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An Insider Look: The Artists Behind Our Essential Oil-Inspired Notecard Set

Easterseals Artists Original Paintings

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artists showing off their custom watercolor art originals used for our Essential Oil-Inspired Notecard Set

An Art Evolution at Easterseals

The Art Initiative Program here at Easterseals Southwest Florida is a bustling hub of creative activity. New ideas blossom every day with the help, support, and guidance of our talented art instructors, Viktoria Bridgeford and Kathleen Judge. This artistic program took off in 2015 when the adult participants in our Adult Life Skills Development Program were given the opportunity to develop art skills through a series of regularly scheduled classes and optional choice activities. Classes cater to each individual artist’s skill level and interest. Through several years of training and developing their skills with all types of artistic mediums, our artists have stepped into their artistic stride with pride. They’ve enjoyed learning to paint, work with clay, create recycled crafts and so much more!

As the skills, techniques, and confidence of our artists have grown, each artist began to develop their own unique artistic style and preferences. The process of growth has been amazing to witness! Now our artists are enjoying creating artistic treasures that can be sold online, in occasional art gallery exhibits, and at local craft fairs. Each sale helps the individual artist generate much-needed income while also helping to keep our Art Initiative Program sustainable for the future. Keep an eye out for our upcoming craft booth at the Coquina Beach Market starting in April! We will be selling our artwork once a month at this local market. Our first appearance at the Coquina Beach Market will be on Wednesday, April 28th, 2021. Visit our booth for an opportunity to also shop our decorative painted boards and printed T-Shirts from our Board & Abilities and Abili-Tees employment programs. Shop our unique selection or consider commissioning a custom board or T-Shirt.

Our First Essential Oil-Inspired Notecard Set

This year Easterseals Southwest Florida has partnered with doTERRA essential oils to offer you natural solutions that benefit your life. Every time you purchase products using the Easterseals’ doTERRA link, your purchase helps support our organization. In short, you benefit from a winning partnership that supports the many incredible Easterseals Southwest Florida programs in our local community!  

Our adult artists have created a beautiful set of notecards that coordinate with doTERRA’s Introductory Kit. This basic essential oil set includes a bottle of lavender, a bottle of lemon, and a bottle of peppermint essential oil, so our artists painted an elegant watercolor image of a lavender sprig, a peppermint sprig, and a lemon branch. Each card measures 5” x 7” and the set comes with 3 cards and envelopes.

Remember, your purchase of these notecards helps generate much-needed income for these artists so please help us share these on social media. When you send these cards to someone special, they can flip the cards around to learn about the artists who painted the images and about the doTERRA partnership. Contact us to order a notecard set for yourself, with or without essential oils!

Watercolor notecard sets $10.

About the Artists

Meet Jason

Jason has been coming to Easterseals for many years and has really grown as an artist. He is especially fond of painting sunsets, fish, and ocean scenes and he enjoys painting commissioned pet portraits. Jason likes painting things related to the ocean because they remind him of the beach which is one of his favorite places. In his free time, Jason likes to do woodworking projects with his dad because it helps him feel calm and relaxed. He also enjoys carving and looking at Civil War books. Each morning before he paints, Jason likes to work on crossword puzzles. He’s pretty good at solving the puzzles too!

Jason loves to eat seafood, especially trout, salmon, and lobster. When he’s not creating masterpieces in our art studio, he likes to settle in and watch classic western movies starring John Wayne or old episodes of MacGyver. One of Jason’s favorite places to visit is Disney World but he also enjoys visiting the planetarium and Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium. It’s important to Jason to stay fit so he enjoys working out and walking in the Easterseals organic garden where he spends time smelling the different herbs.

During the pandemic, Jason feels that his artwork has given him an outlet to express himself. Jason is a kind and gentle man who is always happy to lend a hand when anyone is in need. He’d like to tell anyone interested in purchasing the notecard set that he really likes what he’s doing, and he hopes they like the cards.

Artists showing off their art cards and painting skills.

Meet Wanda

As an artist and a person, Wanda is a ray of sunshine. Her positive outlook on life is infectious! Wanda loves to do anything creative whether it be painting, working with clay, or making holiday craft projects. She finds painting relaxing because it gives her something she can focus and concentrate on. Wanda most loves to paint flowers. She admits that flowers are her favorite painting subject because they smell so nice. Her favorite type of flower to paint is roses.

When Wanda isn’t attending Easterseals, she likes to take walks and visit with friends. Socializing with others and visiting new places fills Wanda with joy. She also likes to watch Wheel of Fortune on TV and work crossword puzzles in her free time. Wanda’s favorite thing to eat is spaghetti and meatballs. She looks forward to visiting the State of Indiana where some of her family resides. She enjoys visiting her family in Indiana when she’s able.

Wanda doesn’t feel like the pandemic has caused too much of a disturbance in her life. She prides herself on being someone who likes to go with the flow and doesn’t let circumstances bother her or cause her to be in a negative mindset. Wanda’s message to anyone purchasing these cards is, “I hope you really like my card and that you enjoy it!”

Artists showing off their art cards and custom painted ceramics.

Meet Ana

Ana is a very active artist and entrepreneur who has been attending Easterseals since 1994. Ana is constantly creating, and she loves to share her artwork and advocate for herself. Ana is proud of herself as an artist. She believes she has a heart for helping people and for building friendships. She is most excited about making people feel happy and it shows in all she does. Ana most loves to paint angels because of their great beauty.

When Ana isn’t painting or selling her artwork, she enjoys drawing pictures and singing country music. She is proud to announce that she knows the words to lots of country music songs! Ana loves eating salad and staying healthy. She enjoys watching reruns of the show Friends and episodes of I Love Lucy on TV. Ana likes to visit her family in Tampa when she has time as well as family living in Tulsa, Oklahoma. For fun, Ana loves to clean! Yes, you heard that right – she’s a cleaning machine.

Ana wants to share her feelings of love with whomever purchases these beautiful cards. She feels grateful for her artwork because it gives her something fun to do. She looks forward to creating artwork that helps the world feel happy for years to come.

Artists showing off their art cards and custom painted chair.

Purchasing Your Set of Notecards

Now that you know more about the talented artists behind these inspired watercolor cards, we hope you’ll consider purchasing a set of your own.

Think of the joy you can share by sending one of these beautiful cards to someone special in the mail.

Think of how great it would feel to know your purchase is helping support three amazing individuals and the Easterseals Art Initiative Program.

These are special cards, indeed! Each set costs only $10 and includes 3 large cards with envelopes. Card sets are available for purchase at our main campus, located at 350 Braden Avenue in Sarasota. They will also be available for purchase on the last Wednesday of the month at the Easterseals craft booth at the Coquina Beach Market starting on April 28, 2021. The doTERRA Introductory Kit will be available for purchase along with the cards for an additional $26.00. Anyone purchasing the cards in combination with the kit will receive a surprise gift from our artists. Contact us to place your order or to learn more.

Anyone purchasing the cards in combination with the kit will receive a surprise gift from our artists.

More To Explore

Easterseals Summer Camp 2022

2022 Summer Camps Available, June 6-July 22

Easterseals Academy will host summer camps for children with disabilities from June 6 through July 22. Easterseals believes that it is essential for students with autism to continue their curriculum

Hippotherapy

Easterseals Southwest Florida is proud offer therapy and horseback riding services at InStride Ranch, a beautiful 62-acre therapy facility in Nokomis, Florida to deliver Physical Therapy (PT), Occupational Therapy (OT), and Speech Therapy. Additionally, InStride also offers Therapeutic Riding and Equine-Assisted Learning Programs. Our horseback riding program offers the ability for riders ages 7 and up to learn Classical Horsemanship and Classical Dressage.

To learn more about hippotherapy with Easterseals Southwest Florida, call 941.355.7637.

Mental Health

Through partnerships with Samaritan Counseling Services, Telement Therapy and The Florida Center, the Easterseals Southwest Florida mental health program provides services to many of the clients we serve throughout the agency.

  • Samaritan Counseling provides counseling to identified students in our K-12 academy. Services include direct weekly counseling, classroom observations and consultation, and support to parents and families. Students are referred by families or staff members.
  • Telement Therapy is available for caregiver coaching sessions with clients and families and wellness checks to Easterseals’ staff members. All sessions are confidential.
  • The Florida Center provides a full-time staff counselor on staff in the Lily Preschool to provide ongoing support to the children and families that are in need due to trauma, emotional support to children and classroom support.
  • Easterseals Southwest Florida provides counseling services to veterans and first responders who need support.


To learn more about the mental health services at Easterseals Southwest Florida, call 941.355.7637.

 

Case Management

Our case management office consists of two case managers who represent the agency as a whole. They are the first point of contact for the programs listed below. One of the case managers is bilingual, so we can help the Hispanic community navigate the process of getting support for their families.

  • The Diagnostic Clinic – Manage the assessment process and schedules for the psychologists.
  • Clinical Therapy – Assist in obtaining needed information for clients and managing the clinical waitlist.
  • Lily Preschool – Connect new families for enrollment as well as other services as needed, such as clinical, diagnostics and play project.
  • Easterseals Academy – Intake for prospective families, assisting with enrollment and scholarship applications, and other services as needed.
  • Adult Enrichment- Assist families with APD applications, diagnostic needs, and making connections with outside resources.
  • Digital Navigation – Help families obtain internet access, computers and training at a discounted price
  • Unite Us and Whole Child Network – Utilize these resources to assist families in finding services in our community.
  • Community Outreach -Connect with various agencies within the community to provide families with the support they need. Needs may include food, clothing, electric and utilities, housing and educational advocacy.


For more information on Case Management at Easterseals Southwest Florida, call 941.355.7637 x 418 and x 430.

 

Play Project

This program supports all parents in developing a joyous, mutually beneficial relationship with their children who have autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in a way that will help each child reach his/her full potential.

  • Children, including children with autism, learn best through play in the natural environment of the home
  • Classes take place in the home 90% of the time, but can also be done in a classroom setting through TEACH Play
  • Students are engaged in a playful way to promote his/her development


To learn more information about the Play Project at Happiness House, call 941.355.7637.

Respite

Our respite programs create temporary relief for families or caregivers by providing a safe environment where kids have time to be kids and parents/caregivers have time to be independent adults.

This family strengthening program provides a lifeline to parents of medically fragile and/or special needs children. Each family has access to up to 16 hours of care for ALL their children – and even the pets!

In addition to in-home care, we also provide a bi-monthly “Kids Night Out” and “Adults Night Out” event, where families can get some much-needed rest while their children enjoy themed, educational activities right here at Easterseals Southwest Florida. We provide this monthly event with the help of our many treasured community partners.

Our services for families include:

In-Home Respite

Center-Based Respite

To learn more about respite at Easterseals Southwest Florida, call 941.355.7637.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy helps people participate in their desired occupations with the therapeutic use of everyday activities, based on the client’s personal interests and needs. Following an initial evaluation, our occupational therapy practitioners can promote independence in areas such as self-care, work, school and play.

Occupational Therapy is used to:

  • Improve sensory processing
  • Develop play skills and leisure interests
  • Improve muscle strength and range of motion
  • Improve fine motor skills
  • Increase independence through adaptive devices

Services may be provided on-site at Happiness House, in an outpatient clinic, at a child development center or adult day program, as well as at home, at school and in a variety of other care settings.

To learn more or to begin occupational therapy services, call 941.355.7637.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy services focus on preserving, developing, and restoring physical function that may have been lost due to injury, disease, aging, or congenital abnormality. Based on an initial assessment, our licensed physical therapists incorporate therapeutic exercise and physical agents to encourage independence at work, home, school, and in the community by:

  • Encouraging motor development
  • Improving functional mobility or the ability to move (including bed mobility/transfers and walking)
  • Increasing range of motion (flexibility) and strength
  • Promoting tissue (wound) healing
  • Decreasing pain and swelling
  • Incorporating safety, prevention, and education
  • Promoting fitness and health

Services may be provided on-site at Happiness House, in an outpatient clinic, at a child development center or adult day program, as well as at home, at school, and in a variety of other care settings. State and federal laws determine referral requirements and funding opportunities.

To learn more or to begin your physical therapy process at Easterseals Southwest Florida, call 941.355.7637.

Speech Therapy

Speech-language pathologists, also called SLPs, are experts in communication. SLPs work with people of all ages, from babies to adults, and treat many types of communication and swallowing problems. These include problems with:

Speech Sounds—How we say sounds and put sounds together into words. 

Language—How well we understand what we hear or read and how we use words to tell others what we are thinking. In adults this problem may be called aphasia.

Literacy—People with speech and language disorders may also have trouble reading, spelling and writing.

Social Communication—How well we follow rules, like taking turns, how to talk to different people, or how close to stand to someone when talking. This is also called pragmatics.

Voice—How our voices sound. We may sound hoarse, lose our voices easily, talk too loudly or through our noses, or be unable to make sounds.

Fluency—Also called stuttering, is how well speech flows. Someone who stutters may repeat sounds, use “um” or “uh,” or pause a lot when talking. Many young children will go through a time when they stutter, but most outgrow it.

Feeding and Swallowing—How well we suck, chew and swallow food and liquid. A swallowing disorder may lead to poor nutrition, weight loss and other health problems. This is also called dysphagia.

To learn more about speech therapy at Easterseals Southwest Florida, call 941.355.7637.

 

Behavioral Therapy

Our behavior therapy team collaborates with caregivers, teachers and parents to make learning fun and engaging, while also promoting growth and positive development. Interventions are based on the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis and are aimed at increasing the individual’s language, learning, and independence. We also help them overcome challenging behaviors by teaching alternatives and increasing flexibility, which leads to better results and happier people!

Goals often seen in plans include: 

  • Increasing requests for things the person wants  
  • Sharing with peers/playing appropriately with peers 
  • Toilet training 
  • Decreasing challenging behaviors  
  • And so much more that are based on the person’s needs! 

To learn more about behavioral therapies at Easterseals Southwest Florida, call 941.355.7637.

Neurofeedback

Neurofeedback is a non-invasive treatment that encourages the brain to develop healthier patterns of activity. As a part of their initiative, the Brain Wave Center provides neurofeedback training to the students who attend Lily Preschool. The majority of the children who are positively impacted by neurofeedback meet the criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The primary goal of partnering with The Brain Wave Center is to help as many children with disabilities as possible using neurofeedback. The Brain Wave Center is also developing a research project to further prove the effectiveness of neurofeedback with children, as part of a comprehensive treatment program.

To learn more about neurofeedback at Easterseals Southwest Florida, call 941.355.7637.

Transportation

We provide daily transportation for students of Easterseals Academy and those who participate in our Adult Enrichment program. We also help with transportation to field trips, employment programs, community-based instruction, job training, volunteer services, and recreational activities.

To learn more about transportation services with Easterseals Southwest Florida, call 941.355.7637.

Employment

Easterseals Southwest Florida Employment Services is committed to helping people with disabilities find meaningful careers. In conjunction with the Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, we provide career exploration, job coaching, and supported employment services to high school students attending Easterseals Academy, adults attending Life Skills Development, and community members with physical and/or intellectual disabilities.

To learn more about employment services at Happiness House, call 941.355.7637.

Operation1Stride  

The goal of Operation1Stride is to provide a safe environment for all participants to learn basic horsemanship skills and to promote a general well-being. The program incorporates a classroom and controlled, direct interactions with horses to develop and broaden participants’ horsemanship skills and knowledge.

Participants will experience a variety of emotional benefits:

  • Reduced stress levels
  • An increase in confidence
  • Enhanced relationship skills
  • Improved ability to trust others
  • Restoration and revitalization of their physical and emotional being


Program curriculum covers equine behavior, observation skills, grooming, handling and leading horses.

To learn more about Operation1Stride, call 941.355.7637.

 

Equine-Assisted Learning

Studies have shown that interacting with horses can positively affect a participant’s:  

  • Decision-making and problem-solving skills 
  • Creative thinking and critical thinking skills 
  • Communication and interpersonal skills 
  • Self-awareness and empathy 
  • Ability to cope with emotions and cope with stress 
  • Feeling of empowerment 
  • Ability to develop healthy connections with others

Individual and group sessions are available.
 
 
To learn more about equine-assisted learning with Easterseals, call 941.355.7637.

Victory Garden 

The Victory Garden is an organically operated garden of raised vegetable beds, pollinator beds, and various fruit trees. The goal of the garden is to provide a peaceful natural environment while promoting self-reliance, sustainability skills development and social connections that foster overall healing and wellness. This is a place where people of all ages and skill levels can learn to grow and care for plants.

As an instructional garden, Easterseals Victory Garden is a place to learn new skills like how to amend the soil and add nutrients to the beds, how to plant seedlings and direct sowing beds, plant spacing, watering and companion planting. It also focuses on keeping the garden going, addressing pruning, fertilizing, pest management, staggered planting/seeding and harvesting.

Along with learning new skills, the Victory Garden provides a range of health benefits:

Along with learning new skills, the Victory Garden provides a range of health benefits:

  • Builds self-esteem and confidence
  • Reduces stress
  • Improves mood, diet and cardiovascular health
  • Increases hand-eye coordination and mental acuity


To learn more about the Victory Garden at Easterseals Southwest Florida, call 941.355.7637.

 

Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality is an immersive and interactive training therapy modality that Easterseals clients use to improve work skills, social and communication skills, hand-eye coordination and on task behavior. Other uses include calming and refocusing environments that when utilized, help our clients to reduce anxiety and focus on their other therapies and training.  

Virtual Reality is available to our Adult Enrichment Program participants and Easterseals Upper Academy students. The technology is used as a tool to help our neurodiverse clients safely experience new environments and practice new skills that will then allow them to enter a job or new experience with much less anxiety and much better prepared to succeed.  

To learn more about virtual reality with Easterseals Southwest Florida, call 941.355.7637.

Lily Preschool

The Lily School for Child Development is a licensed, inclusive early childhood and education program recognized for children 6 weeks to 5 years old. The Lily School utilizes the Creative Curriculum as the foundation of a developmentally appropriate, interactive learning environment that promotes the success of each child by:

  • Building healthy and positive self-concepts
  • Providing opportunities to think, reason, question, and experiment
  • Stimulating individual imagination, creativity, and sense of discovery
  • Promoting language development encouraging sound health
  • Safety, and nutritional habits
  • Respecting cultural diversity

 

To learn more call 941.355.7637

Easterseals Academy

Easterseals Academy provides exceptional services for students with disabilities and their families across a lifetime by empowering individuals to live their lives to the fullest.

Easterseals Academy specializes in serving Manatee and Sarasota County students, through age 22, who are challenged by developmental, physical, learning and mild behavioral disabilities, as well as autism.

Your child’s education experience will be enriched with art, music, performing arts, Spanish, yoga, organic agriculture, nutrition and movement. Our students’ wellbeing is balanced with PT-OT-speech-equine therapies including behavioral and neurofeedback as well as family support. More than special, your child is exceptional and our individualized education plans help to ensure that their progress shines brightly.

To learn more call 941.355.7637

Equine-Assisted Services

Equine-Assisted Services are therapy sessions guided by a Licensed Mental Health Therapist that is certified as PATH Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning. Participants will initially meet with the therapist for an individual evaluation to develop personalized goals for treatment. The number of sessions will be determined by individual needs. 

Individual and group sessions are available.

To learn more about equine-assisted services with Easterseals, call 941.355.7637.

Autism (ASD) Support Services

The Diagnostic Clinic at Easterseals Southwest Florida provides comprehensive diagnostic evaluations (CDE) to clients aged two through adulthood. We have two licensed clinical psychologists on staff who are qualified to diagnose autism, ADHD, learning disabilities, and any disorder listed in the DSM-5. These evaluations equip parents, teachers, and caregivers with the necessary tools to address the varied needs of the clients we serve.

  • Insurance companies require a CDE to approve needed behavioral therapy services
  • Clients receive appropriate recommendations for school and other needed services
  • Doctors utilize the CDE report to provide needed medical intervention
  • Other social services can be made available with a proper diagnosis
  • A sliding fee scale is available to qualifying clients

To learn more about our ASD services, call 941.355.7637.