Easter Seals is bringing young women with disabilities together through the national expansion of the Thrive program.
Women across the country will now have digital access to the Massachusetts-based program, Easter Seals announced today.
Thrive empowers young women to achieve their goals and independence through one-on-one mentoring. In 2012, a group of women created the program to address a growing need for support of youth with disabilities as they transition into adulthood - a time when they are expected to gain more independence. Thrive provides young women with personalized support as they navigate through these life changes. Each member of Thrive is paired with an older, adult mentor based on a variety of factors including location, availability, life experiences, interests and disability.
"Thrive challenges my idea of what successes are possible," said Sandy Ho, Thrive Program Coordinator. "As a young woman with a disability I continuously find myself trying to measure up to my peers, colleagues, or family members - very few of whom are women with disabilities. Thrive helped me realize that my own life experiences were not necessarily unique, but a lifestyle that had patterns many other women with disabilities were familiar with. Thrive is empowering a community from those life experiences!"
The national launch of Thrive's digital community gives millions of women an opportunity to utilize life experiences and advocacy from one another.
Digital mentor interaction is coordinated through email, video-chat and phone. In addition to mentoring, Thrive is encouraging young women to interact with one another through their active social media community, book club and a series of Google Hangout chats. Thrive continues to operate their on-site mentorship program at Easter Seals Massachusetts. Easter Seals affiliates will begin adapting Thrive's on-site services in the coming years.
"We are pleased to announce the expansion of Thrive, a program that has been instrumental in helping young women reach their full potential," said Jim Williams, Easter Seals president. "Easter Seals is proud to support youth of all abilities as they enter a new chapter in life. The Thrive digital community will help millions of women realize they're not alone in whatever challenges they may face."
"Working as part of a team at Easter Seals to develop Thrive has been a rewarding experience not only as a professional, but also personally as a woman with a disability," said Colleen Flanagan, Easter Seals Massachusetts Youth Services Coordinator. "I still remember the struggles of being an adolescent girl growing up with a disability. I hoped to find a community to share my fears and frustrations of being a teenage girl with a disability. I wanted to meet mentors and peers who had disabilities like mine, and who also like me, had the ability to thrive. I am proud to contribute to the work Easter Seals is doing to empower the next generation of young women with disabilities."
Easter Seals is the leading non-profit provider of services for individuals with autism, developmental disabilities, physical disabilities and other special needs.
For more nearly 100 years, we have been offering help, hope, and answers to children and adults living with disabilities, and to the families who love them. Through therapy, training, education and support services, Easter Seals creates life-changing solutions so that people with disabilities can live, learn, work and play in their communities. For more information visit www.easterseals.com
The Easter Seals Thrive program facilitates personal growth and empowerment for women with disabilities during life transitions. Thrive's mission is to provide young women with disabilities support to achieve their goals and independence. Thrive was established at Easter Seals Massachusetts by a group of women to meet a need for support of youth with disabilities as they transition into adulthood. For more information visit www.easterseals.com/thrive/