0

Easter Seals names new ambassadors

Morgan Blount, center, is the Easter Seals Southern Georgia child ambassador. She will help “lend a face” to services provided to the community, according to Easter Seals officials. Also shown are Morgan’s mother Stephanie LaVant, left, respite family support coordinator Cathy Jenkins, top, and Nicki Wilson, director of family support services, right.

Morgan Blount, center, is the Easter Seals Southern Georgia child ambassador. She will help “lend a face” to services provided to the community, according to Easter Seals officials. Also shown are Morgan’s mother Stephanie LaVant, left, respite family support coordinator Cathy Jenkins, top, and Nicki Wilson, director of family support services, right.

ALBANY, Ga.

photo

Jim West

Warren Cooper is the adult ambassador for Easter Seals Southern Georgia. He has received Easter Seals services in the past and will represent those services in the community.

— Easter Seals Southern Georgia has selected two new ambassadors to represent the organization’s services to the community, Executive Director Beth English said Wednesday.

“This is an opportunity to put a human face with the services we provide,” English said. “A lot of what we do takes place within the community itself and not at any one ‘place.’ Ambassadors are our best representatives.”

Niki Wilson, director of family support services, said that each year one child and one adult are selected for the ambassador program.

“These are people who have benefited from at least one service in our programs,” Wilson said.

Morgan Blount, a 5-year-old kindergartner at Sherwood Acres Elementary School, is the current child ambassador. Perhaps because of her premature birth, Morgan lives with moderately severe cerebral palsy. Her prognosis lists her opportunities for rehabilitation as “good,” Wilson said.

According to Wilson, one of the family services received by Morgan is the opportunity to reside from time to time at Megan’s House, an Easter Seals facility for medically fragile children. The house is located near the Easter Seals center. The respites can be for a number of reasons, including business trips for the parents, leisure time, or just to diffuse the stress that can come from a difficult situation.

“Sometimes we just need a break from each other,” said Stephanie LaVant, Morgan’s mother.

Adult ambassador Warren Cooper is 61 and mildly mentally challenged. He came to Easter Seals for the variety of programs offered, and activities to suit his needs, Wilson said. For the past two years, Cooper has enjoyed a degree of independence, sharing an apartment with an adult male who is also disabled.

“Even though Warren isn’t able to work at a job, he can attend adult day services at the Easter Seals center on Palmyra Road,” Wilson said. “He can hang out with others who have similar disabilities. There are activities there and they can have lunch as well.”

Wilson said that support for Easter Seals Southern Georgia comes from a variety of sources, including Medicaid, United Way, and private and corporate donations.

“Donations from the public do have a real impact on what we can do,” Wilson said.

Donations to Easter Seals Southern Georgia may be made by calling (229) 439-7061 or going to its website at www.southerngeorgia.easterseals.com.