Easterseals moves SoCal headquarters to Irvine
For nearly 100 years, Easterseals has been an indispensable resource for individuals with developmental disabilities or other special needs, providing exceptional services, education, outreach and advocacy. ESSC offers innovative autism therapy, adult day programs, child development services, living options, employment services and the Bob Hope Veterans Support Program.
The organization helps make it possible for children and adults with disabilities to reach their full potential and to live, learn, work and play in our communities.
To celebrate the opening and the move, Easterseals will host the inaugural Sip and Savor summer fundraiser Saturday, Aug. 18, at the new headquarters building.
With all proceeds benefiting ESSC’s programs, the evening will feature an array of delicious tastes from popular local restaurants; specialty wines, brews and spirits; live music and dancing under the stars; entertainment; an opportunity drawing; silent auction; and a tour of ESSC’s new Autism Therapy and Disability Services Center.
Celebrity chef Andrew Gruel, founder and executive chef of Slapfish restaurants and a judge on Food Network’s Food Truck Face Off and a host of FYI’s Say It to My Face! will be on hand to prepare his signature lobster roll.
“Community is the foundation of Easterseals’ cause,” says Mark Whitley, president & CEO of ESSC. “When we help someone reach their potential, we become stronger as a whole. We are grateful to those who support our mission and enable us to continue to empower those we serve to fully participate in their communities as they lead fulfilled, independent lives.”
With 2,700 employees, 60+ service sites and hundreds of community partnership locations, ESSC assists more than 10,000 people, providing adult/senior day services; autism therapy; child development/early education; employment services, veteran employment support; independent living options; and more. At Easterseals, 88% of income is spent on services.
The new Easterseals headquarters is located along the 55 Freeway across from First American Title and a few blocks from the Edwards Lifesciences campus; the extensively remodeled building will be the Autism Therapy and Disability Services Center. The center’s facilities and programs reflect the latest in research and best practices to help children with autism.
Easterseals began providing autism services in 2012, following a change in state law mandating insurance providers cover autism therapy services. The program has grown tremendously to provide 20,000 people with behavior analysis, speech, physical, and occupational therapy services over the past five years.
Over the past five years, hundreds of participants have successfully graduated from the autism therapy services and other programs Easterseals Southern California provides. “It’s incredible to see the individual success stories on a daily basis,” says Dr. Paula Pompa-Craven, Chief Clinical Officer/VP Autism Services. “From a participant who says ‘mommy’ or ‘daddy’ for the first time, to someone who enters into a traditional kindergarten class, to an individual who socializes for the first time.”
While autism services are also provided in the home, the 1,200 talented team members that comprise Autism Therapy Services will now have the Irvine location as a home base to serve clients as well as to meet with colleagues. “I am extremely proud of the team that we have built – from interventionists who are learning behavior analysis to therapists who are collaborating in new ways, and leaders who are continuously striving for quality improvement,” Dr. Pompa-Craven says.
With the move from Santa Ana, the former headquarters building is being transformed into new ESSC Adult Day Services Center, thanks in large part to a generous $1.75 million gift from the David and Molly Pyott Foundation. Molly Pyott is the chair of the ESSC board, while husband David Pyott is a philanthropist and former CEO of Allergan, long based in Irvine.
Once opened next year, the Santa Ana center will serve up to 200 individuals through on-site and community-based programs, providing them with the opportunity to become active members of the community by learning work-related skills and engaging in regularly scheduled volunteer work, community service projects and other ventures.
“The original Santa Ana corporate office location holds a special place in the hearts of the staff and board members of Easterseals Southern California,” said Molly Pyott. “Transforming the property into a state-of-the-art, adult day services center has elicited tremendous feelings of pride for us all. The expansion of important, life-changing services will create profoundly positive differences for people with disabilities in our community.”