Easter Seals kids have lifelong physical disabilities. They often require different types of support than their peers to participate, find their place in the world, and achieve their dreams. Although the kids we serve may face additional challenges, we believe in the breakthrough potential of all individuals with physical disabilities. Your support of Easter Seals will help fund the programs and services that will remove limitations so they can reach new heights.
The costs of caring for a child with a physical disability can add up to over $40,000 per year. This can include mobility and accessibility equipment, home renovations, adaptive equipment and devices, special schooling, special transportation and adapted vehicles, time away from work for medical appointments and surgeries, plus the cost of caregivers, to name a few.
Easter Seals donors helped Hunter’s parents purchase an $11,000 porch lift so he can get outside in his wheelchair safely each morning. His mom shared that “Without the funding, we would not have been able to afford it on our own and would have had to continue carrying both him and the wheelchair up and down the stairs. It was a real safety concern, and we are so grateful to know that our son is safe when he needs to get to and from the bus to school.”
When it comes to mobility and accessibility equipment, government assistance often only covers up to 75% of the cost and some items (like toileting and bathing equipment) are not covered at all. Parents are left to piece together the remaining costs, which can be thousands of dollars per equipment item per year.
Through our equipment funding program, we offer families up to $3,000 per year to help cover all or part of the cost of equipment for their child. In 2020, Easter Seals donors helped 611 children get the equipment they need to develop greater independence and reach their potential.
In a world not quite built to include everyone, it can be difficult for kids with physical disabilities to take part in the same activities as their peers. Through donor support, we have been able to build two-fully accessible summer camp facilities that allow kids to experience acceptance and belonging while participating and learning life skills in an environment designed for their strengths and abilities.
“For one whole week, many of our daily challenges faded away as activities were completely accessible to ALL, and no one was left out because they had a disability. Seeing the way the children were included in absolutely every aspect of camp life brought tears to our eyes and taught us how we may be able to make our lives more accessible for Kalea. “
– Andy, Kalea’s dad and Easter Seals Family Camper
Since 1937, we have been leaders in providing inclusive, accessible recreational and camp programming. Over the years, Easter Seals camps have provided overnight summer experiences for an estimated 45,500 children, youth and young adults with physical disabilities from across Ontario.
In addition, over 174,000 parents, siblings and extended family members of children with physical disabilities have also benefited from the break in normal routine that Easter Seals camps provide through our family camp sessions.
Families of children with physical disabilities incur a lot of expenses over their lifetime. It can make it difficult for them to send their child to post-secondary school. Through our scholarship program, we provide funding to assist youth with physical disabilities in achieving their dreams of post-secondary education. Through the generous support of our donors, $15,750 was awarded in post-secondary scholarships in 2021.
“If not for the generosity of Easter Seals donors, I would not be in university right now, following my dreams. If a student cannot afford the cost of education, they cannot get past the front door… There are many disabled students like me that have goals and have the motivation to attain them, but who need the financial help in order to do it.”
– Logan, 2021 Scholarship Recipient
In addition, we are making a direct impact in communities across the province. Our staff have a wealth of knowledge in special education and lead a team of volunteers who participate on Special Education Advisory Committees (SEAC) on school boards across the province to represent the needs of kids with physical disabilities.
We also run Easter Seals Kids at School, an informational blog with over 100 posts offering parents tips on helping their child to succeed in school.
Advocacy and Leadership
Easter Seals champions issues facing children with disabilities through public education and awareness initiatives, participating in government consultations and on provincial advisory committees, as well as presenting at conferences.
“Being a part of Easter Seals is like being in one big family. If it weren’t for Easter Seals, I would not be who I am today. They helped me feel comfortable with who I am and gave me the courage to get out in the world and feel good about myself.”
– Morgan, three-time Regional Ambassador
Furthermore, we believe all kids with physical disabilities deserve to be heard. For 75 years, Easter Seals has been helping children and youth develop leadership and public speaking skills so they can learn to advocate on behalf of themselves, and all Easter Seals kids. province to represent the needs of kids with physical disabilities.
Each year two Ambassadors represent the organization at the provincial level, with about 90 regional Ambassadors across the province.
Sources of Revenue
Easter Seals was built with grassroots support from communities across Ontario. We continue to rely fully on the generosity of public donations to offer our programs and services. The organization is not a member of the United Way, and receives negligible government funding.