The Evolution of Easter Seals BC

On Sunday, May 24, hundreds of women from across the Lower Mainland will be participating in Woman2Warrior, Vancouver’s only all-women charity obstacle adventure race. Proceeds from the race will help raise awareness and funds to send children and youth with disabilities to Easter Seals Camps in BC. I’m writing to you in hopes that you would be interested in running a story about the evolution of non-profit organizations past the standard donation model, and how Easter Seals BC (also known as the British Columbia Lions Society for Children with Disabilities) has managed to stay fresh, current and innovative into its ninth decade of existence.

The organization’s rich history includes the Easter Seals Transportation Service that began in 1947 to provide transport for children with disabilities to and from school and medical appointments, and the Easter Seals Houses that opened in 1955 to provide a home for children and families needing medical treatment. In 1968, Easter Seals Camps began providing free overnight summer camping experiences for children and teens, eventually transitioning into one full week of learning and fun.

 While legendary Easter Seals BC fundraising events, such as Timmy’s Christmas Telethon, still operate today, the organization has evolved to develop a series of annual events to maintain optimal awareness, relevancy and engagement with donors, beneficiaries and the wider community. These events include:

  • Easter Seals Drop Zone (September 9), which sees 100 participants fundraise for the opportunity to repel down a 20-storey building at 999 West Hastings Street
  • Easter Seals 24 Hour Camp Challenge* (June 13-14), the new-and-improved event formerly known as the Easter Seals 24 Hour Relay, gives groups a full round-the-clock camping experience with outdoor activities, a scavenger hunt and a community campfire at Easter Seals Camp Squamish
  • Woman2Warrior* (May 24) offers hundreds of strong, determined and powerful women of all ages and fitness levels the opportunity to tackle a 5 kilometer course and a dozen secret obstacles at Swangard Stadium and Burnaby Central Park

*Easter Seals 24 Hour Camp Challenge is also scheduled in Victoria at Camp Shawnigan on June 6-7 and Woman2Warrior is scheduled in Victoria at Westshore Parks & Recreation on August 30, 2015!

Through these evolving initiatives, Easter Seals BC has grown into a strong network of support programs for children with disabilities across BC and the Yukon. They now offer 7 post-secondary educational awards for children with disabilities, send over 800 kids to camp every summer and host over 30,000 bed nights per year that accommodate both children and their parents. It is through programs such as Easter Seals Camp and charity events such as Woman2Warrior, that Easter Seals BC is able to help children with disabilities build self-esteem, self-confidence and a sense of independence.

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