Community turns out for Walk With Me eventPublished 9:38pm Saturday, March 30, 2013
In an effort to support families living with disabilities, Easter Seals held their annual Walk With Me fundraiser at Memorial Stadium Saturday morning.
Easter Seals, a national organization dedicated to bettering the lives of those with disabilities, has been serving Selma and Dallas County since 1957. Rachel Ratcliff, program coordinator for the Easter Seals Selma chapter, said hosting the walk is just another way to raise money for the organization.
“This is our signature fundraiser for the Easter Seals,” Ratcliff said. “This is our fourth year doing it in Selma but it’s a fundraiser that’s held around the United States.”
All of the proceeds raised from the walk benefitted the Easter Seals in Selma, located on Citizens Parkway. Ratcliff explained that the Seal’s mission is to provide resources and development opportunities for area children with disabilities. And all of the Seal’s resources are completely free, Ratcliff said.
“The primary thing that this walk supports is our preschool program,” she said. “Their ability to attend comes at no cost.”
Easter Seals serves Marengo, Perry, Wilcox, Lowndes, Autauga, Chilton and Dallas County. Other than children ages three to five, the organization also provides employment programs for adults living with disabilities.
“Our in-house program serves adults with work adjustment,” Ratcliff explained. “These are adults with disabilities who have usually been in special education programs in local school systems.”
Aside from raising money for a worthy organization, Ratcliff said the walk also serves as a celebration for all the successes had through Easter Seals.
Monique Barnfield, mother of Kaleb Barnfield, said Easter Seals has helped her son achieve many skills that he would have never been able to without the program.
“Easter Seals has helped my son tremendously,” Barnfield said. “Before he [joined the program] he couldn’t even speak. Now, two years later, he knows colors, ABC’s and just basic human skills to get him further in life. Because of Easter Seals he has the opportunity to become a productive citizen.”