Easter Seals Hawaii CARF Accreditation Renewed

Easter Seals Hawaii (ESH) recently underwent the important and comprehensive CARF accreditation process involving nearly every person associated within the organization – led by Melissa King-Hubert, Safety and Quality Assurance Manager and Jennifer Schemer-Lang, VP Programs and Services.

What is CARF?
CARF = Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities.

CARF is a non-profit organization that for more than 45 years developed and maintained current, field-driven standards that improve the value and responsiveness of programs and standards delivered to people in need of life enhancement services (from CARF Manual).

ESH first achieved accreditation in 2007; and every three years since. As an affiliate of Easter Seals national organization, ESH is required to pursue a third-party evaluation, and CARF is one of the accrediting bodies and with standards most relevant to the services provided by ESH.

Why is CARF accreditation important?
The CARF accreditation process is one of continuous improvement – to improve the outcomes for the organization and the persons served. The process is distinct from a compliance audit or contract monitoring. Attention to CARF standards should not be a once-every-three-year effort; rather the standards can be guidepost for what we do and how we might improve.

Most importantly, achieving CARF accreditation assures internal and external audiences or stakeholders that ESH maintains a culture of accountability AND improvement in both our business practices and services we provide.

In the fall of 2015, ESH submitted its application to continue accreditation by CARF (which would expire in May 2016). Almost immediately ESH began a “self-study” to review all program and business policies and procedures, to gather performance data, to update all records and files, and to educate staff about the Standards and the survey process.

Melissa convened multiple meetings of senior managers to review standards related to business practices. Melissa crafted a weekly “CARF Countdown” eNews to all Program Managers and Senior Staff – to help educate and inform and begin the process of gathering documentation to be submitted as part of the survey. All policies and procedures were reviewed and revised by staff in preparation for the surveyors visits.

The surveyors visited ESH April 27-29, 2016 with one administrative surveyor remaining at Green Street to review and discuss all business practices, consult with several Board members, meet with Senior Management, while the others visited program locations, reviewed records, met with families or other constituents/stakeholders, looked at vehicles, met with participants and staff, and learned about ESH.

At the exit or closing conference with all surveyors present, Senior Managers, Program Managers and others, ESH received preliminary recommendations from the surveyors.


As a result of this process, Easter Seals Hawaii is proud to be CARF-acredited for another 3 year term!

Locations LLC staff and family paint with purpose

Easter Seals Hawaii wishes to extend a HUGE mahalo to Locations LLC for its support of our mission to empower people with disabilities and special needs to achieve their goals and live independent fulfilling lives.

On Saturday, on May 14, 2016, 15 Locations LLC employees and family members, led by Easter Seals Hawaii board member Brian Stewart along with Locations partners, realtors and administrative team members came to the Easter Seals Hawaii Sultan School on Green Street to paint the walls within our keiki classrooms. Locations also committed the financial resources to facilitate replacement of the flooring and window coverings within our two classrooms.



This complete makeover by Locations LLC was last done almost twenty years ago and was long overdue. Said Luke Kusumoto, Early Intervention program manager at the Sultan School, “I was truly touched to see so many volunteers with an interest in what we do, who worked so hard start to finish. We’ve been hoping for renovations like this for many years and are excited to reveal it to our families who will benefit from the refurbished rooms. What a nice additional surprise it will be for my staff!”

We commend and thank the professionals at Locations LLC for supporting our mission and those we serve!


Ron Brandvold, President & CEO
Easter Seals Hawaii

April Is Easter Seals Hawaii Awareness Month

2016 marks Easter Seals Hawaii 70th Anniversary of providing programs and services to generations of individuals and families in Hawaii who live with disabilities or special needs.

In honor of this momentous anniversary, April has been designated Easter Seals Hawaii Awareness Month via Proclamations sponsored by Mayor’s from Oahu, Maui, Hawaii Island, and Kauai on behalf of their respective counties.

Commemorating its 70th anniversary this year, we mark this special anniversary with a one hour prime time television special airing April 24 at 6:30p- 7:30p on KFVE channel 5.  In this documentary film directed by award-winning filmmaker, Edgy Lee, the diversity of families and the vast array of needs served by Easter Seals Hawaii over the past 70 years, is revealed.  Historical highlights and personal reflections span decades. They include stories from community supporters like Don Robbs, Danny Kaleikini, Ed Sultan and others.   Whether one is familiar with Easter Seals Hawaii services or new to learning about Autism Spectrum Disorder, Customized Employment (where businesses hire Easter Seals Hawaii clients) or Youth Enrichment services that empower young people through skill development to maximize their independence as they embark upon adulthood and build their self esteem – this is a biopic about a great legacy of a community service organization in Hawaii.  Most compelling are the real-world glimpses into the daily lives of children and their families, Hawaii families who found themselves at childbirth, unexpectedly stepping into the world of special needs.

Narrated by Danny Kaleikini, the 70th Anniversary TV Special “Easter Seals Hawaii: Serving Hawaii’s Families for 70 Years,” the documentary film takes you into a unique and different world, a reality that redefines “ohana” to include not only family members and close friends, but dedicated staff and the many volunteers whose every day jobs are to provide life-enhancing services to people with disabilities and special needs so they may achieve independent fulfilling lives.

 Our programs and services at Easter Seals Hawaii are as important and necessary today as ever, and our dedicated staff, like their predecessors, work hard every day to empower people with disabilities and special needs to achieve their goals and live independent fulfilling lives,” said Ron Brandvold, CEO of Easter Seals Hawaii. “Through a 70th anniversary TV Special and a Gala dinner event, we look forward to honoring many individuals who have helped shape our organization and to sharing our vision for providing disability services well into the future.”  Ron Brandvold, President and CEO.

WHAT:          “Easter Seals Hawaii: Serving Hawaii’s Families for 70 Years”
WHEN:          Sunday, April 24, 2016; 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
WHERE:        Aired on KFVE, Channel 5, (UHF Digital Channel 22)
INFO:             www.eastersealshawaii.org

 About Easter Seals Hawaii

Offering programs that offer a range of services on Oahu, Kauai, Maui, Lāna‘i and Hawai‘i Island, for 70 years, the organization has changed the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, by providing resources and support to entire families.

Easter Seals Hawaii is the state’s largest provider of Early Intervention services for infants and toddlers and is one of the state’s largest providers of Medicaid Waiver services for adults with disabilities.

As the mission grew to include services for adults with disabilities, the organization became known as Easter Seals Hawaii, which now has 14 facilities and serves more than 2,000 individuals with disabilities every year across the Hawaiian Islands.

Easter Seals Hawaii’s programs are accredited by the Commission on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), assurance that the organization meets nationally accepted standards. For more information, visit http://www.eastersealshawaii.org.

History of Easter Seals Hawaii
In 1946, Edward and Olga Sultan founded the Sultan Foundation Nursery School, and with support from a group of business leaders and parents committed to helping children with disabilities, their vision expanded and The Easter Seal Society for Crippled Children was founded. Charter members included Dorothy Devereux, Olga Sultan, Governor John Burns, Hilo Hattie, and Judge Chuck Mau.  As the mission grew to include services for adults with disabilities, the organization became known as Easter Seals Hawaii, which now has 14 facilities and serves more than 2,000 individuals with disabilities every year across the Hawaiian Islands.

In the early days, a star-studded group of local entertainers, including Al Harrington and Danny Kaleikini, raised funds and awareness through the Easter Seals Hawaii Telethon, which also featured national stars like Arthur Godfrey, Ethel Merman, Henry Winkler and others who helped launch the early events in Hawaii.  Hosted by sports radio and TV icon, Don Robbs. Over its 70-year history, Easter Seals Hawaii has continued to raise funds by also hosting, “Taste of Honolulu” on the grounds of Honolulu Hale, a popular holiday event known as “The Gingerbread Festival,” and an annual Golf Classic, which will be held this year on September 23 at the Hawaii Prince Golf Club.

The Easter Seals Hawaii Anniversary Gala will be held on April 29, 2016 at the Hawaii State Art Museum with master chefs from


Oahu ProclamationOahu Proclamation Easter Seals

Easter Seals Hawaii Announces New Board Leadership

Mike Hulser copy


Mike Hulser, CEO and Principle Consultant of BizMD, was elected  as the new chair of Easter Seals Hawaii Board of Directors, succeeding Brian Stewart.

Mike Hulser was born in New York and raised in Virginia, where he attended college at Virginia Tech and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.S. Degree in Economics.

Mike then embarked on a “Fortune 50” career, ultimately achieving the Financial Officer level.

In the late 1990s, Mike entered the Turnaround/Crisis Management Consulting industry, where the industry named him the “Top Turnaround Manager in the United States for 2000.”

In late 2000, Mike came to Hawaii on a consulting engagement as the Interim Chief Financial Officer and Controller of Hawaiian Airlines.

Mike and his wife, Sandy, decided to remain in Hawaii and established his current practice, The Biz MD, helping small and medium size businesses improve their Financial Performance – Profitability and Cash Flow.

In 2009, the U.S. Small Business Administration named The Biz MD the “Financial Services Champion” for the City and County of Honolulu. Additionally, several of Mike’s client businesses have won awards for Industry Leadership, Growth, Profitability and Workplace Quality.

MAHALO Mike for devoting your time, talent, and aloha to Easter Seals Hawaii!

Spread The Word To End The Word

Spread The Word To End The Word Awareness Day is March 2, 2016

If you’re a member of the Easter Seals `Ohana, you know that the R-word hurts. The R-word is exclusive. The R-word is derogatory and offensive. The R-word has no place in our work, our schools, our community, our world.

The “Spread The Word To End The Word” campaign asks people to pledge to stop saying the R-word as a starting point toward creating more accepting attitudes and communities for all people. Language affects attitudes and attitudes affect actions. What you can do can make a difference.

Lauren Fagnant, special educator at the Kailua Early Intervention program, is spearheading this effort for ESH. She reminds us that Rosa’s Law, signed by President Obama on October 5, 2010 removes the terms “mental retardation” and “mentally retarded” from federal health, education and labor policy and replaces them with people first language “individual with an intellectual disability.”

What can you do to build awareness of this campaign in your programs, with your families, participants, caregivers, stakeholders, and community partners?

#1 Take the pledge yourself. It’s easy. Go to http://www.r-word.org and be a part of the movement.
#2 Share information and encourage others to use respectful, people-first language. And give them the website so they can pledge.
#3 Share your story. Is there someone who inspired you to take the R-word pledge? Was there a moment that showed you how wrong that word is? What makes you feel strongly about changing the way people refer to people with intellectual disabilities? Tell your story.

We are happy to perpetuate this movement through the Easter Seals Hawaii website and social media channels. Please send your stories to Marla Musick at marla@laukoacreative.com.

Easter Seals Hawaii joins other community organizations and government agencies that are supporting this campaign including Special Olympics, LDAH, AccessSurf, SPIN, Catholic Charities, Big Brothers Big Sisters, UCP, the ARC Hawaii, HSTA, DOE – Title 1 Program, EFMP.rword

Pre-order your ESH Holiday Gift Baskets today and give the gift that makes a difference this holiday season!

As our last fundraiser of 2015, Easter Seals Hawaii will once again be selling our popular Holiday Gift Baskets! Buying your Holiday Gift Basket from Easter Seals Hawaii is a great way to help redefine the way the world defines, views and treats disabilities so that every person can achieve their full potential. All our baskets feature a delicious assortment of products from Big Island Delights and up to 40% of each basket purchase may qualify for a tax deduction!  What are you waiting for? Pre-order your basket(s) today!

Small baskets are $50 and include:Front 50 Cutout

  • Party Mix 8 oz.
  • Energy Bar 3.75 oz.
  • Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut 4.5 oz.
  • Chocolate Dipped Macadamia Nut Shortbread Box of 6, 5 oz.
  • Macadamia Nut Shortbread 4.5 oz.
  • Premium Pineapple
  • Easter Seals Hawaii Thermal Tote Bag


Large Baskets are $100 and include:Front 100 Cutout (Mobile)

  • Party Mix 8 oz.
  • Energy Bar 3.75 oz.
  • Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut 4.5 oz.
  • Hawaiian Macadamia Nut Granola 8 oz.
  • Chocolate Dipped Macadamia Nut Shortbread Box of 6, 5 oz.
  • Macadamia Nut Shortbread 4.5 oz.
  • Kona Coffee 2 oz.
  • Chocolate Dipped Mango 6 oz.
  • Chocolate Dipped Macadamia Nut Shortbread Box of 12, 10 oz.
  • Passion Fruit Shortbread Box of 10, 4.5 oz.
  • Locally Grown Anthurium Plantshipping pic star
  • Premium Pineapple *
  • Easter Seals Hawaii Thermal Tote Bag
Due to Agricultural requirements, the Pineapple will be substituted with pineapple shortbread cookies (5 oz. Box) for gift baskets shipped to the mainland. 
Buy Now Button Or, click here to download a mail-in order form (*PDF)
Deadline for shipping orders: December 3, 2015
Deadline for pick-up orders: December 14, 2015

For more information, call (808) 529-1708 or visit our website.

Mahalo for your support!

Revealed: The Myth of Disability

If you were given an opportunity to believe and achieve, would you take it? Isa Shimizu, one of Easter Seals Hawaii’s youth service participants, along with a few other past Easter Seals Hawaii participants, including Cassilly Woll and Katie O’Brien, were chosen to be 3 of 20 artists who have a disability to be featured in the Revealed: The Myth of Disability exhibit at the Gallery ‘Iolani at Windward Community College. This exhibit will be active from September 13 – October 9, Monday-Friday and Sunday, 1-5 p.m.

Isa participating in the Honolulu Festival Parade

Isa participating in the Honolulu Festival Parade

To have earned such an honor requires incredible talent and hard work—both of which Isa portray. Over his years of artistic achievement, Isa has proven that opportunity and success is not contingent upon one’s circumstance, but rather one’s desire, drive, and passion.

At the age of 4, Isa was diagnosed with autism. Unable to have a conversation from infancy, it was difficult for him to communicate or socialize with others, which inevitably affected relationship formation. Isa instead poured himself into drawing, a skill he has and continues to cultivate. Capturing a unique and charming atmosphere, Isa’s art has positively impacted multiple countries, people, and organizations alike throughout the world. One such instance is his FUDO (Fire God) drawing, which has been displayed on FOKAI branded shirts (called FOKAI ISA TEEs), which are now sold throughout Guam, Saipan, and Hawaii. Isa also held three successful art exhibitions. Despite the rarity of an exhibit by an artist with autism in Japan, his second exhibition in Yotsuya, Japan, “Instead of Words ことばのかわりに,drew an impressive 300 visitors with articles featured in the newspaper and two magazines.

Isa working on KOINOBORIs for children in homeless shelters

Isa working on KOINOBORIs for children in homeless shelters

After moving to Hawaii in search of greater opportunities and broader horizons, Isa joined the Easter Seals Hawaii family as a participant in the Youth Enrichment Services program from 2012-2013. This program, one of many offered by Easter Seals, serves youth ages 6 to 22 with developmental disabilities and other special needs. Isa was able to engage in social-recreational opportunities in a safe and nurturing environment, designed to support and encourage his self-esteem, independence, and social growth. Isa developed self-help skills through challenging and age-appropriate activities such as art, music, sports, games, and computers. He was a devoted participant in many of the supervised activities offered through the program including camping, the boy’s group, and the ADVENTURE club. He also loved to engage in art and cooking.

Isa’s International Café coasters drawings

Isa’s International Café coasters drawings

Today, Isa remains a cherished part of the Easter Seals family. He continues to spread his love of art and commitment to the community. From drawing designs on coasters for the International Café to drawing KOINOBORIs for children in homeless shelters, Isa delights in sharing with others.

We’re thrilled to see those we have served truly embody our mission and purpose: empowering people with disabilities or special needs to achieve their goals and live independent, fulfilling lives. We highly encourage everyone to attend the Revealed: The Myth of Disability exhibit at the Gallery ‘Iolani at Windward Community College to be held September 13 – October 9, Monday-Friday and Sunday, 1-5 p.m. More information can be found at the gallery website: www.gallery.windward.hawaii.edu.

Isa’s KOINOBORIs for children in homeless shelter

Isa’s KOINOBORIs for children in homeless shelter

If you or a loved one would like more information about Easter Seals Hawaii services, volunteering, or donating opportunities, please visit our website at www.easterseals.com/hawaii/, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Instragram @eastersealshi. Your contributions to Easter Seals Hawaii could change the life of another forever!