During an annual Arkansas Easterseals meeting, a young man who served as an ambassador for the organization asked for the microphone. He told how he had always lived with his parents, and how he had always dreamed of living on his own. He then spoke about his job, his friends and his newfound independence: independence made possible with the help of Easterseals.
This is a favorite memory for Wendy See, director of pharmacy at Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield. She remembers the testimony as living proof that the organization she has served for 18 years makes a difference in the lives of those with disabilities.
Easterseals is a non-profit organization that serves people living with developmental and physical disabilities. They focus on providing education and rehabilitation services to help those with disabilities adapt to their communities and be as independent as possible.
“I quickly fell in love with the organization,” Wendy reflected. “The staff and leadership at Easterseals is top notch. I love not only what the organization is doing but also the clients, whether they are the adults or the children.”
Wendy has served on the board of directors at Easterseals for 11 years. But, her journey with the organization began 14 years ago.
“I was first introduced to Easterseals Arkansas through a young professional’s auxiliary group called the Development Council,” Wendy said. “While involved with that group, we created a fundraising event where we auctioned art created by the adults and children at Easterseals. That fundraiser started in 2004 and it has continued to grow ever since.”
Big beginnings led to even bigger responsibilities for Wendy. Now on the board of directors, Wendy offers oversight on the budgeting process, expansion of services, development support, fundraising and more. She also serves on the program and finance committee for Easterseals. Wendy’s leadership grows the organization’s potential to serve those who are disabled throughout Arkansas.
Of all the programs Easterseals offers, Wendy is particularly excited about the programs offered to adults.
“Easterseals has housing and job training programs,” explained Wendy. “The life expectancy for some of these folks has improved dramatically, especially those with Down syndrome. These adults are outliving their parents and looking for ways to live an independent life. Easterseals provides a place for them to do that.”
Wendy plans to remain with Arkansas Easterseals as long as possible to give her service. She hopes to assist with expansion as the organization reaches more people with disabilities.