By Mark Whitley
Being a participant in the 2019 Rose Parade was a proud moment in Easterseals’ history. I can personally think of no better way for us to have kicked off our 100th anniversary year than by having an award-winning float in America’s most iconic New Year Celebration.
Volunteers spent hours decorating our float in the days leading up to the Rose Parade, including preparing seeds, nuts, bark and flowers and attaching them to the float. Staff worked tirelessly to create an unforgettable experience. Supporters lifted us up in cheers, both virtually and in person. I thank everyone for making this amazing day possible!
Finally, of course, there were our incredible float riders from around the country and right here in Southern California, They were the “superstars” of the Rose Parade, along with their supportive family members. This group of individuals, ages 12 to 68, brought Easterseals’ message “Building a more inclusive future” to life. I was excited to hear from some of the riders afterwards about how they connected with members of the crowd all along the parade route. Together, we realized how meaningful it was for parade watchers with a disability to see another person like themselves riding on a float in the Rose Parade.
To danny Blake, Reagan Crabtree, Lora Glassman, Ernesto Gutierrez, Matthew Jameson, Howard McBroom, Brian Nguyen, Katie Pena, Blake Scribner, Kaison Shipp-Collier, Sabrina Stafford and Sophia Stafford, I say thank you on behalf of Easterseals for demonstrating to the world how people with disabilities should be included in all events and milestones as well as how Easterseals helps people live, learn, work and, in this case, play in their local communities!
Our 100 Year Anniversary celebration is off to a great start and I’m looking forward to more Easterseals celebrations and milestones throughout 2019 and beyond!