Who We Are
The Story of Easter Seals
Easter Seals has been helping individuals with disabilities and special needs, and their families, live better lives for more than 90 years. Whether helping someone improve physical mobility, return to work, or simply gain greater independence in everyday living, Easter Seals has a variety of services to help people with disabilities address life's challenges and achieve personal goals.
Tragedy Leads to Inspiration
In 1907, Ohio-businessman Edgar Allen lost his son in a streetcar accident. The lack of adequate medical services available to save his son prompted Allen to sell his business and begin a fund-raising campaign to build a hospital in his hometown of Elyria, Ohio. Through this new hospital, Allen was surprised to learn that children with disabilities were often hidden from public view. Inspired by this discovery, in 1919, Allen founded what became known as the National Society for Crippled Children, the first organization of its kind.
The Birth of the Seal
In the Spring of 1934, the organization launched its first Easter "seals" campaign to raise money for its services. To show their support, donors placed the seals on envelopes and letters. Cleveland Plain Dealer cartoonist, J.H. Donahey designed the first seal. Donahey based the design on a concept of simplicity because those served by the charity asked "simply for the right to live a normal life"
The lily--a symbol of Spring--was officially incorporated as Easter Seals' logo in 1952 for its association with resurrection and new life, and has appeared on each seal since.
Easter Seals Emerges
The overwhelming public support for the Easter "seals" campaign triggered a nationwide expansion of the organization and a swell of grassroots efforts on behalf of people with disabilities. By 1967, the Easter "seal" was so so well recognized, the organization formally adopted the name "Easter Seals"
Easter Seals Today
Easter Seals assists more than one million children and adults with disabilities and their families annually through a nationwide network of more than 450 service sites. Each center provides top-quality, family-focused, and innovative services, tailored to meet the specific needs of the particular community it serves.
Easter Seals also advocates for the passage of legislation to help people with disabilities achieve independence, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Passed in 1990, the ADA prohibits discrimination against anyone with a developmental or physical disability, guaranteeing the civil rights of people with disabilities. Read more about the Americans with Disabilities Act.
At the core of the Easter Seals organization is a common passion for caring, shared by its 13,000 staff members and thousands of volunteers, and by those who support its mission. This heart-felt commitment to helping people with disabilities and their families is behind all that we do at Easter Seals. Its our way of "Creating Solutions, Changing Lives".
Easter Seals New York: Mission, History, & Services
Easter Seals New York provides programs and services to children and adults with disabilities and other special needs, and their families. Our goal is to help individuals with special needs gain dignity, equality and independence. We provide the highest quality services in the most caring and cost-effective manner. Our staff and volunteers have a long-standing commitment to serve those for whom no other resources exist.
About Easter Seals New York
Easter Seals New York was founded in 1922 as one of the first organizations to aid people with disabilities. For the last 80 years, we have been producing programs that enable those with special needs to achieve equality, dignity, and independence in their own communities. We are a non-profit community-based organization dedicated to improving the health and welfare of New York State children and adults with special needs. Statewide, our programs and services provide innovative solutions that enhance the lives of people with disabilities and other special needs, while heightening community awareness and acceptance.
For more information on programs and services, please contact Easter Seals New York.