A Message from Our President and CEO on the 100th Anniversary of Easterseals

CEO Angela Williams in front of a word wallWhile Easterseals now serves 1.5 million people in 70 affiliates across the country, our story started as the vision of one grieving father in Elyria, Ohio. After losing his son in a tragic accident, our founder, Edgar Allen, was determined to make a difference for children just like his son, so he set out to do everything he could to change the course of history for generations to come.

As we celebrate 100 years of service at Easterseals, we’re more energized than ever to carry our mission into the next century; but we would be remiss to not reflect on our past and consider how those beginnings made us the organization we are today.

For the 100th Anniversary of Easterseals, I’d like to share with you some lessons I’ve learned from Edgar Allen’s legacy that I try to live by as the current leader of Easterseals National.

  1. Don’t be afraid to dream big. When Edgar Allen realized the lack of adequate medical services available to save his son, he sold his business to begin a fundraising campaign to build a hospital in his hometown. Anyone can make a difference, and no vision is too grand or too bold to accomplish.
  2. Don’t be afraid to evolve and innovate. Once the Elyria Memorial Hospital was up and running, Edgar Allen realized just how hidden from view children with disabilities were. He refused to sit by while children in his community faced barriers to full lives, so he created the National Society for Crippled Children, which eventually became Easterseals.
  3. Be resourceful. In the mid-1930s Easterseals needed to find a way to raise funds for services during the Great Depression. Determined to meet the needs of those they served, the organization embarked on an annual sale of small decorative stamps around Easter time as a way to represent rebirth, new growth and renewed life. Not only did the seals raise money, but they also raised awareness. This campaign led to our current name of Easterseals and paved the way for the organization we are today.

These are among many lessons from our history that we can apply each and every day to ensure a vibrant future where everyone – regardless of age or ability – is 100% included and 100% empowered.

Thank you for your support every step of the way. Cheers to 100 more years of service!


 

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