Dear Donors, Friends, Families and Supporters of Easter Seals
As the global health community and the world come together to face the COVID-19 pandemic, I wanted to reach out and let each of our supporters know how Easter Seals is responding to these challenging times. Amidst the rapidly changing situation with coronavirus, every decision we make is being guided by our long-standing commitment to putting the health and well-being of the children and families we support, and our broader community, as our top priority.
First and foremost, our hearts go out to anyone who has been impacted by the virus, either directly or indirectly. Our thoughts are especially with those who are sick, to whom we extend our heartfelt wishes for a full recovery. And, we are truly inspired by the selfless healthcare workers in Ontario and around the world who are on the front lines working tirelessly to care for people in need.
A public health crisis like the coronavirus can cause uncertainty and stress for people of all ages. For Easter Seals children, who are already at great risk of anxiety, depression, and negative health outcomes, the coronavirus can exacerbate the challenges they already face. With no caregiver assistance, social distancing and isolation measures necessary to stop the virus can also increase their feelings of loneliness and need for support.
Easter Seals has been helping children with physical disabilities for the past 98 years. Now, in these desperate times of COVID-19, we need YOU more than ever! Together, we need to continue to do all we can to meet the needs of our families and children from a safe distance.
Easter Seals continues to support and advocate on behalf of our families. Most recently, Easter Seals endorsed a letter from ARCH-Disability Law to the Ontario Government regarding human rights issues with specific medical protocols developed in response to COVID-19 for marginalized communities including people with disabilities. We also met virtually with senior officials from the Ministry of Education to outline special education needs and issues both during the pandemic and in a normal learning environment.
To support parents to stay informed, we continue to add information and links to the parent resources page on our Services website. In addition, we recently added a Caregiver Support page with a variety of resource links for parents and caregivers.
We are excited to be offering a virtual camp experience to campers this summer, where campers can take part in activities that will be offered each day. We will also be offering a Leaders in Training (LIT) Program that will provide campers with the necessary skills to be an effective leader in their community. Camp staff will be reaching out to campers with more information in the coming weeks.
Our annual scholarship application process is open, and we have extended the deadline to May 19 to assist applicants who may need extra time in obtaining letters of reference and transcripts.
Families who have reached out to us are experiencing uncertainty or anxiety for themselves and their children. Many are worried and stressed about their being children isolated without the essential mobility and accessibility equipment they desperately need.
With many of our fundraising events postponed, although we won’t be gathering in person, every dollar we receive now is so important for the children who urgently require essential mobility equipment to stay safe in their homes.
If you are able to consider making a donation to Easter Seals, never has a contribution been needed so much or had the potential to make such a tremendous impact on the lives of the children we serve and their families.
To make a positive impact on children with physical disabilities who are currently in desperate need of assistance, you can make a financial donation online, support our #GivingTuesdayNow campaign or participate in our online #21TimesChallenge campaign.
Times like these remind us we are all connected like never before. And, we are called upon to be our best selves, with patience, understanding and compassion.
Thank you for being a part of Easter Seals, and above all, stay safe.
Kevin J. Collins
President and CEO