Easterseals Shows Renovations at Centennial Celebration

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – As the national Easterseals organization celebrated a century of work Friday, the local chapter took the opportunity to show how it’s preparing for the years ahead, including a $500,000 renovation of its office on Edwards Street.

“We want to make sure that as busy as everyone’s lives are, we’re being as efficient and available as possible to our community,” said Maureen Pusch, chief operating officer for the Easterseals of Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana Counties. “We have children coming here as young as six months old and one of our oldest clients in adult daycare is 103.”

Work to renovate the building began five years ago, said chief financial officer Ken Stacey, with the replacement of all windows and remodeling the front lobby. The bulk of the work – roughly $300,000 of the total cost, he said – was done in the past two years, such as building out the space needed to move hearing and speech clients here from Boardman.

“It’s more central to our mission because we serve the Mahoning, Columbiana and Trumbull County areas,” he said, adding the chapter renovated space for its skill-development programs for children with autism and moved its adult daycare into the building just south of downtown.

For the last century, across the entire organization founded in Elyria in 1919, that mission has been to provide children, adults and those with disabilities with the resources to live, learn, work and play in their communities. Among the services offered by Easterseals are physical, speech, occupational and aquatic therapies, as well as an aid for the deaf.

“We will be happy to give them a tour and we will do some screening to see based on their particular needs what they’re looking for,” Pusch said. “[We help them with] what services are available, what grants might be available to help cover the cost.”

With the centennial celebration has come a new logo and redefined programs and services with a multi-generational approach to support the changing demographics and true needs of the community. 

“We’ve changed our focus and had most of the home and community services on this end of the building, on the other end of the building we’ve relocated our therapies,” Pusch said. “Many of our clients receive multiple therapies.”

Easterseals is much more consolidated and more efficient, Pusch said. It’s a one-stop shop for clients and their families because, as a multi-generational service provider, the organization can have someone’s grandmother in the daycare and their grandchild there for pediatric therapy at the same time, said Tim Nelson, chapter president and CEO.

“We focus on providing services so people can gain independence,” he said. “We’re even prouder of being in this community delivering services to people with disabilities, people with challenges in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana County.”

And as part of a larger organization that’s been based in Ohio for 100 years, the work of Easterseals isn’t finished yet, Nelson said.

“We couldn’t be more excited to be celebrating 100 years,” he said. “We certainly expect to be here for the next 100 years.” 

Pictured: Cutting the ribbon at the renovated Easterseals building in Youngstown are Maureen Pusch, chief operating officer; Judge Robert N. Rusu Jr.; Jackie Ridel, president of Easterseals Angels; Tim Nelson, CEO & president; Joe Damore, board president; Mahoning County Comissioner Carol Rimedio-Righetti, and state Sen. Michael Rulli.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.