You’ve probably seen the seen the small stamp-like decals of a beautiful lily on a card or letter at Easter time. Maybe you’ve displayed them yourself, or heard the name “Easter seal” without really knowing exactly what they are all about. The fact is, The National Easter Seal Society is a long-standing and amazing advocacy organization whose history of trailblazing for good can inspire us all.
Easter Seals Disability Services lives up to their motto of “Help, hope, and answers” by tirelessly serving the staggering population of 1 in 5 Americans with disabilities through a number of compassionate and cost-free programs designed to improve the all aspects of the lives of the disabled.
Their mission statement: Easter Seals provides exceptional services, education, outreach, and advocacy so that people living with autism and other disabilities can live, learn, work and play in our communities.
The organization was founded by just one man, Edgar Allen, whose son was gravely injured in a street car accident in 1907. Allen, who was horrified by the lack of care and services for children who were disabled, sold his personal business to found the first ever crippled children’s hospital and later The National Society for Crippled Children in 1919. This society went on to develop the fundraising campaign of selling the Easter Seal decals we know today (so named because the services they funded brought new life to the disabled, an homage to the resurrection of Christ at Easter).
Today Easter Seals offers Americans with disabities more than 400 different serivces, ranging from cost-free access to asisstive medical equipment (such as walkers, wheelchairs and a wide variety of accessibility devices) to job training to autism education and advocacy.
The National Easter Seal Society also continues to be an agressive advocate for the rights of disabled adults and children. The society was instrumental in lobbying for the passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and has a powerful Legislative Action Network devoted to fighting for the congressional funding and protection of services to the disabled community.
Photo credit: Camp ASCCA via flickr