Enhancing the quality of life, self-esteem and self-determination of Canadians with disabilities.

Easter Seals Joins the United Nations to Observe the International Day of Persons with Disabilities

December 3, 2010 – Recognizing that people with disabilities have much to contribute to their communities, and that empowering people with disabilities to lead full and productive lives is essential to achieving goals for global development, Easter Seals Canada joins with Easter Seals US, Abilities First Australia and CONFE in Mexico to commend the United Nations for its work on this International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

“To successfully achieve the Millennium Development Goals, we, as global citizens, must address development challenges from a comprehensive perspective — one that respects the needs and rights of all populations, including the 10 percent of world citizens who live with a disability,” says James E. Williams, Jr., president and chief executive officer, Easter Seals US. “We applaud the efforts of the United Nations on this day, and we express our solidarity and support of the advances made on behalf of persons with disabilities.

Since 1919, Easter Seals has sought to make the vision of our founder Edgar F. Allen a reality. Allen began an international movement, and wrote in 1922 that “We have but one life to live. We get nothing out of that life except by putting something into it. To relieve suffering, to help the unfortunate, to do kind acts and deeds is, after all, the one sure way to secure happiness or to achieve real success. Your life and mine shall be valued not by what we take … but by what we give.”

Today, Easter Seals Canada, Easter Seals in the United States and Puerto Rico, Ability First Australia and CONFE in Mexico are working to meet the needs of millions of children and adults with disabilities and their families.

“Today, our vision is to expand our services and leverage our expertise to serve millions more, and lend a hand to positively affect the lives of people with disabilities and their families wherever we are able,” added Williams.

About Easter Seals Canada

Easter Seals Canada is a federation of 10 provincial Easter Seals organizations who have served Canadians with disabilities for more than eighty years. Working together this network is the leading provider of services to children and families living with disabilities, assisting more than 100,000 Canadians annually. Programs and services provided by Easter Seals organizations across Canada include, specialized summer camps and active living programs, respite facilities, and the provision of mobility, access equipment and family support services. For more information visit: www.easterseals.ca.

“Our goal for the future is to enable full recognition of diverse abilities within more accessible Canadian communities,” said Max Beck, chief executive officer of Easter Seals Canada.

About Easter Seals in the United States

Easter Seals is the leading non-profit provider of services for individuals with autism, developmental disabilities, physical and mental disabilities, and other special needs. For nearly 90 years, we have been offering help and hope to children and adults living with disabilities, and to the families who love them.

Through therapy, training, education and support services, Easter Seals creates life-changing solutions so that people with disabilities can live, learn, work and play in their communities. To learn more, visit www.easterseals.com

About Ability First Australia

Ability First Australia was formed in 2002 when the following state-based organisations agreed to join forces to better meet the needs of children and families living with disability.

The founding organizations are Cootharinga North Queensland; MontroseAccess, Queensland; Northcott Disability Services, New South Wales; Novita Children’s Services, South Australia; Rocky Bay Inc, Western Australia; and St. Giles Society, Tasmania. Member organisations offer an impressive profile of services, supporting 65,000 Australians with a disability and their families nationwide.

A combined workforce of 2,000 employees and annual combined operating costs in excess of $100 million support the complex needs of the individuals who receive services from Ability First Australia members. In addition, more than 3,000 Australians volunteer their time and expertise each year to assist member organisations to achieve their goals. Visit www.abilityfirstaustralia.com.au to learn more.

Ability First Australia’s Chief Executive Officer Glenn Gardner said, “Today more than ever we value working in partnership with others whose aim is to see that persons with disabilities are provided with opportunities which enable them to make, wherever possible, their own life choices.”

About CONFE

CONFE is a confederation of 160 associate institutions in Mexico advocating for an inclusive culture for people living with intellectual disabilities. Services provided through CONFE include evaluation, early intervention, employment training and placement, recreation, counseling and support for families.

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