Tag Archives: The Bash Halloween

Better, Faster, Stronger.

As a successful young professional, it is both my responsibility and privilege to give my time, talents, and financial resources to improve the lives of others.  But what if you, like me, don’t have large financial resources or much extra time to give? If you’re a young and driven professional, what you likely have is energy and creativity, so, when considering your personal philanthropy, it’s never too early to start thinking about how to be innovative and strategic in the way you spend your time and money to help outstanding organizations like Easter Seals Greater Houston.

It’s critical for community organizations like ESGH to tap into the creative thinking of young professionals in their area. Not only do young professionals have the ability to bring about bold and innovative efforts through new approaches to persistent problems, but we represent the future base of volunteers and donors for the organization.

I chose to spend my time with ESGH because I grew up friends with and babysitting for a sweet family whose youngest child has a disability. Robert, now a teenager, and his family taught me so much over the years about how a physical disability is a challenge – but not a barrier – to living life to the fullest. Once I learned more about ESGH, I wanted to bring my strengths to the table to better the lives of children and families like Robert’s. I believed that creating a young professionals model of giving within the organization would open new doors and change how my peers view philanthropy, so I helped to establish the Young Urban Professionals of Easter Seals,  a group within Easter Seals that was formed to support the organization in accomplishing its mission – to provide exceptional services for people with disabilities and their families, so that they can live, work, learn and play in their community – in a new way. This new and, frankly, fun group gives young Houstonians the opportunity to meet and socialize with other socially conscious individuals, help raise money for the organization, and increase Easter Seals’ volunteer base. Members not only learn about ways to volunteer within the organization, but they also have the opportunity to fundraise simply by attending one of our many social events like The Bash – A Halloween Happening and many others. Net proceeds of all fundraising activities of YUPES are contributed to the programs of Easter Seals. And, I’m pretty sure several of my single girlfriends have gotten dates out of these events. (I’m a sucker for multi-tasking.)

YUPES has created an energetic group of community members who are starting to think more strategically about philanthropy. We’re a group that thinks big and doesn’t settle for the status-quo. We see the value of seeking transformational and lasting changes in our community through entrepreneurial approaches.  YUPES has been and will continue to be a forum where we can educate each other on effective philanthropic methods, take an active role in leading innovative community projects and initiatives, and start giving back on our own terms.

Young professionals, please heed this: strategic philanthropy is not just for wealthy donors or people willing to cross continents for a living. As future leaders, we can lay a path now for us to see positive change in our lifetimes. Better, faster, stronger. All it takes is a little strategic thinking and a dose of youthful creativity to have a powerful impact on our communities.

The Importance of Early Strategic Philanthropy – by Meredith Johnson, YUPES Board Member

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“Fall”ing For Easter Seals

ESGH Therapists having fun with our trick or treaters!

No matter how cynical or exhausted you are, you have to love kids dressed up in costumes during the Fall.  This week, we had our annual Pumpkin Patch party, sponsored by our Toy / Tech Program, for children with disabilities so they have a safe, fun environment to trick or treat in.  Easter Seals Greater Houston staff dressed up, decorated their doors and handed out treats.  This integrated party included children with disabilities and their typically developing peers offering the kids a chance to show off their costumes, join in adapted Gymboree (a regular program at Easter Seals), play, craft, get temporary tattoos and candy and just celebrate being a kid.

The Pumpkin Patch party was followed by The Bash-A Halloween Happening which was for the adults who are kids at heart.  From the frightening to the spectacular –Houston has a clear love affair with dressing up and letting loose.  We sold out of sponsor tables at the Corinthian, over 700 guests danced to the non-stop music while helping raise more than $200,000 to help provide services for the over 5,500 families who need our help each year.  We have been truly fortunate to have Newie and Mark Brinker as our chairs and sponsors for this event, which they helped build in memory of Mark’s sister, Marjorie, who had cerebral palsy.

ESGH Staff ready for the annual party!

Thanks to all of you who have stepped up and helped us make up some of the $1million in budget cuts made to some of our most critical and effective programs – your generosity, your creativity and your care for what we do is inspiring.  So whether it was the cute kids, the amazing party, to honor or memorialize someone you care about with a disability-whatever the reason you fall for Easter Seals – THANK YOU! Check out our Culture Map Houston coverage to see the adult kids at heart!

By Elise Hough, CEO

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Sophie’s Corner

You like me! You really like me!   So, I get to write again this week which just means I get to tell another great story about one of my friends!

Did you know that The Caroline School was created to offer a custom learning environment for children with severe to profound developmental delays? My friend, Marissa, goes there. When Marissa started at the school, she was really scared of animals, and one day ran out into the street and away from her mom because she was so scared of another dog. Miss Larson, her teacher, suggested that I go to school every day with her, that way Marissa could overcome her fear of animals and stay safe when she was out in the community.  At first she didn’t want anything to do with me but I just hung around and was really quiet, pretty soon Marissa was asking for me by name and couldn’t wait for me to come visit her at school! …did you have any doubts?

My friends at Easter Seals are my family and are extra special! My mom, our special event manager, says she and my Aunts (Kelly, Elise and Madison – otherwise known as the Development Department) work year round on our events to raise funds so that all nine of our programs can keep helping all my friends like Marissa and their families. October, November and December are kinda crazy – we have our Pumpkin Patch Party (a safe place for kids with disabilities to “trick or treat”), “The Bash – A Halloween Happening” on October 29th, our annual golf tournament on November 17th and family holiday adoption in December!

Stayed tuned for more or contact the office to see how you can help! There are so many ways you can! P.S. Check out the cute pic of me and Caroline, the name-sake for our school! I love my Caroline hugs!

XOXO,

Sophie Jane

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Sophie’s Corner

Wow was my office surprised at how well I write cuz’ they decided to give me my own corner. Happy to say I am now a professional dog blogger…and I wanted to tell you about another really great friend of mine.  I really like Alexa and she really likes me…who wouldn’t!  She is in our Children’s Therapy Program, comes every week for physical therapy and is learning how to walk.

Sometimes we get to play catch too!

Just the other day, Alexa had to walk down this really long hall and she didn’t want to do it. So Angela, her therapist, had me sit at the other end of the hall – and I needed to sit really still and concentrate. The whole time I was rooting for her – and telling her that she could do it! She finally made it to see me and we then got to play! That’s right, teaching kids to walk – a pretty big accomplishment for a 4-year-old pug.

I love all my friends at Easter Seals! And did you know my mom is the Special Event Manager…you need to check out what she is hard at work on right now – “The Bash – A Halloween Happening” at www.houstonbash.com!  This party is for adults only and my mom’s favorite event to work on! It’s one of the ways we raise funds so that we can keep helping Alexa and all our other clients and their families.

Ready to Trick or Treat!

I already have my costume, don’t I look cute?…okay, so no I don’t get to go to The Bash really…but I do get to go to our Pumpkin Patch Party – when all of my friends/clients come to the office to trick or treat. And you can bet I will be writing to you after that…cute pictures of me and my friends…not to mention candy – my favorite!

XOXO,
Sophie Jane

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