At Your Service in Our Community
Easter Seals helps thousands each year to live, learn, work and play.
Camp Fairlee provides a fun, year-round camping experience. (Photo by Maria DeForrest)
To many people, the mention of Easter Seals evokes images of helping children cope with debilitating disabilities.
While that was the organization’s original mission, Easter Seals in the 21st century does so much more.
“One of the things that’s unique about Easter Seals is that we provide services to individuals of all ages and of all abilities,” says Ken Sklenar, President and CEO
of Easter Seals Delaware & Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Unlike most other health-oriented nonprofit organizations, he adds, “we have an extensive range of services and professional expertise.”
No other nonprofit agency provides the broad range of high quality services that Easter Seals offers to help people of all ages and all abilities gain greater independence.
In 2015, Easter Seals’ clients ranged from 1 week to over 100 years old, with conditions as diverse as autism, Alzheimer’s and cerebral palsy. The organization served about 6,000 individuals, with direct, hands-on care, helping them to live, learn, work and play in their communities. Counting family members, and others receiving referrals, educational training and support, indirect services helped an additional 26,000 people.
“Those four action verbs in our mission statement—live, learn, work and play—are critical,” Sklenar says. “All of our programs and services relate to one of them.”
Personal attendant services and adult day programs enable adults with physical and intellectual limitations to spend more of their lives in their own homes and to enjoy the social interactions that are essential to maintaining a mentally and emotionally satisfying lifestyle.
Early intervention programs provide children with developmental delays and physical disabilities with the therapies needed to help them get a good start in life.
Supported employment programs help match adults with intellectual disabilities with jobs in their communities, enabling them to earn paychecks and to learn valuable job skills to help them work toward greater independence and full inclusion in society.
Recreation programs, like those offered year-round through Easter Seals Camp Fairlee, give children—and adults—the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, and to swim, play and dance, in a caring, healthful and well-supervised setting. Camp Fairlee delivers an added benefit to the families of campers—a week or so of respite from the daily stresses and strains of caring for a child, sibling or parent with special needs.
While Easter Seals already offers a comprehensive menu of programs for its current clients, it continues to strive to do more, Sklenar says. The strategic plan most recently developed by the board of directors calls for expanding more services into Maryland’s Eastern Shore and utilizing innovative ideas to increase and improve services in homes and in the community.
“We are an integral part of the community,” Sklenar says, “and we will continue to service Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern Shore for many years to come."
CAMPaign Fairlee: For more than 60 years, Easter Seals Camp Fairlee has been transforming the lives of thousands of individuals and has been a lifeline for many families caring for loved ones with disabilities by offering recreation and respite care in the Delaware and Maryland region. I Easter Seals Camp Fairlee, located near Chestertown, Md., is the only camping facility in our region that offers campers of all abilities the opportunity for a safe and accessible camping experience year-round. Meanwhile, families enjoy peace of mind, an opportunity to rest and focus on relationships with spouses or other children, and experience activities that are out of reach in their daily lives. I Easter Seals recently started the public phase of CAMPaign Fairlee to help pay for $6.5 million of improvements that have been made to the camp. I To learn more about CAMPaign Fairlee, click here.