If you saw people dangling on ropes from the 102-foot International Motorsports Center in Daytona Beach last week, your eyes weren’t deceiving you. In fact, dozens of rappelers went “Over the Edge” of the 8-story building in support of Easterseals of Northeast Central Florida and The NASCAR Foundation. By all accounts, the 2nd Annual Over the Edge at ONE DAYTONA was a huge success!
On Friday and Saturday, Nov. 2-3, Edgers who had sponsored the event, or who had individually fundraised for their spot, took their place on the ropes for two action-packed days across from Daytona International Speedway.
The event raised more than $131,000 for the two charities and countless supporters learned what it takes to “Be Brave for Courageous Kids!”
First to rappel was longtime Easterseals champion Sheryl Cook, who rappelled alongside NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Rusty Wallace. Sheryl is the top individual fundraiser in the 2018 event, collecting more than $13,800. She’s a longtime Easterseals board member, honorary past chair & Lily Award recipient and lifelong Easterseals volunteer.
Another notable moment on the ropes was the challenge between Daytona Beach Police Chief Craig Capri – a first-time Edger – and Volusia County Sheriff Michael Chitwood – a second-time Edger. Both successfully fundraised for their spot on the ropes. And, are you wondering who made it down the building first? We’ll never tell.
Over the Edge sponsors made the event possible! They include Victory Lane Sponsor Jeep Beach (jeepbeach.com); Landing Zone Sponsors The Daytona Beach News-Journal (news-journalonline.com), NASCAR (NASCAR.com), KIX Country 98.7 FM, Beach 92.7 FM, Bill Voges and Family, and Halifax Health; Building Sponsor International Speedway Corporation (internationalspeedwaycorporation.com); Volunteer Lounge Sponsor SpecialCare by MassMutual (massmutual.com/planning/topics/specialcare), and Media Sponsors WHOG 95.7 FM, WLOV 99.5 FM, HOT 94.1 FM, 103.3 The Vibe, and 93.1 Coast Country (daytonaradio.com). We thank these sponsors for their support and encourage you to learn more about the above businesses. Please support them with your patronage.
Mark your calendars for the 3rd annual Over the Edge at ONE DAYTONA event, to be scheduled in fall 2019! Stay abreast of event updates at daytonaovertheedge.org. In the meantime, we welcome your engagement with Easterseals year-round. Learn more about Easterseals and its programs by calling
386-255-4568, 1-877-255-4568 (toll-free) or 386-310-1157 (videophone); emailing firstname.lastname@example.org; or visiting us online at www.eastersealsnecfl.org.
Shhh…don’t tell the children, but when they play, they are doing their most important work.
That’s why Easterseals’ Early Step North Beaches offers free playgroups for local Early Steps children and their siblings through December.
The playgroups consist of circle time and gross motor time. Circle time is focused on enhancing cognitive, speech and peer interaction skill through songs, stories and sensory activities. Gross motor time uses mats, slides and balls to encourage children to jump, climb, balance and play.
Early Steps North Beaches offers playgroups through December in Flagler County and in east and west Volusia County:
· Flagler County – 1st Friday of the month from 10 – 11 a.m. Remaining date for 2018: Dec. 7. Location: 301 Justice Lane (Bldg. C), Bunnell, FL 32110
· West Volusia County – 3rd Tuesday of the month from 10 – 11 a.m. Remaining date for 2018: Nov. 15 and Dec. 20. Location: 156 McGregor Road, DeLand, FL 32720
· East Volusia County – 2nd Tuesday of the month from 10 – 11 a.m. Remaining date for 2018: Nov. 13, Dec. 11. Location: 1219 Dunn Ave., Daytona Beach, FL 32114
Caregivers must stay and participate with their child for the entire playgroup, and socks are required for playgroup playtime. For more details, contact Deanna M. McGrath, Early Steps Family Resource Specialist at 386-873-0365 X116 or email email@example.com.
Everyday heroes, thrill seekers and community leaders are invited to BE BRAVE FOUR COURAGEOUS KIDS during the second annual “Over The Edge At ONE DAYTONA” event on November 2 and 3, 2018.
Registration is now open for individual fundraisers! The first 140 fundraisers who raise a minimum of $1,000 will earn their spot to go Over the Edge of the west-side façade of the 102-foot-high International Motorsports Center, the headquarters of NASCAR and International Speedway Corporation (ISC).
Register and learn more about the event at www.DaytonaOverTheEdge.org, and follow the event’s progress at https://www.facebook.com/DaytonaOverTheEdge/. We want to cheer you on as you go Over the Edge for kids!
Do you have a preschool child who is challenged by special needs and/or disabilities? Easterseals Charter Schools may be the perfect fit for your little one.
With charter schools in Daytona Beach and DeLand, Easterseals teachers provide hands-on and comprehensive education for students ages 3 to 5. The inclusive classroom setting integrates students with special needs and typically developing students of the Easterseals Child Development Center. This helps all students achieve the best possible outcomes.
Just take a look at Walter, a 5-year-old bundle of enthusiasm who recently graduated from the Easterseals Charter School in DeLand.
“Walter loves school,” noted his proud mother. “So for us it was just important that he felt safe and welcomed. The Easterseals Charter School was fun for him, and he looked forward to going every day.”
His teachers made sure he transitioned well and gave him whatever downtime he needed. They accommodated his schedule and kept his parents aware of any issues in the classroom.
“Walter’s teacher had set up his cubby with photos of Batman so he would recognize it as his own,” his mother recalled. “He waved goodbye and sent me on my way.”
The boy left the charter school ready to face new challenges and learn with his brother and friends at a public school in DeLand. When he entered kindergarten, much to his mother’s delight, he said hello to everyone.
“My son felt safe and comfortable to grow and learn at Easterseals,” Walter’s mom concluded. “I can’t ask for more from a school.”
Learn more about the Easterseals Charter Schools at www.eastersealsnecfl.org.
Did you know Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are the fastest growing developmental disabilities in the world today, affecting 1 in 59 children?
It takes a team approach to deliver exceptional care to children with ASD. Nowhere is that more evident than at Easterseals of Northeast Central Florida.
As the clinical coordinator for Easterseals’ Autism Center of Excellence, Debbie Neller, OTR/L, has the privilege of meeting with families, conducting autism diagnostic testing, and presenting her findings to physicians.
“Every day I am able to discuss observations, situations and unusual findings with others on our team who have wisdom and knowledge I may not have,” Neller said. “I don’t have to look far to find resources for myself as well as for the families I interact with.”
As the mother of a special needs child, she understands the alternating emotions of fear and hope that many parents experience.
“I am inspired every day by the children we serve and their families who come with concerns, hopes and fears,” she said. “To be able to speak to their concerns, maybe even alleviate some, and connect on common ground is so fulfilling. Having ‘walked a mile in their shoes,’ it is the ultimate full circle to be able to offer guidance and help to families who may feel lost.”
Since she joined the Easterseals in 1995, Neller has gained confidence, a sense of purpose, and a drive to help these families. She has also found the uncommon element of pure joy in her work.
“I can make a difference,” she said. “On a professional level, I am stretched each and every day. Children are amazing in all they are, and no two are alike. Working together with these amazing children and their parents, the Easterseals team is able to provide quality and compassionate care.”
Easterseals’ Autism Center of Excellence is a recognized leader in providing early diagnosis, functional assessment and intervention treatments for children with ASD. Learn more about Easterseals at www.eastersealsnecfl.org.
Do you know someone in Central Florida who exemplifies how to #BeBraveForCourageousKids?
Nominate your “Champion for Children” and enter them to win a free rappel down the 8-story International Motorsports Center in Daytona Beach in Over the Edge at ONE DAYTONA on November 3!
To nominate your “Champion for Children” for a free rappel, send the nominee’s name and 150 words or less about how they’re a hero for kids in our community to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5 p.m. Monday, October 22.
Keep an eye out for our announcement of the winner, which will be posted on the Over the Edge at ONE DAYTONA'S Facebook page by Thursday, November 1, 2018.
Proceeds from Over the Edge of ONE DAYTONA support Easterseals of Northeast Central Florida and The NASCAR Foundation. The event will welcome more than 100 rappelers to step over the edge to show love and support for children in our community with special healthcare needs. Please note that all “Champion for Children” nominees must be 13 years or older.
To rappel, sponsor or volunteer at Over the Edge at ONE DAYTONA, Nov. 2-3, 2018, visit www.daytonaovertheedge.org.
Fueled by the mission of taking on disability together, Easterseals organizations around the world bring awareness, treatment and advocacy to adults and children with disabilities in America.
The United States Government recognizes National Child Health Day every October 1 and stated in its 2018 Presidential Proclamation that “On Child Health Day, we renew our commitment to ensuring the health and well-being of our young people, who are the future of our great country. All children deserve to grow up in loving homes with parents or guardians who are dedicated to empowering them to live healthy, safe, and successful lives.”
Easterseals is a partner in making this vision a reality and achieves it by creating and managing programs and services that make profound, positive differences in people’s lives every day. Easterseals of Northeast Central Florida’s services can be organized by how they fit into the “Live, Learn, Work, Play, Act” model:
LIVE: These programs offer hands-on, comprehensive, vital services and support to help people reach their full potential—regardless of challenges, needs or disabilities. They include Agency for Persons with Disabilities - APD Application assistance, Autism Early Diagnostic and Functional Assessment Clinic, Feeding Aversion Clinic, Early Steps evaluation and treatment, an equipment loan program, Florida Telecommunications Relay, Inc., interpreter services, pediatric audiology, social skills training and more.
LEARN: These programs are designed to help children and adults learn—and often re-learn— basic functions, master skills needed to develop and thrive, and be sharp and active as they age. They include American Sign Language® classes, case management/service coordination, Child Development Centers, Easterseals Charter School, Pre-Kindergarten, Evelyn Lynn Child Development Center at Project WARM, school-based therapy, Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten and more.
WORK: These programs include a range of training, placement and related services that help people prepare for the workforce—because meaningful work is often the key to overcoming challenges and having a good life. Examples of Easterseals’ offerings include clinical training, Deaf advocacy, internships and physician in-services.
PLAY: Easterseals is committed to offering fun, healthy programs for children, adults and caregivers to relax, connect with friends and engage in constructive activities—all necessary to living the best life possible. These programs and activities include accessible playgrounds, Camp Challenge, Joey’s Gift Respite Care, social skills training, and Tiny Toes Play Group for Early Steps.
ACT: Easterseals is fortunate to have a vibrant community of friends and supporters who stand with those who face challenges by volunteering, advocating, donating and participating in events that inspire us all and sustain our cause. We encourage all citizens to get involved with Easterseals as an advocate, joining a board or committee, engaging in community collaboration, joining the Disability Coalition, contributing to the equipment loan closet, giving or donating funds, participating in special events and volunteering.
To learn more about how to engage with Easterseals and learn more about its programs, connect by calling
386-255-4568, 1-877-255-4568 (toll-free) or 386-310-1157 (videophone); emailing email@example.com; or visiting us online at www.eastersealsnecfl.org.
The National Alliance for Caregiving reports that more than 43 million caregivers in the United States provide unpaid care to an adult or child annually. And, according to the National Respite Coalition Task Force, family caregivers are more than twice as likely than non-caregivers to report "usually or always" feeling stressed.
If you’re a caregiver, maybe it’s time you took a healthy break. Easterseals of Northeast Central Florida wants to give you that gift of time.
Joey’s Gift Respite, an Easterseals program, is designed to care for your child with special needs between the ages of 1-18. Joey’s Gift Respite offers four-hour breaks on designated Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The next session will be October 20 at the Easterseals Child Development Center, 1219 Dunn Ave. in Daytona Beach.
Trained staff and volunteers care for children in a safe and fun environment. Siblings are welcome, too. Plan to pack a lunch for all children attending, and if needed, include personal hygiene supplies or medications.
Complete the enrollment form for Joey’s Gift Respite if it’s your first time attending. All caregivers must sign up online in advance or call Easterseals at 386-944-7816 at least five days before the scheduled program.
Take a break, with confidence, with support from Joey’s Gift Respite. Take time to take care of you.
Ready to challenge yourself with a new language? Sure, German comes in handy around Oktoberfest, but American Sign Language is the one that can change lives – including yours – right off hand. (Pun intended!)
Thousands of Volusia and Flagler Counties residents are deaf or hearing-impaired and, chances are, that includes someone you know or will interact with in your community.
Here are five reasons to learn sign language through Easterseals of Northeast Central Florida this summer (classes begin Oct. 22!):
1. It’s not uncommon. American Sign Language is more widely used in the U.S. than Chinese, French, Vietnamese or Korean. Thus, it’s likely you’d be practicing with people you meet day in and out.
2. It’s a helpful tool for communicating with the public. ASL-trained residents who work in service to the public may be able to better serve hearing-impaired individuals.
3. It improves personal communication, too. ASL-trained family members, friends and colleagues of hearing-impaired persons can put immediately actionable signing to use toward more effective communication.
4. Classes are inexpensive! $50 covers a nine-week session.
5. Classes are convenient! Meet beginning Monday, October 22, from 6 – 7:30 p.m. at the DeLand Family YMCA (761 E. International Speedway Blvd.), or meet beginning Tuesday, October 23, from 4:30 – 6 p.m. at Easterseals in Daytona Beach (1219 Dunn Ave., Daytona Beach). All classes are taught by an ASL-certified instructor.
Register now; space is limited! Register online here or call Shae, ASL instructor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Pictured, left to right, are Tracey McLaughlin, Chele Wallens, Cat Hammons, Lourdes Rodriguez, Jaslyn Clemmons, Brenna Giblock, Lori Ebanks, Lynn Carew, and Awilda Koolhaas.)
At the Sept. 13 annual meeting of Easterseals of Northeast Central Florida, held in Daytona Beach, several staff members were recognized for going above and beyond in their efforts at the nonprofit. “The Extra Mile Awards” were distributed by Board Treasurer Melissa Burt DeVriese to a room full of Easterseals board members, volunteers and staffers.
“At Easterseals, we recognize that our staff is extraordinarily involved in our overall success towards our mission. They do the meaningful, hands-on work at Easterseals, and are the driving force behind our purpose,” said Burt DeVriese. “They are our link to clients, giving us insight into the real impact we have in stories and in numbers.”
“They are the ‘heart and soul’ of Easterseals,” she added.
Burt DeVriese individually recognized the 2018 recipients of The Extra Mile Awards; her remarks are below. Easterseals thanks and honors these recipients for a job well done!
The Extra Mile Award Recipients
Tracey McLaughlin – Daytona, Executive Assistant
Tracey is always willing to take on additional assignments, tasks and responsibilities. She is an incredible researcher, diving into every question or problem and seeking answers before ever asked to do so. Tracey happily accepted the responsibility for HIPPA Compliance across the organization this past year and is staying one step ahead of the game, ensuring we are safe and secure around every corner.
Chele Wallens – Daytona, Accounting Manager
Chele has been with Easterseals for 11 years. She is very knowledgeable about the organization and is a resource for everyone. A great deal of change has occurred in the last year and Chele as embraced it; she continues to help make our organization more efficient.
Cat Hammons – Daytona, HR and Accounting Coordinator
When the HR and Accounting Coordinator role was suddenly vacated, Cat jumped into it with no experience. She was not afraid to dive in and figure things out in the human resources office. Cat is always pleasant and has a great, willing attitude. She is great with following up on tasks and has been very reliable.
Lourdes Rodriguez – Daytona, Charter Teacher
Lourdes is the first to step up and serve as a mentor to new teachers and staff in the Charter School. She embodies the definition of “team player.” She goes above and beyond to ensure the children have materials they need to learn successfully (she’s the master of garage sales, too!) and works with the families to ease any concerns about their children transitioning to kindergarten, or as they call it, “big school.”
Jaslyn Clemmons – Daytona, CDC Teacher
Jaslyn is a committed and caring member of the Child Development Center staff. She doesn’t leave the building until she knows everything, and everyone, are “okay.” She constantly seeks ways to improve her craft as a teacher, and when you walk into her classroom you never want to leave. Jaslyn moved from the one-year old classroom to the two-year-old classroom this year and our parents couldn’t be happier. They didn’t want to lose their “Ms. Jas!” and we couldn’t agree more.
Lori Ebanks– Deland, Site Administrator
Lori has been the backbone of the Easterseals DeLand campus. During the center’s transition and opening of the Charter School, Lori wore many hats to keep things running smoothly. She always asks, “What do you need?,” and provides an answer, delivering more than expected. Lori is a key member of our ECE team.
Brenna Giblock – Deland, Early Steps Supervisor
Brenna is hard working and very attentive to details. She has stepped up in Early Steps and has taken on more responsibilities to include not only supervising her DeLand staff, but she also becoming more involved in other aspects of the program to include file reviews and auditing. Further, she represents Easterseals occasionally on the west side for check presentations and outreach. She has been a tremendous asset to the program.
Lynn Carew – Daytona, Medical Records
Not many people see Lynn as she is often in our medical records room organizing and caring for our clients’ charts, but Lynn always has a smile on her face. Lynn took on a huge project this past year and did so willingly – she is extremely organized and keeps us moving in terms of all our health information.
Awilda Koolhaas – Leesburg, Early Steps
No matter what Awilda has going on, she has a smile on her face. It is quite apparent that Awilda loves her job and helping the families she works with through Early Steps. Awilda can be found at many of our community events spreading information, education and her beautiful smile.