Oct 302013

October 30, 2013 was my last day as Board Chair for the Easter Seals of Southwestern Indiana.  These are the notes of my remarks from the Annual Meeting.

As we celebrate another successful year of serving our community, I draw your attention to a quote by anthropologist Margaret Mead.  She said:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Mead probably did not have the Rehab Center in mind when she spoke these words – yet as I look around today it is easy to see how they relate.

Knowing Kamree and Craig – our incredible Youth and Adult representatives this year – has changed me. Before our eyes, we’ve watched Kamree grow into a poised teenager. Craig has started college and is blowing out the grade curve with excellent grades.  Both have worked tirelessly for Easter Seals this year and opened their hearts to our community.  I want to personally thank them and their families for all they have done this year.

Our President’s Council– perhaps the largest such collection in the Easter Seals family – continues to advocate for the Rehab Center in many ways, including financially. These community leaders represent all walks of life and make a public statement that they too are thoughtful, committed citizens who want to change the world, starting at the Rehab Center.

Our President Ray Raisor just recognized 28 long-term employees.  Do you believe that this small group of thoughtful, committed people make a difference every day in the lives of those they serve?  I do.  I’ve seen their work in the faces and lives of those we serve, including a member of my family.

What are some examples of the small things that become big things?

Change is perhaps the only constant. This year was no exception as we witnessed miracles – large and small – among the more than five thousand children and adults we serve.

  • In our Medical Rehabilitation programs, clients gained the ability to walk without crutches, or move a hand for the first time.
  • At Milestones and in our Pre School program, we saw the positive interaction between children of all abilities, the “aha” moment on the playground when one child helps another, with the encouragement of a caring teacher.
  • Our DME department engineered ramps and designed and repaired power wheelchairs, offering mobility and freedom to many.
  • Our Community Living services and our Adult Day program continue to provide consequential experiences for individuals with profound issues.
  • Group Homes give 72 severely disabled people homes in our community, with special services for their unique medical needs.
  • We continue to join forces with Posey County Rehabilitation Services to provide meaningful work and programming for those in need in Posey County.

Not surprisingly, these groups consist of thoughtful, committed citizens who care about changing the world, even if only in their corner of it.

We are also fortunate to have an engaged and experienced management team, with Ray Raisor at the helm in his fourth decade of leadership. Funding questions from the State and the uncertainty of the Affordable Care Act made this a unique year for our management team.  Even during a tumultuous year, we successfully passed an accreditation survey by CARF, and cultivated long-term planning.

Under the thoughtful direction of our experienced Easter Seals Development Team and the continued support of WEHT-Local 7, the 2013 Telethon soared to record heights, beating last year’s million dollars tote.

Again, thoughtful, committed citizens changing the world.

As grand as that sounds, what  it all comes down to the person served, and how his life is changed and impacted.  I stand before you today because I’m paying a debt I can never fully repay.  My husband and I bought our son to Easter Seals on his second birthday, April 4, 1992. His future was uncertain at that time. Now he is a college graduate and in the work world.

Each of you is present with Easter Seals for your own reasons, but I know you share in my goal: that the Easter Seals Rehabilitation Center still is providing a life-changing service for those in need for generations.

Thank you for all that you do for children and adults with disabilities through the Easter Seals Rehabilitation Center.

To paraphrase Miss Mead:

“I have never doubted that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world for children and adults with disabilities in the Tri-State; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

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