Easter Seals to get $375,000

February 17, 2009|By MARLO BARNHART

HAGERSTOWN -- The announcement Tuesday of a $375,000 federal grant for the Easter Seals Adult Day Service Center in Hagerstown became quite personal when a client who is already benefiting told her story.

"I have come so far, thanks to all my friends at Easter Seals," said Patricia Burkett.

Now 65 and using a walker, Burkett started attending the day program at the 101 E. Baltimore St. center last April.

It became apparent quickly that Burkett needed housing that would better meet her needs. She was placed with Deb Youngbar and her husband in their Department of Social Services care-provider home and is still living there.

"She is very happy," Youngbar said. "My husband and I are her mom and dad now."

The new federal grant will allow Easter Seals to partner with the Housing Authorities of both Hagerstown and Washington County to improve the quality of life for the elderly and disabled, like Burkett.


Services such as case management, employment assistance and adult day-care services will be enhanced. The funding, which will be spread over three years, is projected to reach more than 225 seniors and adults with disabilities throughout Washington County.

Lora Hawkins, director of the Hagerstown Easter Seals program, explained that the funds will support Project LINC: Living Independently through Neighborhood Connections.

"This partnership will make things possible," said Lisa Reeves, Easter Seals president and CEO of the Greater Washington-Baltimore region. "Hagerstown is already a model for other communities in the region."

Reeves said the grant will help Easter Seals serve more people, and provide the highest quality of service for seniors and adults with disabilities in Washington County.

Mindy Propst, managing director for Easter Seals in Maryland, said she sees the grant as a way for the agency to continue and expand its work for a vulnerable segment of the Washington County population.

"It's a great opportunity for wraparound services," Propst said. "There was always lots to offer but it was piecemeal before."

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