#ChildrenMatter

“It is easier to build strong children than repair broken men.” – Frederick Douglas

From birth to adolescence children are vulnerable. They are in a time where the most critical pieces to who they are and who they will become are developing right before our eyes. Childhood is a time to learn and explore the endless possibilities. All children expect from the moment they arrive is that they will be cared for and looked after; that they will be guided and protected. They do not expect that factors outside of their control could dictate their future, and it shouldn’t. Unfortunately, we live in a time where medical, financial, developmental, linguistic, mental health and many other factors can cause barriers during this critical time. But we can change that.  Our future is shaped by the experiences and the development of these children. Whether that is a positive or negative outcome is our responsibility. It is up to us to ensure that all children have every resource they need and every opportunity to live, learn, work, and play in his or her community.

“Kasserian Ingera” is a phrase that the Masai tribe in Africa used to greet each other. Every day and every interaction began with “Kasserian Ingera” meaning “And how are the children.”  Whether they had children or not the members of the Masai tribe knew that the well-being of the children should be placed above all else and that caring for the well-being of the children meant the well-being of the whole tribe was positive. Once a warrior would ask “And how are the children” the traditional answer was “All the children are well.” This response meant that the conditions of the tribe were well. It meant that it was safe, that there was food and shelter, and that the most vulnerable members of the tribe had the optimal environment and opportunities to grow up healthy, strong, and with the knowledge they needed.

Together, we can all do our part to ensure the children in our community thrive. By advocating for their rights, keeping them safe, by providing access to quality and affordable education, and by ensuring nutritious meals and the access to critically needed care we can empower our children and strengthen our community.

The month of June we are putting a focus on the importance of the children. Why they are the focus of our efforts, how we each can help ensure their success, and spreading the knowledge that Children Matter. This month we would like you to join our #ChildrenMatter campaign by sharing and spreading our messages, by using #ChildrenMatter, by asking yourselves and each other “how are the children” and discussing ways we each share in answering “the children are well.”

Easterseals North Georgia helps to unlock the potential that lies within every child. Starting at birth and at every critical point throughout their childhood, ESNG is there creating solutions that change lives. We have a vision of a world where all children can realize their dreams. If you would like to join us in making a difference in the lives of young children, their families, and communities you can donate today and help continue to make essential programs and services possible.

Donate Now.

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2016: A Year in Review and A Look Forward

The theme of 2016 at ESNG was expansion. We expanded our programs, reach, events and accreditations. Let’s take a look back at what we did as we get ready for a fun and exciting 2017.for blog

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Last year, we piloted the innovative STEM in early education at our Brookvalley location. Thanks to funding from the Sibley Award and Frances Hollis Brain Foundation, we are expanding the program to our Guice, Mansell and Warsaw locations.

20151112_143926_resized Continue reading “2016: A Year in Review and A Look Forward”

#SuccessStartsHere: Volunteers

Every year, our corporate partners spend over 4,000 hours volunteering their time and talents to Easter Seals North Georgia. Volunteers read to and play with children, clean and sanitize classrooms or do something unique. One such group was from Turner Broadcasting.

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Employees across Turner Broadcasting System – which includes CNN, TNT, Cartoon Network, Turner Sports and many more – donated more than 2,000 books for infants to five-year-old children and their parents.

Team lead Colleen Sullivan met with ESNG several times to develop a plan for a new library in our Sylvan Hills location. Then, on Thursday, September 15, a team of 17 volunteers came to our child development center to do some hard work. For more than four hours, they built, painted and created the most beautiful library our kids have ever seen. Continue reading “#SuccessStartsHere: Volunteers”

Monthly wrap up – June & July

Don’t get mad at the messenger, but summer break is almost over! We did a lot in June and July and here’s a quick wrap up of our activities:

Awareness:

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We hope you are enjoying the lazy days of summer. When we say lazy, though, we hope you don’t forget the importance of safety during the season of pools, beaches, sun, trips, insects, and heat! Just to help you out so you can go back to enjoying the fun, we’ve put together some quick safety tips.

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They say that parenting is the hardest, yet most rewarding job. Dads play an equally important role in parenting as do mothers, but sometimes their importance gets overlooked. How do Dads make a difference? Here are just 5 of the many reasons why.

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Don’t forget that it’s very important to make sure your kids continue to learn even though they are not going to school in the next couple of months. Here’s a look back at our tips to help you and your kids prevent summer brain drain.

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At ESNG, we believe in inclusive learning. That includes summer camp. Meet Nicholas, who has spina bifida, who attends a fun and engaging summer camp – with just a few accommodations.

Around ESNG:

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This month two of our centers, Brookvalley and Mansell, joined Premier Academy, Madison County, and Warsaw in receiving the prestigious Quality Rating from the Department of Early Care and Learning: Bright From the Start. According to Bright From the Start, “Quality Rated is Georgia’s system to determine, improve, and communicate the quality of programs that provide child care.” We are thrilled to be recognized for our staff’s hard work to educate vulnerable children in Atlanta and northeast Georgia.

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Children at our Mansell location had an exciting visit from local emergency workers. Firefighters and paramedics came by and showed kids what they do to keep us safe. They also talked about what kids need to do to be safe in our communities.

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Our STEM consultant, Garry Harris, was recognized by President Clinton for his achievements in STEM and early education. ESNG is excited to partner with Mr. Harris and have his expertise as we prepare our children with the tools and knowledge they need to be successful in school and life.

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Office Depot Foundation generously donated 300 sackpacks filled with school supplies to us earlier this month. This donation ensures that our children will be ready to learn come August! Thank you, Office Depot.

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Even though it’s summer time, that doesn’t slow down our volunteer program. We had six groups of corporate volunteers from Frazier Deeter, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Kabbage, Cox Automotive, Salesforce, and UPS. These volunteers played with and read to our kids or painted and sanitized classrooms to get them ready for August!

Thank you to all these groups!
Here are photos from the events.

Monthly wrap up – April

Awareness: 

April is a month in which we shine a light on autism spectrum disorder. We learn the signs and symptoms in young children, learn about therapies that can help children play and communicate, and meet children who received therapies to help them start school healthy and ready to learn. One of those children is Jacob. Read his story here.

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In April, we also recognize the importance of volunteers. We spotlighted the work of one particular group, SIG, and the recycling project they helped implement at our Mansell center. Read that story here.

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Around ESNG: 

This month two of our centers, Warsaw and Madison County, joined Premier Academy in receiving the prestigious Quality Rating from the Department of Early Care and Learning: Bright From the Start. According to Bright From the Start, “Quality Rated is Georgia’s system to determine, improve, and communicate the quality of programs that provide child care.” We are thrilled to be recognized for our staff’s hard work to educate vulnerable children in Atlanta and northeast Georgia.

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Families at our Madison County center had a great time at the Home Depot’s Build with Dad. We love to incorporate fun ways to foster family time and to learn through doing. This is yet another great example of putting that into action.

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One of the groups that came out to volunteer at our centers in April was Comcast NBC Universal. On Saturday, April 23, a day that they dedicate to volunteering in our community, a large group came to our Warsaw center. They cleaned, sanitized, and decorated the center since the children were out for the weekend. They also built a much-needed shed! Thank you, Comcast NBC Universal, and all the volunteer groups that helped us this month.

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Thank you: 

Speaking of Thank You, we wanted to dedicate a special shout-out to this year’s sponsors for Topgolf. A huge woot to the following companies on behalf of the entire organization!

Comcast, CVS, Mitsubishi Electric, Century 21, US Foods, Jones and Kolb, PNC Bank, Creative Mischief, Fraternal Order of Police, Insperity, Cox Automotive and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

It’s not too late to sign up for the event. Check out topgolfevent.com for more information and to register.

 

Loving Mother Earth and Our Volunteers

“We were able to set up a recycling program inside the classrooms and play games about recycling with the children, it was fun for everyone!” SIG Volunteer Collin Shepard

Since this month we celebrate Earth Day and appreciate the work of our volunteers, we thought we’d spotlight a great recycling project one of our volunteer groups did at our Mansell location.

In April 2015, ESNG had the pleasure of hosting a volunteer group from Sustainable Investment Group (SIG) – a company’s whose mission is to “improve the built environment to inspire stewardship of the natural environment”. They quickly fell in love with Easter Seals’ mission, the child development center, and of course the children.

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For the past year, a group from SIG has come out to Mansell and played with and read to the children several times. Last October they wanted to do something different. They worked with ESNG’s Volunteer Coordinator Linda to implement a recycling program at the center. They didn’t want just to show up with recycling bins and talk to the teachers, though. They knew it was important to teach the children about recycling and the part they play in our environment.IMG_5376

They started the project off by reading about recycling to the children.

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Then, they did some great interactive activities with the children just to bring home how easy it is to recycle. “My favorite part about volunteering with Easter Seals is interacting with the kids through games and coloring,” said volunteer Lyndsay Webb.

Lastly, they put one recycling bin in each class, one large bin in the lobby, and set up a monthly pick up for us.

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It has been such a great project for both parties involved. Norma Center, director of development at ESNG, said of the event, “It was so great to use the talents of a volunteer group like SIG in one of our centers. I think the kids and teachers really enjoy what they learned today and will continue the project for years to come.”

SIG definitely felt the same one. One volunteer summed up the project perfectly. “Teaching about recycling at Easter Seals was one of my favorite volunteer projects. We love educating the community about sustainability, especially children!” said Charlie Cichetti.

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An extra gift for the project came in February when ESNG received the Green Apple Award from the US Green Building Council – Georgia. SIG nominated us for the award.

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Monthly wrap up – March

Awareness:

March 21st marked World Down Syndrome Day. Celebrated on the 21st day of the third month of the year, the date is symbolic of the third copy of the 21st chromosome that characterizes Down syndrome. At ESNG, we have had the pleasure to provide services to several children who have Down syndrome. Whether they attend our child development centers, receive support from Champions for Children, or receive therapies from our early intervention services. Oliver is a two-year-old boy who has in-home physical therapy to help him reach his milestones. Read his story here.

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March is a great month to highlight two integral parts of our early education and care program: social work and nutrition. Both are so important in creating healthy and happy children and families in our community.

Social work: earlier this month, we met one of our family support advocates, Ms. Kim Tillman. Read about what she does to help families reach self-sufficiency.

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Nutrition: we also learned a lot from one of our nutrition specialists, Teedra Jones. She works with the child development centers to ensure our kids receive healthy and delicious foods to eat every day. Read her tips to incorporate healthy eating habits at home, too.

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We made it to spring – a season in which we can finally enjoy the outdoors. To celebrate the beauty of inclusive sports, we spoke to a pioneer and an everyday athlete on this blog post.

Spring is also a season where we start traveling. Marjan Holbrook gave us some great tips on traveling with children with special needs on this blog post.

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Around ESNG:

“The more you read, the more you know” – Dr. Seuss

It’s not a coincidence that Dr. Seuss’s birthday shares the same month as Read Aloud Month. All of our 11 child development centers celebrated Dr. Seuss’s birthday with lots of fun reading time! At our Winder location, each classroom dressed up as a Dr. Seuss character and participated in a parade around the center. What a great way to bring books to life!IMG_20160304_111107

Brookvalley had an incredible STEM day on Tuesday, March 15. Children, parents, and teachers had a great time making edible cars. Each classroom, including the toddlers, made their version of a car using cookies, candy, fruits, and veggies. Everyone used trial and error to make the most beautiful and delicious looking cars. Here are some great photos from the day!

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On Friday, March 25, Sylvan Hills offered an excellent parenting class at its facility. Darryl Freeman with Fathers Incorporated talked with moms and dads about the importance of having a strong father figure in their children’s lives. There is plenty of research backing this notion. In fact, children who spend quality time with their fathers are 80% less likely to be incarcerated, 75% less likely to become unwed parents, and twice as likely to graduate from high school and enter college.

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Thank you:

Our Guice location received the 2016 Sibley Award to implement a STEM in early education initiative. Funding from the Harland Charitable Foundation and Pittulloch Foundation will improve the educational outcomes for 157 children, engage families in their children’s education, and increase teachers’ professional development. On March 30, ESNG received the award at Guice. Photos of the event can be found here.

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On March 12-13, Century Novus Realty held its first annual Reels for Seals fishing tournament in Lake Wedowee, Ala. The event raised $5,000 for Easter Seals North Georgia’s early education, early intervention, and support services. ESNG thanks Century 21 Novus Realty, sponsors, and participants for their support!

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PNC presented a gift of $6,000 to our Warsaw location. After volunteering at the North Fulton center, bank representatives saw our program in action. As an organization that supports early education programs, PNC’s financial contribution and employee engagement help us to improve the quality of people’s lives.

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At ESNG, we recognize and value the work of our volunteers. March was full of great groups of volunteers that visited many of our child development centers. These include VWR, Comcast YPL, Pinecrest, North Georgia College, Southwestern University, Trinity, Infinite Energy, and Salesforce. Click here for photos of the events.

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