Easter Seals, in partnership with the Comcast Foundation, today announced that Easter Seals programs in six locations nationwide will receive $25,000 each as the 2014-2015 recipients of the Comcast Assistive Technology Grant Fund.
Established in 2012, the fund empowers individuals living with disabilities by providing expanded assistive technology training and services. Individuals benefitting from these grants include children and adults living with developmental disabilities, like Autism Spectrum Disorder, as well as veterans.
To date, the fund has helped an estimated 25,000 Americans. This announcement comes as the country prepares to celebrate the 24th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act on July 26th.
These newest grant awards follow the announcement in 2013 of a national partnership between Easter Seals and Comcast and NBCUniversal. The media and technology company pledged $6.3 million in cash and in-kind to continue to help with Easter Seals’ assistive technology efforts.
"Assistive technologies can greatly improve the lives of people with disabilities by helping them to overcome barriers at home, work, school and in their community," said Charisse R. Lillie, Vice President of Community Investment at Comcast Corporation and President of the Comcast Foundation. "We are proud to continue our support of Easter Seals through these grants and make a positive impact, one person at a time."
The grant awards expand successful models of assistive technology throughout the country. Five Easter Seals affiliates, as well as Easter Seals Headquarters, were selected by Comcast through a competitive grant process. The chosen affiliates excel in programs that guide consumers on assessment, training and on-going support. Services are designed to meet an individual’s assistive technology needs throughout his or her lifespan.
"We thank the Comcast Foundation for their continued investment in assistive technology solutions for consumers with disabilities living in their communities," says James E. Williams, Jr., president and chief executive officer, Easter Seals. "This grant fund makes it possible for Easter Seals to build on our long history of providing expertise and technology support for children and adults with disabilities who want to be more actively involved in school, in the workplace and with their families."
The Easter Seals affiliates selected to receive the funds and their plans for the grants are:
Easter Seals Florida, with the assistance of Comcast, will purchase iPads and iPad listening centers for multiple classrooms throughout West Palm Beach, Naples and Ft. Myers. The use of iPads in the classrooms will enhance the educational experience of each child and ensure that all children are learning cognitive skills and gaining the ability to communicate their needs.
Easter Seals Massachusetts will expand the reach of their Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) expertise to more children and adults with disabilities. This grant will allow them to develop an AAC training model for Easter Seals speech therapists, provide training to an additional 200 individuals and increase the availability of their assistive technology device loan program.
Easter Seals Washington will advance the use of assistive technology at their various child development centers. The child development centers cater to children from birth to age five with developmental delays or disabilities. Development centers will have the resources needed to use iPads and the Bridging Apps Program to help their students catch up to their peers in reaching social and communication milestones.
Easter Seals Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern Shore will use this grant to heighten awareness and access for their assistive technology services provided by the Resource and Technology Demonstration Center. Established in 2009, the center houses hundreds of mobile, sensory and communication devices.
Easter Seals Arkansas will apply grant funds to their iPad Bootcamp. This training program for special educators and therapists focuses on the use of iPads as an assistive technology device for students with disabilities. Through this grant, the affiliate will be able to purchase an additional 20 iPad Air 64GB devices and applications to use during this statewide program.
Easter Seals Headquarters, Chicago, will utilize the grants to develop and test a pilot advanced technology program that gives affiliates the opportunity to collect data on Easter Seals Home and Community Based Services. A systematic and consistent data collection method will allow Easter Seals to deliver significant impacts in caring for and changing the lives of older adults and people with disabilities.
About Easter Seals
Easter Seals is the leading non-profit provider of services for individuals with autism, developmental disabilities, physical disabilities and other special needs. For more than 90 years, we have been offering help, hope, and answers to children and adults living with disabilities, and to the families who love them. Through therapy, training, education and support services, Easter Seals creates life-changing solutions so that people with disabilities can live, learn, work and play in their communities. For more information visit www.easterseals.com
About the Comcast Foundation
The Comcast Foundation was founded by Comcast Corporation in June 1999 to provide charitable support to qualified non-profit organizations. The Foundation primarily invests in programs intended to have a positive, sustainable impact on their communities. The Foundation has three community investment priorities—promoting service, expanding digital literacy, and building tomorrow’s leaders. Since its inception, the Comcast Foundation has donated more than $143 million to organizations in the communities nationwide that Comcast serves. More information about the Foundation and its programs is available at www.comcast.com/community.