Supporting our communities and giving back is at the heart of what we do at Suzy Quilts. We've been donating to a wide array of nonprofits since 2020 and this year we aren't only fundraising—we're friend-raising!
That means we're supporting these nonprofits through a financial donation and doing our best to get the word out about the great things they are doing. We want you to get to know the five nonprofits we're donating to in 2022 so you can join us in supporting their good work.
Giving Back: Easterseals DuPage & Fox Valley
Easterseals is a national organization and there may be a chapter in your area, but the Easterseals DuPage & Fox Valley location in the Chicago suburbs is particularly special to the Suzy Quilts team because my two-year-old daughter Fiona goes to physical, occupational, and speech therapies there.
With a mission to ensure that children with disabilities and their families are empowered, I've seen firsthand through Fiona how Easterseals DuPage & Fox Valley helps children thrive. Fiona has a condition called hypotonia which means that she has low muscle tone. That makes it more challenging for her to move which impacted her early milestones, particularly walking and talking.
The fantastic therapists at our local Easterseals have helped Fiona close the gap in her developmental milestones. Not only have Fiona's therapists helped her by making her appointments fun (she particularly enjoys jumping on the trampoline and singing "Five Little Monkeys Jumping On the Bed", and playing "splash" where she gets to jump onto a gigantic blue cushion), but they also helped her get fitted for orthotic braces that helped her take her first steps.
Now, just over a year later, she's running, jumping, climbing, and speaking in sentences thanks to their help! While she'll always have low muscle tone, she's doing so well that she's even graduating from physical and occupational therapy. Here at Suzy Quilts, we want to see all children with disabilities thrive and live in a barrier-free world. So let's learn more about what Easterseals DuPage & Fox Valley does!
Each year, Easterseals DuPage & Fox Valley partners with the College of DuPage Photography Department to "showcase the beauty and daily lives of children with developmental delays or disabilities," resulting in a powerful and uplifting annual exhibit. Some of the photographs in this blog post have been part of that project!
Empowering Children with Disabilities
"Our organization has been responding to the needs of children in our community since 1942," said Erin Skaggs, Director of Marketing. "Easterseals DuPage & Fox Valley is where families find clear answers and a community of support so children can realize their full potential. We offer free screenings to identify delays as early as possible and critical services in a child’s most formative years (0-5)."
Did you know that 1 in 6 children has a developmental disability? And that 54% of children have missed a milestone during the pandemic? I didn't! That's why it's crucial that every community has a resource like Easterseals to help families through crucial periods of their children's lives.
In the past year, Easterseals DuPage & Fox Valley has served over 2,500 people through their in-center services, tele-therapy, and early intervention!
What Does Easterseals DuPage & Fox Valley Do?
"Our comprehensive services include occupational, physical, and speech-language therapies, assistive technology, medical nutrition, audiology, autism services, family support, mental health services, and inclusive childcare," said Erin.
In addition to all of the services above, Easterseals also has an Autism Diagnostic Clinic, a Medical Diagnostic Clinic, and specialized feeding, dental, and wheelchair clinics. One of the most important offerings at Easterseals DuPage & Fox Valley is the Lily Garden Child Care Center, the only inclusive childcare center in DuPage County.
But that's not even all of the incredible work done by Easterseals! The organization also provides "job training and coaching, employment placement, and transportation services for adults with disabilities, including veterans; adult day programs and employment opportunities for older adults – in addition to a variety of services for people of all ages including behavioral health services, assistive technology, camp and recreation, caregiving support including respite – and much more."
In addition to their annual photography exhibit, they also host events like a fundraising gala, charity runs, and an inclusive Trunk or Treat. The organization's commitment to helping children is boundless. "We offer a range of support services and resources for parents, caregivers, grandparents, and siblings as they navigate the unique experiences that come from loving and caring for a child with a disability," said Erin.
An Inclusive Community
Easterseals DuPage & Fox Valley believes every child deserves to thrive in an inclusive community. Dalilah, pictured above, is just one client at our local Easterseals. As her mom said, "As advocates, we are constantly voicing what we think is right for her, but it's important to understand what she wants. She's an individual and we want to know what she has to say."
Through her time at Easterseals DuPage & Fox Valley, Delilah has learned how to sit, crawl, clap, and stand up. But most importantly, she now has a special communication device that allows her to share her own opinions. Imagine a world where all children had access to this much support!