Celebrating its 100th Anniversary as the nation’s leading advocate and service provider for people with disabilities, Easterseals announced today that the Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation has provided $230,000 in grants to support technology programs and services offered throughout the nonprofit’s national network of affiliates.
The Fred J. Maahs Jr. Assistive Technology Grants, named for a former Comcast executive and current Easterseals board member whose efforts have made a lasting impact in the disability community, were awarded through a competitive process to a dozen Easterseals affiliates nationwide. The grants are designed to unlock a world of opportunities for children and adults with disabilities so they can more independently live, learn, work and play in their communities.
“Our purpose is to ensure that every one of us is empowered to fully participate in life,” says Angela Williams, Easterseals President and CEO. “Nothing unleashes the power of possibilities for people with disabilities quite like technology. We are grateful to the Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation for the commitment and support it has provided to us since 2011 so that Easterseals can continue to deliver innovative assistive technology solutions, which ensure that people with disabilities can gain heightened independence and achieve great things.”
“We believe that success starts with opportunity. It has been our privilege, through our support and partnership with Easterseals, to see the lives of more than 57,000 children and adults with disabilities, as well as veterans and older adults, empowered through expanded assistive technology training and services,” says Dalila Wilson-Scott, Senior Vice President of Community Impact for Comcast Corporation and President of the Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation.
Recipients of the 2019 Fred J. Maahs Jr. Assistive Technology Grants, and the impact to be delivered, include:
- Easterseals Southeastern Pennsylvania will leverage a variety of technology solutions, including Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, to provide more meaningful and relevant engagement and participation in social, communication and real-life experiences for children on the autism spectrum, as well as for children with physical disabilities, to enhance their full participation in life.
- Easterseals DC MD VA will enhance its assistive technology services through the purchase of additional speech generating devices for non-verbal children in its early intervention and inclusive child care programs and introduce a Therapeutic Listening System at its DC-based center to advance social participation, transition, attention and skillsets of children receiving occupational therapies.
- Easterseals New Hampshire will augment its current Applied Behavior Analysis services for 34 young children with autism through assistive technology, including iPads and applications, to further improve skills across multiple domains for these children, including communication, social skills, self-care and academics.
- Easterseals Capital Region and Eastern Connecticut will heighten the digital literacy of veterans served at its Digital Living Lab in Rocky Hill (CT), on the campus of the Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs, to assure their successful transition into the civilian workforce.
- Easterseals South Florida will create a sensory integration and assistive technology center that will incorporate academic, communication and sensory technology for students with autism and other disabilities at its Easterseals Academy and Child Development Center, which serves 130 students, ages 1-22 years old, with special needs.
- Easterseals Crossroads in Indianapolis will enhance services offered through its Brain Injury Technology Education and Support Program (BITES). BITES will provide a safe environment to practice skills and challenge one's abilities. Participants will learn about tools and tips for using technology to assist them with daily tasks, learn effective ways to use their smart devices, be in a safe environment where they can practice what they've learned and build peer support and online communities with technology professionals as well as others with brain injuries.
- Easterseals Michigan will support more than 100 children served at its Oakland County Autism Spectrum Disorder and Medical Rehabilitation Programs Center who are non-verbal, low verbal or severely unintelligible by providing them with Augmentative and Alternative Communication assistive technology systems.
- Easterseals North Georgia will continue to advance its STEM in Early Education Project with Georgia State University through the purchase of IStartSMart enhancements for 80 young children enrolled in the affiliate’s early education programs.
- Easterseals Greater Houston will expand equipment used in its Community Technology Labs, which improve the educational, social and health outcomes of children with disabilities.
- Easterseals Northern Rocky Mountain will advance its Guided Discovery Program throughout the Utah Valley to empower students with high functioning autism and other disabilities to leverage computer mapping software and develop other computer skills to identify potential employment or higher education opportunities that match their emerging skills and interests.
- Easterseals Washington will enhance the capacity of its nearly 200 staff members at 10 program sites across the state through the purchase of updated technology to assure their heightened efficiency and effectiveness to better respond to the needs of the over 5,000 families served by the organization annually.
- Easterseals Oregon will secure additional assistive technology solutions to help 30-40 participants with vision impairments in its Senior Community Service Employment Program throughout 18 counties statewide to build their digital literacy and computer skills and ultimately secure permanent employment.
It has been our privilege, through our support and partnership with Easterseals, to see the lives of more than 57,000 children and adults with disabilities, as well as veterans and older adults, empowered through expanded assistive technology training and services.
Additionally, support to Easterseals National Office will assure the production of a national Public Service Announcement (PSA) highlighting the organization’s 100th Anniversary in 2019 to air on Comcast NBCUniversal stations throughout the year.
Since 2011, the Fred J. Maahs, Jr. Assistive Technology Grant Fund at Easterseals has empowered an estimated 57,000 Americans living with disabilities by providing expanded access to assistive technology, training and services.
To date, the company has provided more than $35 million in cash and in-kind support to help Easterseals advance assistive technology solutions nationwide.