Tag Archives: disability

Meet the 2022 Camp Interns!

The camps put on by Easter Seals Greater Houston impact hundreds of kids, teens, and young adults with disabilities every year. Each summer, interns join the Easter Seals Greater Houston Camp Program team and learn all the behind-the-scenes planning and coordination it takes to put on our fun and accessible camps. Our awesome interns play an important role in putting on Camp Buckaroo and Camp Smiles. This year one of our internships was made possible with the financial grant received from ExxonMobil Foundation Community Summer Jobs Program (CSJP). Thanks to the ExxonMobil Foundation CSJP for helping make our camps a place of inclusion, accessibility, and fun! Meet Easter Seals Greater Houston‘s 2022 Camp Interns!

My name is Alison von Haefen, I am 19 years old and a rising sophomore at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY. I am from Houston and attended Memorial Senior High School! At college, I am studying Communications with a double concentration in Public Relations and Advertising. I am involved in my college’s Best Buddies program which is sort of like Camp Buckaroo where we partner with a local organization that helps adults with intellectual disabilities and we do weekend activities on campus that are SUPER FUN! This will actually be my 3rd year with Easter Seals Greater Houston. In the past, I did multiple weeks of Buckaroo and one session of Camp MOST. I heard about Easter Seals Greater Houston and Camp Buckaroo through my amazing mom who previously worked for United Way of Greater Houston. I had worked in my high school’s special education classrooms and loved it, so she recommended that I use my summer free time wisely and volunteer for Easter Seals Greater Houston at Camp Buckaroo! I have thoroughly enjoyed my past years volunteering at camp and am so excited to work with Kenzie, Ross, and my fellow intern Jordan this summer!

My name is Jordan Mahoney, and I am one of the 2022 Camps Interns. I am 18 years old, from Houston, Texas, where I was born and raised. In the Fall of 2022, I will be attending Baylor University as a freshman studying Pre-Nursing.  I have previously been a volunteer for Camp Smiles for 2019 and 2021 (I wish for 2020, but y’all know, COVID). I have adored my time volunteering with Easter Seals Greater Houston, and I was so thrilled to be able to come back as a Camp Intern. When I found out about this opportunity, I had tears streaming down my face because I was so excited to come back! You can ask my friends and family; I am always talking about Easter Seals Greater Houston and Camp Smiles and all of the opportunities they provide for people with disabilities and volunteers. Having been a volunteer, I always tell others about how impactful volunteering with camp is! I am incredibly excited to meet all of the kids and volunteers and find ways I can be the most helpful to the camp experience. Watching the strength that all the campers have is so inspiring. It is incredible to watch them conquer obstacles in real time while gaining independence. I am looking forward to kicking off this summer with Kenzie, Alison, and Ross! 

Leave a comment

Filed under Latest News

Celebrating Success in the Week of the Young Child

I first learned of Easter Seals from my child’s daycare teacher Ms. Shelia. She was knew I was looking for therapy for my son and she assisted me with getting the proper information that was needed, and that is how we landed on Easter Seals Greater Houston and their Early Childhood Intervention Program.

My experience from the beginning started with our Intake Coordinator, Chloe. We scheduled my appointment for Chase’s evaluation and being that I was very emotional, she was very comforting. Being that she has never met me and only interacted with me by phone, she assured me that everything would work out. My appointment was set for 03.24.2022, and I am writing an actual review about my entire experience within the last 2 weeks as of today.

Chloe contacted me  to fill the spot for an earlier cancellation that allowed me to get in and be evaluated before our original appointment. I can’t stress enough how kind and supportive everyone has been to my child and I. My heart is beyond grateful.

Jamie & Roshanda, therapists on the Easter Seals ECI Southeast Team, were the first staff we met and did Chase’s evaluation. Even though I was discouraged in many areas; they encouraged me and made me feel okay about every step that I was making for my son.

Next step, putting Chase’s team of early intervention experts together.  We were very excited for the team that would be working with Chase. From Sarah, to Kimberly, to Gretchen and Charisse, every single therapist and specialist in this process has encouraged me, and poured energy into me as a mother.

I am forever grateful for this experience thus far. My prayer is that they continue to reach and meet families wherever they are. With a grateful heart, thank you for everything you are doing and have done for Chase and I. Excited to know how many other programs there are for after her graduates at 3 – including the Children’s Therapy Clinic and the Caroline School!

Truly Grateful, Shun & Chase
Parent, Easter Seals Greater Houston, ECI Program

Leave a comment

Filed under Latest News

Celebrating OT Month and Week of the Young Child!

For the #WeekOfTheYoungChild & in celebration of #OccupationalTherapyMonth, the Children’s Therapy Clinic is celebrating the success of Jonathan M. and his Occupational Therapist, Alysia Cummings. Jonathan is 8 years old and has been with the Clinic since age three after graduating from the ECI program. He currently receives OT and speech therapy 1x/week and attends public school. Mom shared his therapy has helped him participate at school and be successful in Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) at home. His OT, Alysia, shared Jonathan has taken really well to visual aids and written schedules. He is working on tying shoes, bathing independently, brushing his teeth, toileting hygiene, buttoning, and handwriting. At home, he uses visual aids for his morning routine, bathing and tooth brushing. Mom said he is able to follow the schedules very well; and has increased his independence. To increase his participation in the Clinic session, Alysia writes a schedule on the board, which encourages him to participate much more easily than he used to. Mom shared it is the everyday progress that has made such a big difference for Jonathan.  Check out more info on our Children’s Therapy Clinic at Easter Seals Greater Houston

Leave a comment

Filed under Latest News

Celebrating Our Caroline School Students During The Week of the Young Child

To Celebrate the Month of the Young Child, The Caroline School would like to introduce you to Azeneth and Alexa!

These two young learners have shown a tremendous amount of growth in their social and academic abilities throughout the school year.

Azeneth enjoys exploring a sensory box for more than her set goal time and Alexa enjoys helping her friend, by picking things up that are falling from her desk and putting them back (without teacher prompting). We here at The Caroline School at Easter Seals Greater Houston applaud both young learners for how hard they work and how amazing they are.

 

Check out all our Caroline School offers to our students and parents!

Leave a comment

Filed under Latest News

ExxonMobil Summer Job Internship Program

ExxonMobil Foundation Community Summer Jobs Program at Easter Seals Greater Houston

Mission

Easter Seals of Greater Houston’s mission is to provide exceptional services to ensure all people with disabilities or special needs and their families have equal opportunities to live, learn, work and play in their communities.

Job Description – Position Type

Full time (40 hrs) internship, primarily in-person including 4 weeks M-F day camp and 1 week M-F overnight camp, including some evening and weekend work

Internship Overview

Easter Seals of Greater Houston will host 5 weeks of summer camp for children with disabilities in the summer of 2022. Four of the weeks will serve children with various disabilities and their siblings in special supported environments throughout the greater Houston area, and one week will serve children with a primary diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy at a fully accessible overnight camp facility. If selected as a partnering agency, the Easter Seals Summer Camp Intern would be present during every week of camp along with three-four weeks of office work and hold a main leadership role during the entire summer. 

The Easter Seals Summer Camp Internship will provide a comprehensive look into the responsibilities of a non-profit Program Coordinator by providing hands on experience in the coordination, facilitation, and management of programs while gaining direct experience working with clientele, community donors, volunteers, and family members.

Job Dimensions/Other Requirements

  • The internship duration will be ten (10) consecutive weeks from May 31st through August 5th  (start and end dates are flexible)
  • The intern will work 40 hours a week, Monday-Friday (hours vary during overnight camp)
  • Must be currently enrolled as a full-time undergraduate student who has completed at least one year of college and has not graduated
  • Must have 30 hours of college credit
  • Must be organized, self-motivated, compassionate, and professional
  • An interest in working with children with disabilities and non-profit is highly desired
  • Computer and internet skills will be required
  • Relatives of ExxonMobil employees are ineligible to be hired
  • Must have reliable transportation

How to Apply

E-mail your resume to Kenzie Richard, Camps Coordinator, at mrichard@eastersealshouston.org and request an application for the summer camps internship.

Additional counselor positions – https://bit.ly/3IQsTbs

For questions or to request more information, please contact Kenzie Richard, Camps Coordinator, at mrichard@eastersealshouston.org or 713-208-0543.

Leave a comment

Filed under Latest News

2,376 and Counting!

A woman, the wife of a Veteran, known here as CeeCee, has been receiving mental health services since August 2019 from Easter Seals Houston‘s Military Program. In this time, she has grown a great deal through addressing her anger, physical pain, and improving her relationships. Talk therapy and evidence-based therapy have helped her find the internal peace she has desired for years and helped her take the steps needed to participate in life without pain limiting her. But this isn’t an account of her growth, rather it is about how she has helped others.

CeeCee loves her family and friends and has always put them first. Through her engagement with mental health services, she identified the importance of communication and connection for her and learned how to let these guide her daily. Some days are easier than others. Yet, she is understanding and patient with herself when she sacrifices the connection with others to share her anger and frustration. Finding ways to live what is important to her by being at peace, using her voice, and connecting with others reaches well beyond her, just ask her friends and family.

CeeCee who is in her 60s has shared what has been helpful to her with those around her. She has encouraged a friend who is in abusive relationship to get help. At the same time, they remain good friends CeeCee knows she can hear the stories of her friend and take care of herself to not be weighed down by what her friend is experiencing. CeeCee has connected an extended family member to Easter Seals services to help this young mother move toward the mental health, occupational, and financial stability she desires. CeeCee hopes this will interrupt the transgenerational pattern of instability this woman is a part of. CeeCee also connected her mother to Easter Seals mental health services in another state. She is excited her mother finally has the chance to voice the trauma she has experienced and find a way to be happy. A little change really goes a long way.

Dr. Cristy Gamez
Easter Seals Greater Houston, Veterans & Military Service, Mental Health

Leave a comment

Filed under Latest News

Transition & Employment, & Success!

During the pandemic, how and where we serve our clients has changed considerably. Much of what we did in person has become virtual. Some of it is hybrid, with some services done in person and some done virtually. Despite the issues caused by these changes, and everything else that went with the pandemic, the people who come to us for help finding employment have had many successes.

Because of her health conditions, one person looking for employment could not pursue work that took her outside her home. After several stalled attempts to find appropriate work, she began working with Ron Taylor, an Employment Specialist with Easter Seals Greater Houston. With his help, she was found employment with Walgreen’s processing online prescription requests. She was able to gain help from her Texas Workforce Commission Counselor to find office furniture for her home, and from Easter Seals Houston in obtaining a suitable computer for the work she was doing. She has been working for Walgreen’s for a year and is well established as an employee with the company. She can now pay her own way in life without outside assistance and is looking forward to working with Walgreen’s for a long time.

Two persons who recently came to us for help finding employment had to suspend their job search for almost a year because of the pandemic. After a complete assessment of their skills and desires around setting a plan, they began their job search. After placing many applications at different businesses, they were both recently hired by Macy’s. They are both finishing their initial training in their stores, and will work with Robert Aranda, another Employment Specialist with Easter Seals Greater Houston, to learn their jobs and help them fit into culture in their new workplace. They are both looking forward to becoming more independent as they embark on their new careers.

Although the pandemic has forced major changes on all of us, the dream of employment for persons with disabilities is still alive and is being fulfilled every day, it may just look different. At Easter Seals we will continue to do everything we can to help our clients achieve those dreams.

Robert Williams
Transition/Employment Program Director

Leave a comment

Filed under Latest News

Tools for the Journey Through Life

The following was shared by a parent of a client in Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Early Childhood Intervention Infant Program.

“Once my daughter, Harper, was diagnosed with Autism I knew we needed help! When we first met with Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Early Childhood Intervention Infant Program my child could not communicate. Harper would scream, throw fits, and have meltdowns as she could not tell us what her wants or needs were. She could not and would not point or show us what she wanted. She was also an extremely picky eater, refusing to try any new foods. Experiencing anything new was overwhelming for Harper. She was withdrawn and preferred to play on her own than with the family. I never heard her say mama or experienced those awesome baby/toddler kisses and reading books together.

After Ashley and Jessica from Easter Seals ECI Program started working with her I began to see positive changes in Harper. She started signing which resulted in less meltdowns and fits in our house. As time went on, she started to allow her siblings to play with her and she would laugh with them instead of screaming and taking off. She started tolerating new textures and touching things and exploring in her environment. Though she remained cautious this was a huge accomplishment!

This amazing little girl has continued to improve. Even though she still is not talking verbally she can communicate what she wants to us by pointing and taking us to where she wants to be (often to the freezer for her popsicles and to turn on her favorite toy). She plays with her siblings (they are ages 16, 14 and 9) and we even hear belly laughs now and again, something I previously took for granted. I got my first kiss from her at 2 1/2. She is happy to see me when I come home. I now know without a doubt she knows I am her momma and I know that sounds crazy, but I was unsure as she didn’t react me.

This is just a summary of how far she has come. Everyday is a new day with a child with Autism and not always sunshine and rainbows. She will always have her harder days, but the tools and help we received as a family has really improved our ability to better support Harper. I honestly would never be able to put in words how happy I am with Jessica, Ashley and the entire Easter Seals ECI crew. They set Harper up with a great foundation for her to continue to grow and prosper in her new chapters on this journey through life.” -Harper’s Mom

Are you concerned about your baby’s development? Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Early Childhood Intervention services are available for children birth to 36 months who show a developmental delay, who are at risk for a delay, have a disability or atypical behaviors. Learn more.

Leave a comment

Filed under Latest News

Holiday Meal Tips for the Child with Feeding Difficulties

The holidays are often a wonderful time for social gatherings and delicious meals. We often enjoy sitting down with family and friends and indulging in some of our favorite home-cooked meals. For the child with feeding difficulties, this may be even harder as the child is expected to eat foods they only see once a year, engage with family members who may be unaware of their feeding challenges, and eat in a new, unfamiliar setting.

One way families can help their child is to limit and minimize changes. It is important to feed your child on their same schedule and not wait for the holiday meal. You can offer them at least one of their preferred foods at the meal so they can be participate in the experience. Families can also prepare their child in advance by talking to them about expectations and what they will experience on that day.

To learn more about helping your child with feeding challenges, the Children’s Therapy Program at Easter Seals Greater Houston offers a variety of feeding therapies including SOS Therapy (Sequential-Oral-Sensory). The SOS approach focuses on not only what you can see happening with your child (not eating, gaining weight, spitting out food, etc.), but also what you cannot see happening within organ systems, muscles, sensory processing, learning, behavior and cognition, development, nutrition, and environment.

Little girl enjoying holiday treats

To learn more about SOS feeding therapy and/or to refer your child for services at Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Children’s Therapy Program, please call 713-838-9050 ext. 381. The clinic is located at 4888 Loop Central South, Houston, Texas 77081.

Leave a comment

Filed under Latest News

Fitting Independence in the Budget

When Easter Seals Greater Houston Housing and Financial Coach Carmen Phillips first met “C”, she was transitioning out of homelessness and back into her first apartment.  Due to her disability and low wages, C has always needed a roommate in order to afford housing.  Unfortunately, depending on a roommate to fulfill their half of the obligations proved detrimental to C’s financial stability and left her homeless yet again.  After several months of homelessness, she eventually managed to find a new roommate she had met at the local shelter and they got a new apartment. Despite some of C’s objections about saving money, she and Carmen continued to work together to build up her savings account just in case she found herself in a similar position in the future.  Because she receives disability and works part-time, it was hard for her to rationalize why she needed so much money in her savings account, since her disability was guaranteed.  Well, fast-forward to COVID-19.  Unfortunately, C was laid off from her part-time job and the very same month, her disability benefits were suspended due to some type of error regarding her wages.  She was now stuck in an apartment lease with zero income.  Fortunately, she had her savings to fall back on until her disability benefits were re-instated.  Throughout the pandemic, with the help of her stimulus checks and her unemployment, C managed to pay her rent, pay off her credit cards and build her savings up to $17,000. 

However, shortly thereafter, C’s roommate left unexpectedly, leaving her stranded with a 2 bedroom apartment and bills to pay. Fortunately, she had her savings account and decided to make a drastic move.  She took a portion of her savings and purchased a 5th Wheel Travel Trailer in order to have a home of her own.  C now owns her own place, does not have to depend on a roommate to split housing costs, pays less renting her RV spot than her apartment and has drastically lowered her electric bill, all while retaining $5,000 in her savings account.  C hopes to eventually save up her cash and purchase a small lot in order to completely eliminate paying monthly rent to anyone.

Learn more about Easter Seals Greater Houston’s free resources for Financial Education, Homebuyer Education Services & Public Benefits. Our agency also has programs for Veterans, Service Members, and Military-Connected Families here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Latest News