BALLWIN, Mo. — Easterseals Midwest has invited congressional office staff members, community leaders and local elected officials to learn more about their work with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout Missouri.
Easterseals Midwest, a century-old disability service provider, is hosting an open house Friday in Ballwin to inform local lawmakers and leaders about the work it does to help children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities gain skills to achieve all life has to offer and to live as independently as possible in their community.
The St. Louis County, Easterseals Midwest event, will be held at 1 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 12 at 13545 Barrett Parkway, Suite 300 in Ballwin.
“Our mission is to empower people with disabilities to live happy and purposeful lives. Each program we offer equips families and individuals to do just that. I’m excited to share the impact and importance of our services with national leaders – Easterseals’ services not only support individuals with disabilities, but also the families who love them,” said Wendy Sullivan, chief executive officer of Easterseals Midwest.
Easterseals’ main objective at the open house is to make sure elected officials are informed, particularly about the funding for people with developmental disabilities.
“There’s a significant portion of Medicaid funding that provides long-term services and support for people with developmental disabilities and we want to make sure the elected officials understand how that funding and health and services help people become more independent,” Sullivan said. “I think unless your life has been touched by a developmental disability, like down syndrome or cerebral palsy or autism, you probably aren’t aware of how the services can work and how important this funding is.”
Over the last several months, Easrterseals Midwest has hosted events in Columbia, Cape Girardeau, Springfield and Kansas City. Easterseals Midwest’s programs are funded through state and federal Medicaid programs.
Easterseals Midwest will have staff on hand to talk about what they do. Some of the people with disabilities that Easterseals Midwest serves and their parents also will be at the event to talk about how their live are supported through the funding.
Sullivan said Easterseals Midwest will give a presentation on their services followed by an opportunity for open discussion.
“We’re really aware that there’s a lot of discussion about changes in the Medicaid program and we just want to make sure that the people making the decisions have all the information,” she said.
Staff from the offices of Congresswoman Ann Wagner and State Treasurer Eric Schmitt will be in attendance, along with Reps. Shamed Dogan and Dean Plocher.
“We just want to make sure that in all the discussions about tax reform, entitlement reforms and changes in government, we just want to make sure that the most vulnerable citizens of our state — people with developmental disabilities — that their voices are heard,” Sullivan said.