is to provide meaningful employment opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities and to serve children, ages 5-17 years old, by providing  experiences through the farm’s Specialty Autism Program.

Cathy said, ” Everybody needs a job and a purpose. I challenge the corporate community to open their hearts to hire just one person with a developmental disability. I think they would be surprised what value it can bring to an organization.”

Jim and Cathy’s mission began as a journey with their child but has grown into a beautiful place that brings joy to so many. Today they are employing adults with disabilities, taking their mobile petting farm on the road and empowering adults with disabilities with purpose and passion.

When I asked Cathy what inspired her, the response was,” The community that supports us and our employees, it’s just so beautiful to watch them do their job.” Its a complete circle of caring.

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.