“My experience with Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) through Easter Seals Greater Houston has been extraordinary. The staff has been exceptional. I’ve always felt that Charles’ success has been important to them from my first meeting with Sarah his coordinator with ESGH. She would inform me of anything she felt could benefit Charles beyond therapy services. Every therapist that Charles has had seemed to take a special interest in him. Although I knew they had other clients and all the children were important, they just had a way of making you feel special. They have been committed to his growth potential and meeting his established goals. They take the time to listen to my concerns and would find ways to help me rectify them, even when it was regarding how the therapy was being done. I’ve been able to trust this group with the care of my son. When he would whine through therapy, I knew that they weren’t going to do anything that would hurt him. I’ve never had a session in which I’ve felt Charles was just another kid they had to see doing a repetitive job as robots. That’s care you can’t pay enough for. Having a special needs child has been challenging and rewarding. I truly feel that with Easter Seals Greater Houston’s ECI program, I’ve had a team to help me give my son the best start and get him on a road to success.”
Shalemeiko Freeman, Mother of Charles
Clients attending Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Homebuyer Education Classes often ask what is the key to success in purchasing a home. As part of our curriculum, we go over the importance of credit, manageable debt, and household assets, but perhaps the answer is much more simple – PERSEVERANCE!!!
A few weeks ago, a single mother of six young daughters purchased a home in Montgomery County – her first home- after over a year and a half of working hard to improve her credit, paying down her debts, and increasing assets. This hardworking mother, Ashlee, took on a second job as a home health professional and began building up a savings account towards a down payment. On April 30, at 5:00 pm, she signed the closing disclosure, collected her keys, and walked out of closing as a homeowner. At times, her goal had seemed impossible, but she persevered and now she lives down the street from one of her clients and they are now making this house their HOME.
Easter Seals Greater Houston offers Credit Boot Camp, Homebuyer Education Classes, Individual Financial Coaching and more!
Katy Thorstenberg, Home of Your Own Montgomery County Home Fund Program, Easter Seals Greater Houston
Ahoy from Camp MOST (Miles of Smiles for Teens)! This past weekend, Easter Seals Greater Houston hosted Camp MOST– a weekend retreat for young adults with cerebral palsy and other neurological disorders. Our theme this spring was Anchors Aweigh- we had nautical decorations, activities, and snacks! With 14 amazing campers and 17 amazing counselors we set sail for a fun filled weekend!
On Friday, the campers docked at Camp For All around dinner time. That night, we had an awesome Amazing Race activity and then a campfire complete with s’mores, skits, and some campfire songs. On both Saturday and Sunday Camp MOST hit some rough waters- it rained off and on both days. Despite the rain, our camp had the MOST fun! We got to participate in canoes, fishing, photography, archery, paintball, ZIPLINING, and most of all our amazing Jam Sessions.
In our Jam Sessions, we talked about awesome topics related to transition into young adulthood, and what that looks like as a teen with a disability. In the first Jam Session we discussed how independence doesn’t mean doing it all alone. Topics included learning to speak up and self-advocate during IEP meetings and college advising meetings. Later in the day campers were asked to “Set Your Course!” and each shared what they want and what they need to do to achieve this goal.
Each camper ended the weekend with fantastic memories, new friends, and a plan to set their course in order to achieve their dreams! All aboard for success!
“I want to figure out where I am in life and who I truly am. Step 1: Don’t listen to the negative talk/self-talk”
Mackenzie Richard, Camp Coordinator, Easter Seals Greater Houston
Camp MOST (Miles of Smiles for Teens) is Easter Seals Greater Houston’s three-day overnight retreat for teens with cerebral palsy. Camp MOST and Easter Seals’ Transition Program teamed up to create four jam sessions, group sessions for learning and reflection. The four topics covered self esteem; understanding realistic vs. unrealistic expectations and exploring options; conflicts and setbacks; and envisioning the future. Great group chats were had, and they didn’t stop when the sessions ended- you could hear the teens still talking about the topics around the table at mealtimes!
Ever wonder who our Camp MOST teens are or what they’re like? Here’s a glimpse, in their own words:
What are you good at?
- Writing & reading
- Making friends
- Art & being sassy
- Swimming & running
- Making conversation
- Expressing my opinion
- Riding horses
- Video games
- Making people laugh
What are your goals and ambitions?
- Get stronger physically
- Lower my school stress
- Be the best person I can be
- Publish a book
- Continue to go to school and work
- Work hard in school
- Go to college and move out
- Finish college
- Express myself
- Do well at Rodeo
- Transfer to a 4 year college, get a degree, and become a web designer
- Walk across the stage at graduation (from a camper who uses a wheelchair)
What makes you strong?
- My spirit to get back up
- My kindness
- Having a good heart
- Being myself
- The people who love me
- My work ethic
- My sense of humor
- The support and encouragement I get from friends on social media
My future is bright because…
- I’m going to try my best in life
- I’ll be graduating soon
- I do amazing at school
- My positive attitude
- My family and friends support me
- I’m me
- I’m talented
- I’m going to prom with a pretty girl
- I work hard, I don’t give up, and I don’t feel sorry for myself
Special thanks to Jacquelyn Miller, Easter Seals Greater Houston’s Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program (RAMP) Coordinator/Transition Coordinator, for adapting the curriculum for Camp MOST, and to Amy Burgdorf for facilitating the jam sessions.