Giving Children Abilities
Our Mandate is: to enrich the lives of children in British Columbia and the Yukon by "giving children abilities"
Our Vision is: to continue providing not only specialized services and facilities, but also challenging and supporting young hearts and minds as well. Giving children with disabilities self-esteem, self-confidence and a sense of independence is what our community is all about.
Easter Seals Buses
In the past you may have seen the Easter Seals Buses which began in 1947 when a handful of Lions Club members began using their own station wagons to transport children with disabilities to school. Our specially-equipped buses are leased to private agencies transporting children to hospitals, schools, treatment centers and recreational facilities in communities around the province. Some of the Easter Seals Bus programs were eventually adopted by cities that now offer the Handy Dart program.
The Vancouver East Lions Club started the Easter Seal Transportation service with the use of 2 station wagons to drive disabled children to and from schools and medical appointments. By 1952 the Lions Clubs in the Lower Mainland were approached for help in funding and expanding the service, thus the formation of the Transportation Society. The first 2 buses were bought in 1955 and other organizations started supplying buses. 20 years later, 88 Easter Seal Buses were serving children and adults with disabilities throughout BC.
By 1976 the Easter Seal Transportation Service was the largest and most comprehensive system helping children and adults with disabilities in the world. In the next ten years the service grew to 188 buses serving 68 communities throughout BC.
Eventually part of the fleet was sold to local organizations to operate. The BC Lions Society still has several buses operating in various BC communities.
The Handy Dart logo that most people are familiar with is a Lions Society Logo that was adapted in the late 70's, and it is still in use today.
Easter Seals Houses
Since 1955, Easter Seals Houses have provided a "Home for Everyone" for children and families who need medical treatment or surgery, or are facing life threatening illness or trauma. Easter Seals Houses in Vancouver and Victoria provide a low cost, caring place to stay for parents and children. We provide over 32,000 night stays with professional staff, large rooms, activity-filled playrooms and a supportive atmosphere, where we strive to help both families and individual patients through trying times.
The original Vancouver Easter Seal House was on West 10th, the next at 625 West 12th. This house had 5 kitchen units and was close to Vancouver General Hospital. The current house at Oak & 23rd was opened in 1985 with 49 self contained units, and also serves as our head office.
The Easter Seal House in Prince George opened in July 1983 and was known as Northern Interior Easter Seal House.
In Victoria Easter Seals House opened its doors in 2000 to serve people on the Island that needed a place to stay while receiving medical treatment and many families and patients that stay with us are undergoing cancer treatment.
The Easter Seal House Society was formed and incorporated in April 1983 and approved by Revenue Canada by July 1983.
Easter Seals Camps
In 1968 BC Easter Seals Camps began providing free overnight summer camping experiences for children and teens with physical and/or mental disabilities throughout British Columbia. We own and operate three accessible camp locations: Camp Shawnigan on Vancouver Island, Camp Squamish north of Vancouver, and Camp Winfield in the Okanagan Valley. Every summer over 800 kids with disabilities come to camp to have the best week of their summer.
“The cost to the Society to send a child to Easter Seals Camp is approximately $2,400; however, we only charge a nominal administration fee of $100 per camper. The rest of the costs are covered by special events and through the generous donations of individuals and companies.”
The first camp to open was Camp Winfield in 1968. Camp Squamish opened in 1976 then a few years later in 1979 Camp Shawnigan opened.
Camp includes, heated pools, covered outdoor eating areas, BBQ pits outdoor camping areas, climbing walls, low ropes courses, giant swings and the first wheelchair accessible treehouse (Camp Squamish only), and many other wheelchair accessible areas, these three camps are a delight to all.
Timmy's Christmas Telethon
In 1977 the Annual Timmy's Christmas Telethon was broadcasted across BC. Each year in December Lions/Lioness Clubs, donors, sponsors, 24 Hour Relay Teams, Campers and Easter Seals House Guests would participate in a very successful event to raise money for the children.
The Telethon was the most financially successful Telethon per capital in Canada and raised over 83 million for the kids in the 23 years it aired on CBC TV and its affiliate stations. The Telethon had over 1 million viewers watching the show for a dedicated 19 hours.
The kids were represented by the many Timmy's like 1996 Timmy Representative, 10 year old Aaron Broverman of Surrey, BC who was a two time participant in the BC Games for Athletes with Disabilities, winning three gold medals and a silver in the club tos, shot put and relay. He enjoyed attending BC Easter Seals Camp Squamish each year and played an active role during the Telethon.
The Telethon featured performers like:
Bobby Hales Orchestra
St. George's Boys Choir
Shawn Buck & True Country Band
The Sound Sensation Dance Group
Walter Bodega Band
Famous Hosts over the years included: