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!

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

Assistive Technology at Easter Seals Hawaii

Most of us feel completely lost if we misplace our smartphone or tablet. Somehow, over the years, it has become just as essential as the other items on our mental checklist when we leave the house – Car keys? Check. House keys? Check. Smartphone? Check. While there was a time in the not-too distant past when smartphones and tablets did not even exist, they have now become the items that keep us connected to our friends and colleagues, keep track of where we are supposed to be and when, store humorous “selfies” that we cannot bring ourselves to delete, and so much more.

13 meejaysm

For anyone with a developmental disability it is much more critical, and different forms of technology can be used to overcome the barriers that have been a hindrance to meaningful engagement with his or her community in many different ways. Fortunately, Easter Seals Hawaii offers an invaluable service called assistive technology.

Specialists in assistive technology work directly with the Easter Seals Hawaii participants to provide equipment and services that empower the individual to minimize their challenges at home, at work, at school, or in their daily lives. For instance, people who have difficulties with hearing, vision, or mobility could potentially use modified touch screens, communication devices, adaptive software, and/or alternative keyboards. These technologies are designed to maximize the skills of each individual and could potentially be used to help job-seekers perform essential skills.

At school, tablets, iPads, computers, and other devices could be used to help the students comprehend and keep up with the curriculum. Since there are hundreds of potential options available, the assistive technology specialists serve as an essential resource and help identify the most useful and targeted application, depending on the exact needs of the participant.

How can you help? It’s easy. If you or anyone you know is upgrading to a new computer, laptop, or handheld device, consider donating your used equipment to Easter Seals Hawaii. It could help shape someone’s life, help them succeed at school or work, and will guarantee to make them smile.  

Please contact Kelly Ikeda Ellis, Development Office, with donations at (808) 529-1709 x1163

In Hawaii, Easter Seals Hawaii is one of the largest organization that provides services from birth which (if needed) continues throughout their life. Initially, behavior services are provided to help the recipient overcome the challenges they face. Early intervention by the assistive technology specialist is extremely helpful for both the individual and the families, and it is never too early to engage with a specialist. Once the technology has been identified or modified to fit the needs of the individual, the assistive technology device grows and evolves as the persons become more familiar with how to use it. This is a critical step in Easter Seal Hawaii’s overarching goal of helping to empower every individual to move from dependence to independence, and realize their full potential.

 

Autism Services: Katie Thomas’ Story

For Kathleen Thomas, nothing in the world is better than seeing her daughter, Katie, smile. Diagnosed with autism at a very early age it is imperative to Katie’s health and wellbeing that her life be as stable and consistent as possible, and Kathleen has dedicated her life to making this a reality. Fortunately for her Easter Seals Hawaii has been a true partner and a source of support for many years, and has been there to help her guide Katie through some of life’s greatest challenges.

katiesm

When Katie was in the third grade, she enrolled in the Pacific Autistic Center (PAC), where she thrived. A few years later the director of PAC sold the school to Easter Seals Hawaii. When Kathleen explained why it was so important to remain engaged with Easter Seals Hawaii, she said she knew Katie would move seamlessly into adulthood under the umbrella of this established organization. Kathleen said: “I know Katie will thrive here, and be loved, and be safe, and be a part of the community, and be valued, which is all that matters.”

katie familysm

2014 was an emotionally difficult time for Kathleen and This was also an emotionally difficult time for the family. Katie’s father was diagnosed with cancer, and his greatest fear was for Katie and her future. Fortunately before he passed away, he was comforted in the knowledge that Easter Seals Hawaii’s trained staff would know exactly how to handle this emotional period of the passing of her father. To help her Easter Seals Hawaii therapists put together a photo book with photos of Katie’s father and their family, routinely walked her through what had occurred, and helped her understand why her father would not be returning home.

When Kathleen looks to the future for Katie, her dreams for her daughter are pure and simple. She noted, “I want Katie to be loved, to be valued, to have a purpose and a joy every day of her life. I want her to have a job, be happy, and be healthy. That is what I want, for Katie to have friends and a place that feels like home.”

Easter Seals Hawaii strives to make Kathleen’s dreams a reality for Katie.

Tackling Adversity By Helping Others

In one moment, Tisha Takazawa’s life would never be the same. After suffering a brain injury from a car accident at the age of 21, she was forced to re-learn everything from writing, to walking, to even talking. She lost a considerable amount of fine motor skills and the entire right side of her body became weak. She now lives with new physical challenges on a daily basis, but Tisha does not complain. She’s rather humbled by the opportunity to genuinely understand and deeply empathize with those she serves. Tisha has been working with people with disabilities and special needs at Easter Seals Hawaii for over 11 years.
Tisha_fadesm
As the Adult Day Health Program Manager in Hilo, Tisha wakes up every morning with gratitude in her thoughts and happiness in her heart: “Before starting with ESH, I wanted something where I could make more of a meaningful impact. I wanted a change, I felt a calling, and now I’ve fallen in love with the work that I do.” She has been instrumental in the growth of the program, having had started with just five participants to now helping serve over 82. Adult Day Services, intended to provide adults with stimulating environments, opportunities, and experiences through community-based settings and activities, promotes substantial growth among participants and the community alike:
“Our job is to make the community aware, to open their eyes a little at a time, and to show them that people with disabilities are just people, like you and me.”

Tisha recalled a time when a particular gym owner in the community only addressed the staff member accompanying two participants and questioned: “so what can’t they do?” His blatant disregard for the two individuals was not of malicious intent; however, its impact was nevertheless felt. After about five succeeding interactions, the very first thing the owner did was address the participants directly, look at their faces, shake their hands, and ask for their names. This type of transformation exemplifies why Tisha believes the work Easter Seals Hawaii does is so important. Without it, bridging that gap – getting people with disabilities integrated, understood, and accepted within the community – seems unattainable.

Tisha is driven, however, to make a positive change. She embodies that which Easter Seals Hawaii aspires to do every day: change lives with Aloha. After experiencing such discouragement and despair on a personal level, she realized that despite all she had lost, in the end, she really had everything to gain – and remains thankful for all that she has:
“I look forward to coming to work, seeing the participants every day, enjoying their progress and happiness. It’s amazing what people can accomplish when they’re given the chance. [The participants] teach us all a lesson about what’s really important in life. And for that reason, Easter Seals Hawaii is just a good place to be.”

Easter Seals Hawaii TV Special on KFVE

Commemorating the 70th anniversary this year, Easter Seals Hawaii marks this special anniversary with a one hour prime time television special airing June 24 at 7:00 pm- 8:00 pm on KFVE.  This very special documentary film directed by award-winning filmmaker, Edgy Lee, highlights the diversity of families and the vast array of needs served by Easter Seals Hawaii over the past 70 years.  Historical highlights and personal reflections span decades. They include stories from community supporters like Don Robbs, Danny Kaleikini, Ed Sultan and others.

            

Narrated by Danny Kaleikini, the Easter Seals 70th Anniversary TV Special “Easter Seals Hawaii: Serving Hawaii’s Families for 70 Years” is produced by Filmworks Pacific and written by Marc Cohen & Edgy Lee.  The documentary film takes viewers into a unique and different world, a reality that redefines “ohana” to include not only family members and close friends, but the dedicated staff and 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.

Grandpa was pals with Ingram Stainback, who was the governor at the time during World War II.  They would have a cup of coffee every now and then and Governor Stainback would lament that public schools couldn’t handle crippled children, and the crippled children would end up staying in homes and families would take care of them and they never really learned how to interact in the community.

My grandfather would go home later that day and share this with his wife, my grandmother, and they came up with an idea of a school that teaches these children how to interact in society, how to stand up and walk, get them equipment that they might need and they would find braces or crutches for them and other resources.  The idea was that when you graduate from this school, you will be able to go into mainstream public school.  My grandmother became passionate about this and put together a group of people who had a lot of of energy and desire to help the community.  Through their caring and visionary efforts, The Sultan School for Early Intervention which later became Easter Seals Hawaii, was founded.   Ed Sultan III, President and Ceo, Na Hoku, Inc.

Screen shot 2016-02-25 at 12.14.41 PM.png

MARK YOUR CALENDARS and TUNE IN!

WHAT:    “Easter Seals Hawaii: Serving Hawaii’s Families for 70 Years”
WHEN:    Friday, June 24, 2016; 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
WHERE:  Aired on KFVE

Maile Ogata raises $3,660 for Easter Seals Hawaii

DSC_0751

Easter Seals Hawaii presented Maile Ogata with the Dwane Brenneman Humanitarian Award.

The 10th Annual Maile’s Dream family fun event raised $3,660.00 for Easter Seals Hawaii on March 8th at Washington Middle School. The event featured live entertainment, games, crafts, activities and a silent auction to benefit the East Sultan Early Intervention Program for Easter Seals Hawaii (ESH). Coordinated by students and faculty at Washington Middle School, the event encourages children and individuals of all ages to accept those who are different and to celebrate those differences with one another.

???????????????????????????????

Maile poses with her award with students and faculty from Washington Middle School and staff from Easter Seals Hawaii.

The awareness fair also honored its young founder, 14-year-old Maile Ogata, who started the event ten years ago as a way to encourage acceptance amongst young children, youth and adults. Maile was born with Apert’s syndrome, a genetic disorder that can lead to facial and limb anomalies. It was “Maile’s Dream” to teach acceptance of those who are different while giving back to a program at Easter Seals Hawaii that has helped her when she was younger. Maile’s mother, Cindy Ogata, said, “Easter Seals’ Early Intervention Program was there to support us with physical, occupational, speech therapy and a gifted teacher to help with cognitive delays…our objective of the event is to raise awareness and encourage acceptance.”

Maile performed a song she wrote called “I am a child,” moments before she was presented with an award from ESH’s President & CEO Christopher E. Blanchard. “It impresses me how much Maile, at 14-years-old, has done for Hawaii’s children and adults with developmental disabilities or special needs in the last ten years. Since she started her event, she raised more than $30,000 for Easter Seals Hawaii. She set a terrific example for the Washington Middle School students who have taken up her cause. We encourage others to recognize the impact Maile and the WMS students have had on our organization and the community.”

MD2Maile and her mom Cindy with East Sultan EI Program Manager Dawn Williams, Sultan EI Program Manager Luke Kusumoto, President & CEO Chris Blanchard and VP of Development Iwalani Dayton. 

Mahalo Maile!