Meredith Ligon, Site Supervisor, Easterseals Early Childhood Center, BunnellRead Now
My name is Meredith Ligon and I am the Site Supervisor for Easterseals Early Childhood Center, Bunnell, Florida. I have been at this location for a year first starting as a Lead Preschool Teacher. As a Site Supervisor I strive create a safe, loving, educational, and fun atmosphere. I train my staff and spend time in each classroom to ensure that the curriculum meets every child's needs.
I have worked in childcare for 17 years and I am willing to share my knowledge with the staff to make our center better. I work hand in hand with Project Warm to help the children have a comfortable transition to the facility, and give a sense of normalcy to them as they are reunited with their mothers. My staff and I also help guide the mothers. When the mothers are reunited with their little ones some feel unsure because their child has been with foster care or with close relatives, it our job to let them know they are not alone in this process and offering some tools that they might need. I know I’m making an Impact on my community, I form a bond with all the families and feel wonderful when they are successful in Project Warm. Seeing the smiles on their faces brings me joy and pride. Being part of the Easterseals team is rewarding with in itself. Christina Hopkins has taught me many of the ins and outs of the program and is so supportive and Beverly Johnson has been very encouraging.
My staff is like my family and we grow together to make this center beautiful. Being a strong team ultimately helps our families because the line of communication is away open. I am learning to take a leadership role I'm just not speaking on the behalf of myself anymore but the Easterseals name. I represent my staff, the Easterseals cooperation and they childcare center. As a Site Supervisor I am extremely involved in the dynamics of the classroom. My goal is to build an environment and to cater to each individual child's needs by giving my staff all the tools they need to be great.
I was diagnosed with dyslexia at age five and received help with speech at age three and I remember feeling lost. I learned differently and at times I was afraid to speak up, afraid to say I was struggling. With the support system I had with in the schools, and within my family I am in this great position to help give a child the strength to take on their challenges to embraces what make them different and love it, to not feel ashamed. I want them to be looked at as individuals, as a child sometime I was cast aside or belittle because it took me a little longer to understand a classroom activity. It is my goal to have no child ever endure the feeling of being lost, afraid and unable to ask for help. I want to be a role model for every child that struggles with a disability or parent that has a child that might have learning delays. I want them to know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. All teachers need to be mindful of this. Each child deals with their own outside difficulties and circumstances. It is our jobs to be empathic and to address it with kindness and patients.
When people think about Easterseals they think about an accepting place that caters to all children needs. I am so thankful to be a part of such a wonderful foundation and to play a role in each of our families’ lives.
“Breathe. Let go. And remind Yourself that this very moment is the ONLY ONE you know you have for sure.” Oprah Winfrey
"My name is Lauren Allen, I am the lead pediatric physical therapist at the Autism Center of Excellence, as well as a physical therapist in the Volusia County Schools. I am coming up on my 2nd anniversary here at Easterseals. My primary responsibilities are ACE evaluations, re-evaluations, treatments in the clinic and schools, and assisting in managing the physical therapy assistants. I enjoy working with the families here at Easterseals!
I like to help educate families, so they feel less overwhelmed and more empowered and involved in their children’s care plans. The advantage to working in a TEAM centered environment is that we can all utilize are areas of expertise to provide for the “whole” child. This allows me to share my 20 plus years of pediatric experience, my knowledge from my yoga training, my neurological background, and my handling skills with other clinicians and families.
I have grown in my professional career by learning more about autism and sensory integration. Most people do not understand that I do not just work on gross motor skills with children. I also look at fine motor, speech production, social skills, and overall development and wellness. I want to be known as someone who will always take the time to listen, problem solve, do research, or help with difficult treatments. I am currently challenged by the new growth of physical therapy clients at Easterseals- scheduling issues, space constraints, and creating a sensory friendly space. I believe we are at a critical period of growth here at Easterseals and look forward to seeing where this path leads."
Welcome to the IMPACT Team, Lauren!
Jennifer Scally joined Easterseals nine months ago as a new Family Resource Specialist. The Family Resource Specialist (FRS) is a resource for families served through local Early Steps and a community link to support family-centered efforts and activities within the local Early Steps. The FRS supports families served in Early Steps by expressing the views, perspectives, and needs conveyed by families. The FRS also solicits feedback from families receiving early intervention services to ensure diverse input regarding programs, policies and the delivery of Florida’s early intervention services.
Jennifer says what she enjoys most about her work is "the ability to connect with families and raise their spirits. That could mean I am just a listening ear or making recommendations for various community resources that can assist their family. I love helping families and finding them the resources they need. I enjoy learning how to put the monthly newsletter together and put pride into it being informational and enjoyable."
One of her joys at Easterseals is being in a team-focused environment. She says, "When you work in a team you get into different situations in your work culture that will get you to observe how the work is done. Teamwork simply makes you more open to different things and implies that you get new ideas and learn new things from other members of the team. I have grown personally becoming more outgoing and comfortable speaking in public as well as with strangers. Professionally, I have grown in a short period of time reaching personal goals as well as reaching leadership standards."
Jennifer is at ease in her role, but definitely reports that COVID has been her biggest challenge. She says, "I have grown personally becoming more outgoing and comfortable speaking in public as well as with strangers. Professionally, I have grown in a short period of time reaching personal goals as well as reaching leadership standards."
Welcome to the Easterseals team, Jennifer!
World Autism Day resource - Vocational Rehabilitation-Florida Department of EducationRead Now
Vocational Rehabilitation-Florida Department of Education
There are many resources and supports for persons with disabilities available through Vocational Rehabilitation - Florida Department of Education.
Amanda Muller, VR Consultant
World Autism Day resource - Florida Bureau of Braille and Talking Book Library ServicesRead Now
Florida Bureau of Braille and Talking Book Library Services
The Talking Books unique service is an American icon, one of which we should all be proud! Founded in 1931 by an Act of Congress promoted by Helen Keller, this year, 2021, it celebrates its ninetieth anniversary. Although it was originally conceived to serve people with vision loss or blindness, over its ninety years it has expanded eligibility to include anyone who has difficulty reading printed matter. This includes individuals who have certifiable learning conditions, such as organic dyslexia and autism, which prevent them from reading. The Talking Books service has made a huge difference in the lives of thousands of people, thanks to our tax dollars at work. It is an invaluable resource for the Florida community, and should be made available to everyone who needs it.
The Main Regional Library is located at 421 Platt St., Daytona Beach, FL 32114, on the Campus of the Florida Division of Blind Services; service is provided to the entire state of Florida with the collaboration of nine sub-regional Libraries located around the state. Office hours are 8:00 am – 5:00 pm Monday through Friday. Patrons may call in and leave voicemail or email 24/7. Service is provided year-round (including through the COVID-19 pandemic).
National website: http://www.loc.gov/nls
The completed application may be:
- Mailed to the Florida Braille and Talking Book Library, 421 Platt St., Daytona Beach, FL 32118
- Faxed to 386-239-6069
- Emailed as a scanned attachment (PDF) to email@example.com
(no electronic signatures, please)
Library staff will be happy to help with the application process if needed; call toll free: 800-226-6075.
Millie Sullivan, Administrative Assistant/ Front Desk Therapy, just celebrated her first full year with Easter Seals. Yes, she started working at our front desk just a week prior to the COVID-19 state-wide lock down. Millie's role includes directing incoming phone calls to appropriate programs and departments. processing incoming referrals. checking in clients for therapies, evaluations, and services. She also screens employees, clients and guests coming into the administrative side of the building. And, all with a warm and welcoming smile on her face that shines through her N-95 mask.
Millie has a natural calming vibe about her and enjoys seeing our clients each day! She says, "I enjoy watching the growth of the clients through our programs. The happiness of the guardians when the client does something new and sometimes unexpected. What I want to be known for in my role is my care for the clients. That they can feel at ease in my presence."
Her connection to our clients is personal, "I found Easterseals by accident when I was struggling to locate a child care program for my then 3 yr old who had behavior issues. I only called them because they were located on my street and walkable. He had difficulty communicating through speech and other centers didn’t care to put in the effort for him. Easterseals went above and beyond. They realized his frustrations were due to not feeling understood. He is now 5 years old in Kindergarten and is thriving. My husband and I said the other day that Easterseals unlocked his voice. He has more to say then we ever knew."
Millie loves her job at Easterseals and was recently nominated by her supervisor for participation in Easterseals IMPACT Team. She notes, "Easterseals has brought my life into a place where I appreciate the day to day. This includes my job, my family and my community. - something I had only dreamed about up to this point. Having two special needs children can be hard, but I have learned how to appreciate what they bring to my life in ways I never would have dreamed."
Thanks to the passage of the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act in 2014, better known as the ABLE Act, ABLE accounts became a reality across the country. ABLE United is Florida’s qualified ABLE program and allows individuals with disabilities, including autism, to save with the help of family and friends without impacting eligibility current or future s public benefits like Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid.
An ABLE United account is managed completely online at www.ableunited.com. With 43 ABLE programs available – some of which are national programs – we are proud to say that we offer the value best for Floridians.
ABLE United was developed by Floridians, for Floridians with no fees associated an opening in account. Opening an account is quick, easy and free – all you have to do is contribute a minimum of $25 to get started
An individual with a disability may only have one ABLE account at one time and there are three eligibility requirements for opening an ABLE United account:
“For the last five years, ABLE United’s mission has been to educate the disability community on the benefits of ABLE accounts,” says John Finch, ABLE United Director. “We are so grateful for our partners, like Easterseals Northeast Central Florida, who believe in our mission and afford us the opportunity to share how Florida’s disability community can become savers and investors for the very first time.”
Introducing Bobby Cyril, CBHCM - Autism Targeted Case Manager and SOAR (School's Out Afternoon Recreation) Program ManagerRead Now
Easterseals is proud to introduce Bobby Cyril, Targeted Case Manager with the Autism Center of Excellence and New Program Manager of Easterseals SOAR (School's Out Afternoon Recreation) teen program. SOAR is a program for teens with special needs, designed to encourage and support whatever level of independence they are capable of in important areas such as life skills, social skills, health and wellness and successfully preparing for the workplace.
Bobby is also a skilled new addition to our Autism Center of Excellence case management team. He has a very calming sense about him as we works with families, and says his biggest joy is "providing a sense of peace by providing resources to families to help them in any transition."
Bobby is also a 2021 class member of Easterseals leadership focused IMPACT Team, noting "I am a strong team player that possess strong leadership skills, critical thinking, and problem solving. Easterseals has given me the opportunity to grow: not only as a professional, but also as a person, by providing opportunities to enhance my professional skills and to work with a great team! I have increased my confidence in my leadership skills and my knowledge of the great services of this organization."
For information about the SOAR program, or the Autism Center, contact Bobby Cyril at 386-944-7815 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are happy to recognize select members of our Easterseals staff for their nomination for and participation in the 2021 Class of Easterseals IMPACT Team. 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.
The participants applied to the program through their supervisors, and participated in an all-day learning session to further their knowledge of Easterseals, our history, our programs, and our collective IMPACT in how we LIVE, LEARN, WORK, PLAY and ACT. Thanks to planning committee members Crystal Smithers, Brenna Giblock, Fran DeCinto and Susan Moor for organizing, and special thanks to each of our presenters!
Meet Brenna - Early Steps North Beaches program manager and rock star family and staff advocate!Read Now
Brenna K. Giblock, MSW Program Manager, Early Steps North Beaches, is responsible for assisting the Program Director with implementing the State Early Steps program locally, supervision of Early Steps program staff as well as meeting the needs and responsibilities of program staff, and maintenance of grant standards to meet the needs of Early Steps clients and their families. We congratulate her on her recent promotion!
Brenna is most proud of the way in which families are engaged and treated during their time with Easterseals, noting, "We offer support and compassion for families that may be receiving news about their child’s development that rocks the foundation of the dreams they held for their child. We are then there to guide them through the services and resources that puts many of those dreams back within reach."
Brenna says she enjoys most the opportunity of working in a team-focused environment, "It is nice to have a like-minded group to discuss and brain storm. It offers a chance to give and receive support. It allows for empowerment of members of the team. When you feel supported and heard and are surrounded by people to lift you up you are stronger and more confident for the families we serve."
Even after seven years, Brenna comments, "Everyday is a new learning experience. I have been and continue to be mentored which allows ongoing personal and professional growth. I have met and work with amazing people with a desire to make our community better. Spending time with people like that one cannot help but gain insight and strength to one’s own character. Early Steps has many moving parts that are set by the State office or beyond them at the Federal government level. We do not take those requirements lightly. What we may want to do cannot always be done based on policy and procedure in place for the program." However, she affirms that her philosophy for her leadership success lies in one simple concept -being approachable, listening - ensuring both families and staff feel heard.
When people think of Easterseals, Brenna hopes that what comes to mind for them is an organization that keeps our children and families we serve at the forefront of our decisions, that follows its mission and purpose for the community as a whole.
To learn more about Easterseals Early Steps North Beaches program, contact 386-873-0365.