Notes from the President:
Mother’s Day is May 13. As a community-based organization dedicated to fulfilling our mission of making profound, positive differences in the daily lives of people of all ages with disabilities, special needs, military backgrounds, and their families, Easter Seals is pleased to celebrate this special day and support Moms and their families all year around.
We also recognize that it’s important for mothers to get a break to care for themselves sometimes. That’s why Easter Seals Serving DC MD VA has a respite program for families of children with disabilities or special needs, and their siblings, including military and Wounded Warrior families. Respite days prevent burnout and keep families whole.
Cheryl Niles is a military spouse with two daughters, one of whom has significant health problems and requires constant care. She learned about Easter Seals respite care from a resource on base and she said it was a defining moment for her. She worked with Easter Seals to set up regular in-home respite care for her daughter Madeline every week. “You can’t just have a babysitter when you have a child with so many needs,” says Cheryl. “But because of Easter Seals, I can truly take comfort in knowing that we have someone who is qualified to take care of our daughter.”
In addition, Cheryl’s girls enjoy community-based respite events monthly at our Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Inter-Generational Center. Children are paired one-on-one with volunteers through a careful matching process, then spend a fun day doing age-appropriate activities. Then their mothers – and other caregivers – can take a break from caregiving while knowing their children are having a wonderful time.
The events provide one-on-one interaction between children and trained volunteers and have included magicians, face painters, clowns, petting zoos and other engaging, hands-on activities.
Another mom, Megan Jaster, has four children with different special needs and a spouse who deploys regularly. In addition to in-home respite, her kids come to the monthly events to have fun. “At Easter Seals, my kids can just be kids, with other children with special needs and without,” Megan says.
If you’d like to volunteer in the respite program or need respite support, please contact Brooke Kaiser at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So, happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there and especially to mothers of children with disabilities and military children.