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Organization: Easter Seals Southwest Florida

350 Braden Avenue, Sarasota, Florida 34243, 941-355-7637

Languages Spoken: English (main), Spanish-speaking therapists/interpreters available

Cause: Human Services/Education

Mission: Easter Seals Southwest Florida provides quality lifespan services to children and adults with developmental disabilities such as autism, spina bifida, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and sensory processing disorders. Operating in Manatee and Sarasota counties, Easter Seals Southwest Florida creates solutions that change lives for children, adults and families with developmental disabilities through high quality therapeutic, educational and support services. Our mission is to ensure that each person we serve reaches his or her full potential and enjoys life to the fullest.

Easter Seals Southwest Florida began in 1946 as the Sarasota-Manatee Crippled Children’s Clinic, and was renamed Happiness House later that year. From borrowed space in an empty WWII army barracks, the organization served local children impacted by the polio epidemic then sweeping the country, providing medical rehabilitation and education, patient therapy and counseling, and support services for persons with disabilities.

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In 1958 a group of local families pooled their resources and built the present facility on Braden Avenue, on the Manatee-Sarasota county border. The facility was opened as an outpatient medical rehabilitation facility and school, and offered its services to all children in the two-county area.

In 1984 Happiness House became an Easter Seals affiliate, and although it receives no funding from the national Easter Seals, this affiliation has enabled the organization to reduce administrative costs while gaining access to national Easter Seals’ resources and programs. Now celebrating 70 years of continuous service to the community, Easter Seals Southwest Florida serves Sarasota and Manatee Counties and more than 500 clients and their families annually.

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Easter Seals Southwest Florida has been part of our community for 70 years. We offer the highest quality of care and services to children, youth and adults with special needs so that they can enjoy access, opportunities and increased life choices. Easter Seals Southwest Florida is committed to remaining a leader in special needs services – an organization to which individuals and their families can turn to for resources and support with a continuum of care throughout their lives.

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