The Easter Seals Foundation was founded in 1919 by Edgar Allen when his son was injured in a street car accident and, suddenly, disability touched his life. Easter Seals Rio Grande Valley began in 1952, starting out in an Army barracks in Pharr before moving to 1217 West Houston Avenue in McAllen.
Executive Director Pattie Rosenlund, with the organization for 18 years, heads up the 160 employees.
“My background is in teaching special education, and then I moved to teaching in the mental health world,” said Pattie.
“I love the opportunities we have of program development, working with families to provide the support they need to make a positive impact.”
Easter Seals offers multiple programs such as Early Childhood Intervention, which provides services from therapy for infants and toddlers with disabilities or developmental delays, helping adult clients fund their ongoing therapy to teaching parents how to parent. Easter Seals RGV services are available to everyone from country clubs to colonias.
“Disabilities do not know socio-economic boundaries,” Pattie stated. “My dream is to have a network in our community so no matter who families in need contact, they will be able to find their way to Easter Seals. All of our programs are grassroots, developed based on the needs of the community. We are changing the way the world views disabilities.”
Adding the Easter Seals Child Development Center has given the community more opportunities.
“We started a child care center where children of all abilities can learn and play together–inclusion benefits all children.”
Going through a brand renaissance, one of the new purpose statements sums up the mission . . . Behind every child with a disability is someone who loves them, and behind them is Easter Seals.
“How lucky am I that I get to be a part of this organization that really is making improvements in the community and impacting families?” Pattie said.
For more information, go to www.easterseals-rgv.org.