Year in Review, Fiscal Year 2019 – 2020
Celebrating Over 75 Years of Service
Easterseals provides exceptional services, education, outreach, and advocacy to empower people with disabilities to live, learn, work and play in our communities. Easterseals Arkansas has been helping individuals with disabilities and special needs, and their families, live better lives for more than 75 years. From child development centers to physical rehabilitation and job training for people with disabilities, Easterseals offers a variety of services to help people with disabilities address life’s challenges and achieve personal goals.
Inspiring a Life of Independence
“We all have needs. Even though we may be different, we have desires and want the ability to go out and do things just like anyone else. We are human beings, too. Give us a shot at life.”
-Michael, 2020 Community Living Representative
Easterseals Arkansas operates four apartment complexes in Little Rock for people with disabilities. Our affordable housing inspires a life of independence that is also accessible and safe for our residents. Plus, the social activities and community outings allow our residents to enjoy a life of independence to the fullest.
Living the College Life
“Working at the preschool makes me feel happy!” -Claire, Recent ACCE Graduate and Preschool Aide at the Little Rock Developmental Preschool
The Academics, Community, Career Development and Employment Program (ACCE) is an opportunity for students to have a college experience while also preparing for competitive employment. Academics, social support, work exploration, and job placement are all components of this two year program on the University of Arkansas at Little Rock campus.
Responding to COVID-19
In the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic and shutdown, Easterseals Arkansas CEO Ron Ekstrand delivered a message of the current state of Easterseals and its future. While Ron shared that we temporarily closed a number of programs and furloughed over 90 staff members, Easterseals Arkansas was able to safely reopen all of its programs, recalled all of the furloughed staff, and secured CARES Act funding from the State of Arkansas to address its short term financial challenges during the pandemic.
A New Way of Learning: Teletherapy
For a child or adult with a developmental disability, routines are important to their growth and development. Due to COVID-19, we had to shut down some of our therapy programs but found ways to continue offering the services needed for our clients through teletherapy and virtual learning.
Continuing to Grow
“When we came to the Academy at Riverdale, we loved it! It was a school full of kids just like Cal and I knew it was going to be a great place for him. We chose the Academy because it’s a small setting, it’s safe, it was one-on-one attention, and the director makes sure that every kid has exactly what they need. It’s a fun, family place.”
-Lain Wilkison, Mother of Academy Student
The Academy at Riverdale is an accredited private school and outpatient therapy clinic that offers services to students with developmental disabilities in the central Arkansas area with a mission to provide exceptional services to ensure that all people with disabilities or special needs have equal opportunities to live, learn, work, and play in their communities.
This unprecedented pandemic hit Arkansas the night of our annual Fashion Event gala, which was scheduled on March 12, 2020. Even though the in-person event had to be canceled, we were still able to host a virtual live streaming event to help raise funds for all of the programs and services offered by Easterseals Arkansas. The event was a great success and was just the start to a year of virtual fundraising events, including the Arkansan of the Year Event honoring Entergy CEO Laura Landreaux, and our Art and Soul Event honoring our featured A.R.T. artist, Colton. Not only were we able to open up these events to anyone, anywhere, creating more awareness, but we were also able to raise money to support our many programs.