Easterseals Northeast Central Florida’s inaugural IMPACT Team – the Spring 2019 class – recently was recognized at Easterseals’ annual meeting in Daytona Beach.
IMPACT Team was formed as a result of strategic planning at Easterseals and is a method for enhancing employee engagement. The purpose of IMPACT Team is to create opportunities for employees to affect the future progress of Easterseals and to empower them to be leaders who bring their strengths and ideas into their leadership roles.
To President/CEO Bev Johnson, the group as a catalyst for making positive changes throughout the organization as well. She empowered team leaders Susan Moor, Brenna Giblock, Debbie Neller, Michelle Bucalos and Teresa White to design the program around Easterseals’ strategic planning goals that related to employee engagement and visibility.
Future IMPACT Teams will commence twice annually and will consist of several required components: five sessions, team projects and participation in an Easterseals fundraiser.
This year’s IMPACT Team had many goals for their involvement, including encouraging positivity and growth for employees, gaining greater insight into programs, serving families better, and using the new skills on and off the job. The team is comprised of members who have been endorsed by their supervisors and directors to participate, who also are excited about the opportunity for their employees. They are:
Congratulations to the Spring 2019 IMPACT Team participants! We are proud of this first “graduating class.”
by Dorothy Lefford,OTR/L, VP Clinical Services, Easterseals Northeast Central Florida
It’s back to school time again (post Hurricane Dorian), and getting back into routines can be quite a challenge for children...and parents!
Tackling the return to school alone can be a monumental task, so Easterseals Northeast Central Florida is here to offer some help with that other monster: homework!
Try these tips:
• Identify homework/study zones
• Establish regular study time in the daily routine
• Keep distractions to a minimum
• Help children make a plan or organize their assignments while supporting them in accomplishing their own work.
A change in the day-to-day operations is a struggle for all of us, but presents an extra challenge to children with autism or other diagnoses that thrive off routine and knowing expectations.
Here are some additional tips to help everyone be successful:
• Make a "to-do" list. This helps keep homework sessions predictable.
• Consider the child's sensory needs and strengths. How can you set up the environment for success? Accessible movement breaks? Adapted utensils? Open space vs. more defined space?
• Consider reward charts. Always praise and reward your child for taking initiative and completing daily work.
• Break up the assignments into smaller segments. This also gives you more opportunity to praise your child, offer a needed movement break or a chance to gain a reward to reinforce the completion of a task .
Ask your teachers and or therapists about resources they can provide to you or direct you to for use at home particularly those which might carryover successes had at school. Always work closely with the classroom teachers; you have valuable insight into your child’s learning and they can learn from you too!
Lastly, enlist siblings, friends and relatives to serve as mentors and tutors as needed. This helps generalize skills and encourages socialization, as well as gives mom and dad an occasional break.
It takes a village to raise a child. Keep building your village!
The leaders of Easterseals Northeast Central Florida readily recognize that its staff is extraordinarily involved in Easterseals overall success and adherence to its mission. These dedicated professionals do the meaningful, hands-on work at Easterseals and are the driving force behind Easterseals’ purpose. They are the link to clients as well, giving insight into the real impact Easterseals has in stories and in numbers.
Recently, Easterseals honored outstanding staff members at its annual meeting. In addition to recognizing longtime employees, Easterseals’ Chair-Elect Steve Sevigny honored select team members with “Extra Mile Awards.” The honorees were nominated by the Easterseals leadership team for being living examples of the values Easterseals represents. Below are this year's honorees:
Terri Borzner (Early Steps) – Terri was recognized for the many hours she has dedicated to Early Steps billing to bring all the records up to date.
John Borzner (Admin/Maintenance) – John was honored for handling the DeLand facility updates, all the room changes in Daytona CDC and keeping the building(s) functioning while staying completely calm and good-natured about it!
Debbie McLaughlin (Accounting) – Debbie was recognized for jumping in whenever she is needed and helping get Early Steps billing up to date too.
Deanna McGrath (School Therapy) – Deanna was honored for embracing the school therapy coordinator position and bringing it to new heights.
Susan Tyler (School Therapy) – Susan was recognized for jumping in whenever needed and for helping with all the staffing changes in Speech Therapy.
Kasey Grebosz (School Therapy) – Kasey was honored for managing an incredible caseload in school therapy and staying positive throughout!
Debbie Raiman (School Therapy) – Debbie was recognized for managing an incredible caseload in school therapy and staying positive throughout as well!
Debbie Neller, Shari MacFarlane, Davine Vincent (Autism Center of Excellence) – These three ladies – our 'power Autism Center of Excellence team' – were honored for working many evenings and Saturdays in support of ACE outreach and its clinic operations.
Ammy Schleifman (Daytona Early Steps) – Ammy was recognized for going above and beyond with interpreting services (covering three counties) while maintaining a large caseload of clients.
Crystal Smithers (DeLand Early Steps) – Crystal was honored for her connection and commitment to the families served by Easterseals Northeast Central Florida.
Diane Barber (Leesburg Early Steps) – Diane was honored for her outstanding work as Service Coordinator lead, through which she managed two locations. During the process, she maintained an above average caseload in a challenging service area.
Erica Garris (Daytona CDC/Project WARM) – Easterseals recognized Erica for bringing creativity and passion to the Child Development Center and for managing a large amount of staffing transitions at Project WARM.
Angela Crooks (Project WARM) – Easterseals honored Angela for assisting in every way possible to help with a variety of transitions at Project WARM.
To all these outstanding employees all our team members, we thank you for you continued dedication to serving Easterseals families. You are the reason we can take on disability together and change lives.
Len Marinaccio, owner of Bomar Construction, was honored with the 2019 Lily Award by Easterseals Northeast Central Florida recently at the Easterseals’ Annual Meeting in Daytona Beach.
Each year, an honoree is chosen for the Lily Award based on his or her dedication to Easterseals’ mission to providing exceptional services to ensure that all people with disabilities and their families have equal opportunities to live, learn, work and play in their communities.
From the moment Len learned more about Easterseals when his firm won the bid to lead the renovation of Easterseals' main building in 2001, he’s been a mentor, advisor and friend to the organization. To date, he’s has given more than 18 years of dedicated service to Easterseals and has been active at all levels within the organization.
His committee work has included Finance, Special Events, Governance and Executive. Further, Len has served as chairperson for many committees, including Finance and Endowment, Audit, Facilities, Program and Governance. And, he was Easterseals’ Board Chair between 2010 and 2012.
Len's leadership and dedication even took him to Chicago as he embraced a leading role for Easterseals as the organization proposed changes to the House of Delegates. In person and in countless teleconferences, Len ensured Easterseals Northeast Central Florida’s voice was heard in a professional and intentional manner during the process.
Further, Len and Bomar Construction are charter and annual sponsors of Easterseals’ Walk With Me event and client holiday party, thus demonstrating their dedication to Easterseals’ financial success as well.
Len’s consistent efforts in mentoring, advising and consulting the Easterseals leadership team makes him most worthy of the 2019 Lily Award. Congratulations, Len! We appreciate you!
Ready to challenge yourself with a new language? Easterseals Northeast Central Florida's American Sign Language classes return this September. The nine-week programs will be held in DeLand and Port Orange, Florida, beginning Monday, Sept. 23.
Classes begin Monday, Sept. 23, at YMCA DeLand (761 E. International Speedway, DeLand), and 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25, at YMCA Port Orange (4701 City Center Parkway). All classes are 1.5 hours in length.
Need a few good reasons to enroll in sign-language courses? We have some! For instance...
1. Sign language is more common than you think. 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. Sign language is a helpful tool for communicating with varied audiences. ASL-trained residents who work in service to the public may be able to better serve hearing-impaired individuals.
3. Sign language improved personal communication skills. 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 convenient and inexpensive! $50 covers each nine-week session.
Register now; space is limited! Register online here or call Shae, ASL instructor, at email@example.com.
It’s been two years since Daytona Beach native Patricia Potts joined the Easterseals Northeast Central Florida family as a volunteer, and she continues to be a proud part of the organization.
Patricia is a virtual “Jill of All Trades” in her weekly volunteer role in the Easterseals Autism Center of Excellence, handling everything from filing therapy notes to updating medical records. She assists staff with making copies, keeps tabs on important office supplies and equipment and organizes information packets about Easterseals, among many other tasks.
Patricia’s love of Easterseals and organizations that assist children with disabilities blossomed at an early age. Her heart was forever changed by early interactions with them, so when it came time for her to seek volunteer work, she returned to support their missions.
“When I was a little girl growing up in Daytona Beach, my grandmother worked at a school for children with physical and mental disabilities,” said Patricia. “My school was next door, so I walked over after school and waited for my grandmother to get off work before we walked home together.
“During that time, I attended many field trips with grandma and the school’s teachers and children,” she continued. “I made friends with the students; we walked and talked and played games together. I was curious about them. I think that even as a child I knew I was seeing children who many other children never even knew about. It always has left a special place in my heart.”
Patricia is particularly impressed by the role Easterseals plays in supporting families of children with autism.
“I believe Easterseals’ work with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is especially important in our community,” she said. “Under Dorothy (Lefford)’s direction, the therapists and everyone involved have so many resources to assist children with autism.”
One of her favorite events at Easterseals Northeast Central Florida is World Autism Day.
“World Autism Day at Easterseals the most awesome thing I’ve ever seen,” remarked Patricia. “Educated people from all over come to this event and offer their time and expertise to help parents, grandparents, guardians, family members and friends who are affected by autism. I encourage everyone to take part!”
Patricia said supporting the staff is her goal in volunteering at Easterseals.
“I want to help them have a good day at work,” she said, “and take a little stress off their day.”
Each year, Easterseals Northeast Central Florida serves more than 500 children who have been diagnosed with ASD. The nonprofit agency also operates the Autism Center of Excellence – a one-stop center for diagnosis, interventions and case management for children who were referred by their physician for evaluation of ASD. To learn more about Easterseals’ autism services, visit http://www.easterseals.com/necfl/our-programs/. For questions about the free autism screenings, please call 386-944-7815 or email Davine Vincent at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meet Margaret Smith, Easterseals Charter School Principal. Margaret oversees the Charter School programming at Easterseals Northeast Central Florida locations in Daytona Beach and DeLand.
For Margaret, building trusting relationships with Easterseals families through leading the Charter Schools is Job Number One.
“My goal is ongoing collaboration to assist families,” she said. “I want to be known as being an effective leader that always puts the needs of our children first.”
As a leader within the Easterseals family, Margaret strives to be known by others as visible, available, approachable and collaborative.
“One advantage to working in a team-focused environment is that I am always being surrounded by team members who want the best for our students,” she said. “The collaboration and motivation to do what is best for our children is at the forefront of all our decisions."
“Having a ‘Kids First’ philosophy means that we work with children and families to meet each child’s individual needs,” she added. “We collaborate with families to provide tools needed to shape the future of our early learners.”
Margaret said she’s grown personally and professionally watching Easterseals teachers learn new strategies and apply them to the students.
“Collaborating, watching the learning process of others and delving into the next steps are wonderful ways of ensuring the natural process of learning and problem solving,” she said.
When people think of Easterseals, Margaret wants them to think about positive relationships, entrusting the Easterseals team to promote the highest level of learning and development for our students.
Get a glimpse into the magic of Easterseals Charter Schools and learn more about this outstanding Easterseals’ program by visiting us online.
If you plan to attend the Nov. 1-2 Over the Edge at ONE DAYTONA fundraiser for Easterseals and NASCAR Foundation, be sure to cheer for Matt Birnie as he stands atop the 8-story International Motorsports Center and prepares to rappel. He’s not fond of heights, but he loves Easterseals, and that’s why he’s being brave for courageous kids again this fall.
The 38-year-old account executive at Brown & Brown has been connected to Easterseals for more than 30 years – ever since his brother began receiving services as an infant. Matt’s brother signed up to go Over the Edge in November and Matt will be joining him again in a show of support.
Last year, when Matt was approached by Easterseals Northeast Central Florida’s VP-Planned Giving Susan Moor about rappelling in support of Easterseals for the first time, he had an instant and strong reaction.
“I asked Susan if she was crazy,” he recalled. “Heights are not my favorite thing.”
As a veteran “Edger,” Matt’s hoping to continue to motivate others to keep conquering and overcoming their fears.
“Considering all the challenges children who are helped by Easterseals face, (rappelling) is a minor challenge for me,” he said. “When I’m up there, I just keep saying to myself, ‘Don’t look down. Don’t look down.'
“I’ve seen what Easterseals has done to change our family in time of need, and I’ve seen how it’s helped my brother become who is today,” said Matt. “I feel very passionate about supporting it.
“Over the Edge at ONE DAYTONA is a fun event that really makes a difference,” he added. “I know firsthand how Easterseals serves the community; Easterseals is an organization that does things for families in need and can help kids live out their dreams. Why not do it?”
We want YOU to consider being an Edger with Matt this November! Raise funds for Easterseals and NASCAR Foundation while having a blast being brave for courageous kids. To learn more about Over the Edge at ONE DAYTONA, to sponsor a rappeler, sponsor the event or sign up for a spot on the ropes, visit www.daytonaovertheedge.org.
Everyday heroes, thrill seekers and community leaders are invited to BE BRAVE FOUR COURAGEOUS KIDS during the third annual “Over The Edge At ONE DAYTONA” (OTE) event on November 1-2, 2019.
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!
About The NASCAR Foundation
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing Inc. (NASCAR) established The NASCAR Foundation in January 2006 to support initiatives that positively affect the lives of children throughout the United States. The 501(c) (3) non-profit entity partners with medical experts and other charitable organizations to fund children’s health care programs. The NASCAR Foundation has cumulatively donated $32 million to reach more than one million children.
About Easterseals of Northeast Central Florida
Easterseals has been helping individuals with disabilities and special needs, and their families, live better lives for nearly 90 years, and serves more than 17,500 individuals and families with a range of disabilities to achieve their full potential. With facilities in Daytona Beach, DeLand, Bunnell, and Leesburg, Easterseals’ purpose is to the way the world defines and views disability...whether physical, intellectual, emotional or social, by making profound, positive differences in people's lives...everyday.
Easterseals Northeast Central Florida is offering free autism spectrum disorder (ASD) screenings for children ages 18 months to 17 years at its Daytona Beach location, 1219 Dunn Ave.
Walk-ins are welcome weekdays from 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Parents and guardians should allow 20-30 minutes for the screening once the appointment begins.
More than 2 million Americans live with ASD, a neurological developmental disorder that impairs the ability to communicate and interact. With love and community support, they can live independent and productive lives.
Each year, Easterseals Northeast Central Florida serves more than 500 children who have been diagnosed with ASD. The nonprofit agency also operates the Autism Center of Excellence – a one-stop center for diagnosis, interventions and case management for children who were referred by their physician for evaluation of ASD.
To learn more about Easterseals’ autism services, visit http://www.easterseals.com/necfl/our-programs/. For questions about the free autism screenings, please call 386-944-7815 or email Davine Vincent at email@example.com.