Tag Archives: Walk With Me

8 a.m. Hot Dogs are Mission Critical for Walk With Me!

by Liz Graham

There are quite a few things that are absolutely critical to making Walk With Me successful – Ambassador families, volunteers, dedicated team captains, sponsors, donors and after one misstep I learned…HOT DOGS! I naïvely underestimated the importance of the 8 a.m. Hatfield Hot Dog one year; it is a lesson I did not need to learn twice. Easter Seals is so very lucky to have a longstanding community partner and corporate supporter in Hatfield Quality Meats. They have hosted golf outings, supported cause marketing campaigns, volunteered and of course donated hot dogs. Way back in 2008 I was managing my third Walk With Me event and planning was going well, until that fateful call from Steve Clemens in March. Hatfield Quality Meats had a company wide anniversary picnic the same day as Walk With Me and would be unable to attend. Generously they would still donate 2,000 hot dogs but would not be able to send their truck and grill set-up or be able to loan us their large outdoor event grill – everything would be in use at the picnic. I took a deep breath, considered how we could manage to cook 2,000 hot dogs on the Art Museum Steps and decided that logistically it wasn’t possible. We would have to find an alternative option for 2008.

I reached out to critical staff, volunteers and sponsors to get a consensus of what food items we could substitute for hot dogs – bagels, pretzels, snack bars, fruit…I actually thought I had come up with a reasonable plan to feed our participants at 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning in June.

And then there was mutiny.  I was wrong. There was adamant and unanimous feedback that we MUST have Hatfield Hot Dogs. How could I imagine Walk without them? What was I going to tell the lines of participants expecting their Hatfield Hot Dog? Did I want to ruin the event?!

So I called Steve Clemens, thanked him and Hatfield Quality Meats profusely for their generous donation and scheduled a pick-up of 2,000 hot dogs for two days before the event. How do you store 2,000 hot dogs for two days with no commercial refrigerator? Well I took some home, other staff took some home and we packed the two standard refrigerators at the office. Since the City of Philadelphia requires a special permit to use an outdoor flame we ordered electric hot dog rollers and got to work at 6 a.m. on the Art Museum steps. We never stood a chance. Hot dogs were cooked…SLOWLY. Hot dogs were consumed and enjoyed…RAPIDLY. Our food volunteers worked until they were completely exhausted. We had many comments that our participants enjoyed the event but it just wasn’t the same without Hatfield Quality Meats and the hot dog truck there. They missed Steve, Smiley and the staff that does the cooking.

After cleaning up the event, I got in my car and vowed to never host a Walk With Me event that Hatfield is unable to attend!

That year I learned just how strong of a partnership Hatfield Quality Meats and Easter Seals Walk With Me had formed. Our participants love and appreciate Hatfield’s participation, support and hot dogs. This partnership has continued to grow and strengthen, it has continued to add a vital component to Walk With Me through their donations of labor, food and love. But more so, this partnership continues to provide critical resources for the families we serve.

I so very much enjoy working with Hatfield Quality Meats and the Clemens Family Corporation. They are wonderful people with huge hearts and love of community. We are very lucky to call them friends and even luckier they know how to grill a mean dog!!!

 

Looking forward to Walk With Me

by Eva Delmonte

Eva is 12-years-old and was a volunteer at last year’s Walk. Recently, she came in to volunteer on her day off from school to help get ready for this year’s event. While she was here, she had the opportunity to meet Mung, one of the Honorary Ambassadors. She also took a little time to write some of her memories from last year.

I absolutely enjoyed the Easter Seals event. It was very fun to be at the zoo. They even provided water, other refreshments and hotdogs! The best thing was walking around the zoo and seeing the animals, especially the giraffes! After the event I got to explore even more because you get all all day pass if you go to the Walk. I loved this event and if you come, I know that you will too!

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Eva and Mung

To register for Walk With Me, visit http://www.walkwithme.org/philadelphia

Young Philanthropist Group

by Tommy Berger

Easter Seals has been a rewarding part of my life for several years. I have volunteered for various clean-up days, school visits, and Walk with Me Philly events. Now I am a part of the Young Philanthropist Group.

The group was created to engage a diverse group of women and men between the ages of 21-40 committed to supporting Easter Seals programs through advocacy, philanthropy, and volunteerism. The members come from different backgrounds yet come together for the same cause. We are working to grow the Easter Seals brand by driving awareness among Gen X, Millenials, and Gen Z.

The Young Philanthropist Group is important to me because I can share my passion for Easter Seals with other individuals who care so much to spread the great work that Easter Seals has done over the many years of service.

Check out the Young Philanthropist Facebook page and see Tommy’s profile, and learn more about other members

Meet Lila and Emma

by Melanie O’Brien

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Lila and Emma are 4-year-old twins whose personalities are as different as night and day. What they do have in common, aside from being adorable, is autism. In addition to autism, they each have unique needs and challenges. Lila, whose needs are more physical, began receiving services when she was about 3-months-old. Her therapists noticed that Emma, whose needs are more medical, might benefit from Early Intervention services for some feeding issues she was having. When it was time for the girls to transition to center-based services, a therapist recommended Easter Seals. Lila and Emma began attending the Early Intervention Center last year. Since they have started, Lila went from not talking, to stringing three words together very quickly. Emma is now starting to use some words. Both girls were given communication devices, that with such amazing progress, they have almost outgrown. Their cognitive skills are really growing and Lila and Emma are becoming quite social! When they aren’t busy wowing their parents, teachers and therapists with their progress, they are busying doing the things all 4-year-olds love. Together, they watch favorite shows, which include Bubble Guppies and Daniel Tiger and enjoying their favorite snack, Goldfish. Emma is big fan of technology. She loves to dance, especially in a twirly skirt. Emma may be Minnie Mouse’s biggest fan. Her wonderful sense of humor and love of laughter means you will often find her with a smile. Lila loves to read, Mickey Mouse is a favorite subject. She is a very affectionate little girl who loves to learn. Her quiet demeanor allows her to happily soak in the world around her. Emma and Lila are beautiful examples of how two girls can look similar, but be so uniquely beautiful.

Join Lila and Emma and all of the Honorary Ambassadors on June 4th at the zoo for our Walk With Me event!

Meet Cassidy

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At 5-years-old, Cassidy is sweetness, determination and sass all rolled into one adorable girl. She definitely does not let her Cerebal Palsy get in her way. After her family began to notice a developmental delay at 8 months, she began receiving home-based services from Easter Seals therapists.  They were all wonderful individuals who Cassidy began to adore. So, when the time came to transition to Preschool, the decision to choose Easter Seals for center-based services was an easy one. On her third birthday, Cassidy began attending the early intervention program in Montgomery County. Since then, with the help of teachers, therapists and her family, she has accomplished some amazing things! She has gone from a very low vocabulary to stringing together three-word sentences. Cassidy can now pull herself up to her walker and use it. Her fine motor skills have really improved, which can be seen in her love for coloring and painting. Arts and creativity seem to be in her genes, which is obvious in her passion for music. She loves music therapy at school and rocking out with her parents at home. Cassidy also has some pretty typical five-year-old passions…pizza, Disney movies and the Sprout Channel. Her charm and determination are powerful combination and we can’t wait to see what she’ll do next!

Meet Cassidy and all the Honorary Ambassadors at Walk With Me on June 4th at the Philadelphia Zoo.

Lucia

by Al Perry

My daughter Lucia was born nine years ago. Nine months later I participated in my first Walk With Me. I got involved because Century 21 was a corporate sponsor and my firm Century 21 Advantage Gold had a history of supporting local Easter Seals efforts. Truth told I didn’t know much about Easter Seals.  I got involved because it was fashionable to support a worthy cause.

I met so many great people during my first Walk. Most rewarding was meeting the children and the families impacted by Easter Seals. The kids were so full of excitement it was infectious. Some had difficulty communicating and others had mobility challenges. What they all had in common was a proud sense of accomplishment and a passion for life.

I was forever changed. It was like someone opened my eyes to show me a world of hope in a sea of obstacles. I looked at my healthy nine month old daughter sitting in our jogging stroller and appreciated our many blessings. Lucia smiled at me in much the same way the Easter Seals kids grinned at their parents. My wife and I walked that day and toward the end I picked Lucia up out of the stroller and held her hands so she could walk the final twenty feet. When we crossed the finish line a bunch of walkers and volunteers gave us high five’s.

Since that day Lucia and I have participated in Walk With Me each year. She is nine years old now and the Walk is one of her favorite days of the year. Every year we meet wonderful new people, many who are battling significant challenges. In the early years Lucia and I couldn’t help but see the differences. In recent years I’ve noticed a significant change. We have become more aware and now seem to focus more on our many similarities. The kids and their families are not so different from ours. Sure they may need help walking or communicating but they laugh and cry just like we do. They push themselves to try new things and get really frustrated when they don’t excel just like us. Their families support each other much like ours.  Their smiles also light up a room.

I am so proud of Lucia and our family. We love participating because we meet new friends and take pride in helping others overcome their challenges. Today we see beyond someone’s limitations. We now see their inner strength. We are part of something special and it’s more rewarding than words can describe.

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Al visits some of the children in at the Early Intervention Center

Meet Olivia

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Olivia is a beautiful 2-year-old little girl. When she was 6-months-old, her parents noticed something was happening while she was sleeping. Multiple tests indicated everything was fine. However, they followed their instincts and persisted in figuring out what was happening. It was finally determined that Olivia has focal epilepsy, which has caused some developmental delays. After a strong recommendation from her pediatrician, she began receiving home-based services from Easter Seals. Since then, Olivia is beginning to babble, if you listen carefully, you can hear “mom” and “dad” sometimes! She can now sit up and get on all fours. Olivia recently got a walker and is learning to use it…when she decides she wants to. She is a beautiful combination of an old soul with just the right amount of sass! She loves to be the center of attention, and when she isn’t, this inquisitive girl is soaking up everything around her. Olivia loves to check herself out in the mirror and we can understand why. Her gorgeous eyes are captivating and her fun personality is contagious!

Olivia is an Honorary Ambassador for Walk With Me this year. Come meet her and the other Ambassadors on June 4th at the Philadelphia Zoo. Click here to learn more or register for the Walk.