Easterseals Southwest Florida has been part of our community for nearly 75 years. We offer the highest quality of care and services to children, youth and adults with disabilities so that they can enjoy access, opportunities and increased life choices. Easterseals Southwest Florida is committed to remaining a leader in special needs services and an organization to which individuals and their families can turn for resources and support with a continuum of care throughout their lives.
We provide exceptional services for persons with disabilities and their families across a lifetime by empowering individuals to live their lives to the fullest.
Easterseals Southwest Florida began in 1946 as the Sarasota-Manatee Crippled Children’s Clinic and was renamed Happiness House later that year. From borrowed space in an empty WWII army barracks, the organization served local children impacted by the polio epidemic then sweeping the country, providing medical rehabilitation and education, patient therapy and counseling, and support services for persons with disabilities.
In 1958 a group of local families pooled their resources and built the present facility on Braden Avenue, on the Manatee-Sarasota county border. The facility was opened as an outpatient medical rehabilitation facility and school and offered its services to all children in the two-county area.
In 1984 Happiness House became an Easterseals affiliate, and although it receives no funding from the national Easterseals, this affiliation has enabled the organization to reduce administrative costs while gaining access to national Easterseals’ resources and programs. Now celebrating 70 years of continuous service to the community, Easterseals Southwest Florida serves Sarasota and Manatee Counties and more than 1,300 clients and their families annually.
Easterseals Southwest Florida-Happiness House has been part of our community for 70 years. We offer the highest quality of care and services to children, youth and adults with special needs so that they can enjoy access, opportunities, and increased life choices. Easterseals Southwest Florida is committed to remaining a leader in special needs services – an organization to which individuals and their families can turn for resources and support with a continuum of care throughout their lives.
Since 1946, Easterseals Happiness House has been the indispensable resource for people and families living with disabilities, touching thousands of lives through its programs, services, and community involvement. From its humble beginnings, the organization has transformed through the years, expanding its reach in an ongoing effort to help as many local families as possible. Today, we are changing the way the world defines and views disabilities by making profound, positive differences in peoples’ lives every day.
- November 12, 1946 – Manatee-Sarasota Crippled Children’s Clinic opens.
- December 14, 1947 – Name changed to Happiness House Clinic and School.
- August 1949 – Manatee and Sarasota Easter Seal Societies incorporate with identical constitutions and by-laws providing continued support for Happiness House.
- October 11, 1958 – Braden Avenue facilities open.
- January 18, 1985 – Happiness House and Easter Seal Society merge.
- July 20, 1997 – Project Rainbow merges with Easter Seal Society
- November 14, 2001 – Name changed to Easter Seals Southwest Florida, Inc.
- January 2016 – Easterseals Southwest Florida rebranded to Easterseals Happiness House.
- January 2019 – Easterseals strategically aligns with InStride Therapy.
- June 2019 – Easterseals strategically aligns with ABA Academy for applied behavioral analysis, therapy, and education.
- January 2021 – Easterseals and InStride merge.
- October 2021 – Easterseals celebrates its 75th Anniversary.