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Our History

It started with a few volunteers

In 1936, Mrs. William E. Gavin heard of a club of 12 teenagers with disabilities had formed for socialization. She contacted her friend, Mrs. P. R. Mallory, and the two volunteers became engrossed in aiding the group by expanding the program to include profitable handicrafts.

In 1939, the group became formally organized under the leadership of The Indiana Society for Crippled Children and a year later became an affiliate of what is now National Easter Seals and leased a building at 30th and New Jersey streets. A curative workshop was established to prepare persons with disabilities for jobs in the community.

In 1956, the organization moved to a newly built two-story structure at 3242 Sutherland Avenue, and in 1958, became an affiliate agency of the United Way of Central Indiana.

In 1979, the introduction of a computer programmer training program initiated a new era for employment options, and Easter Seals Crossroads became a recognized leader in the use of technology to create opportunities for persons with disabilities of all ages. As technology evolved over the next two decades, so did the technology services provided by Easter Seals Crossroads. Computer programmer training gave way to The Assistive Technology Center, a nationally recognized leader in assistive technology.

Today, Easter Seals Crossroads boasts one of the nation's most comprehensive rehabilitation programs and is headquartered in a five-story building (4740 Kingsway Drive) purchased and renovated in 1990.

Over the years, programs and services have grown and advanced to meet the needs of children and adults with disabilities in central Indiana. Today, our programs include physical, occupational and speech therapies for children and adolescents, as well as early intervention services and augmentative communication; adult day services; employment and placement services, including supported employment; driver evaluation and training; home modification services; assistive technology programs; Deaf services and Crossroads Industrial Services.

Easter Seals Crossroads will continue working with children and adults with disabilities and special needs and their families to promote growth, dignity and independence by providing appropriate and progressive services in central Indiana.

Easter Seals Crossroads: A Timeline

1936
Group of teenagers with disabilities initiated social activity program under volunteer leadership of Mrs. William Gavin. Mrs. P. R. Mallory became involved, and the group began to produce saleable handicrafts, while meeting in churches, homes, and community centers.

1939
The group became more formally organized under the leadership of The Indiana Society for Crippled Children.

1940
The group, known as The Crossroads, became an affiliate of the National Society for Crippled Children (The National Easter Seal Society) and leased headquarters at 39th and New Jersey.
A curative workshop was established in the facility, designed to prepare persons with disabilities for jobs in the community.

1949
Roy Patton was named Executive Director, a position he held for 25 years. Programs of physical therapy and preschool education were added.

1956
A barrier-free, two-story rehabilitation center was opened at 3242 Sutherland Avenue. Programs expanded to include occupational therapy and social services. Added in the next few years were speech therapy, activities of daily living, psychological services, vocational evaluation and recreational programs.

1958
Affiliated with United Way.

1959
Vocational workshop expansion added to the building. A 50% increase in vocational clients was experienced in the 1960s with addition of research and demonstration projects, programs for persons with developmental disabilities and/or Deaf and hearing impaired, and educational programs for rehabilitation services.

1963
New wing built to increase psychological and social services, education programs, a developmental program for children, and physical therapy exercise room.

1970
Expanded Children’s Developmental Program, accommodating 200 children. Teletypewriter communication system installed for Deaf clients.

1971
Communications Therapy Program formed for the Deaf as well as for children (ages 4 to 15) with multiple disabilities; only program of its kind in Indiana.

1973
Job Seeking Skills course developed. Deaf program in its 12th year.

1974
John J. Christy, Col., USA, Ret., became new Executive Director. Received one of two national grants from Department of Health, Education and Welfare for expanded program for severely disabled Deaf adults.

1975
Multi-dimensional, objective vocational evaluation system, speech pathology and comprehensive audiology services were added.

1977
Mobile Unit was outreach effort to provide evaluation services to individuals in contiguous counties. Audiometric suite purchased and Infant Stimulation Program for babies one month to two years established.

1978
Crossroads Industrial Services moved from Sutherland building to West 16th Street location.

1979
Staff numbers at 110, as compared to 62 in 1974.

1980
James J. Vento became Executive Director (title later changed to President).

1982
Information Processing Career Training program introduced.

1983
Speech and language program conducted in satellite facility in Hamilton County for children 3 to 5 years old.

1985
Crossroads Industrial Services moved into 67,500 square foot building at 33rd and Franklin Road.

1986
Disabled Driver Evaluation and Training program added. Fiftieth Anniversary celebrated. Supported Employment Program launched successfully.

1987
Established a Sensory Aids Technology Center with funding from the Indiana Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation to assist people who are blind or visually impaired learn to access computers through the appropriate devices.

1989
Purchased 19.5 acres and five-story building in Willowbrook Office Park near 52nd and Keystone.

1990
Moved into newly renovated building at 4740 Kingsway Drive. Named Central Indiana Technology Resource Center, part of a federally funded state-wide project.

1991
Specially designed playground for children with disabilities opened; funding provided by David Letterman and private donations.

1992
Sensory Aids Technology program expanded to Assistive Technology Center for all disabilities.

1993
Augmentative Communication program expanded.

1994
President Jim Vento awarded National Easter Seals Medders Award as top executive of the year at National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio.

1996
Inclusive childcare program opened; named Kids’ Crossing.*

1998
Off-site childcare program opened on Fall Creek.*

1998
Crossroads Industrial Services awarded NISH contract with U.S. Army.

1999
Lilly Endowment made gift of $1,000,000 to fund a comprehensive upgrade of internal technology.

1999
Ruth Lilly grant of $1,000,000 to establish the Ruth Lilly Assistive Technology Center. Ruth Lilly named Philanthropist of the Year by National Easter Seals.

1999
“Cool Hands” program awarded National Easter Seals Program Innovation award.

1999
Kids’ Crossing opened at Diversified Systems, Inc. at 56th & Guion Road.*

2000
Assistive Technology office opened in Las Vegas, Nevada.

2000
Easter Seals Crossroads assumed the Indianapolis Speech and Hearing Center, and Deaf Community Services became part of Crossroads.

2001
Easter Seals Crossroads opened an Adult Day Services program.

2001
Wade Wingler, Manager, Ruth Lilly Assistive Technology Center, named winner of the Lou Lowenkron Program Innovation Award from National Easter Seals.

2002
Barbara Gordon, Crossroads consumer, named Easter Seals Adult Representative for 2003.

2003
Created a Wellness Garden for use of consumers and staff.

2004
Crossroads Industrial Services building at 8302 E. 33rd Street, previously leased, purchased by agency.

2005
Crossroads Industrial Services completed a $800,000 renovation, courtesy of the United Way of Central Indiana Capital Project Fund and made possible through a grant by Lilly Endowment, Inc.

2006
Easter Seals Crossroads opened south location at S. Emerson & Edgewood Avenues. Crossroads Industrial Services awarded ISO 9001:2000 certification.

2007
Assistive Technology Center expanded to eight regional sites throughout Indiana via funding from the Indiana Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation, Division of Blind and Visually Impaired. The INDATA Project created to be the statewide provider of the federal Assistive Technology Act. Project SEARCH/Indiana opened at Community Hospital East.

2008

  • Awarded $1,500,000 grant from Lilly Endowment, Inc. to provide innovative autism services.
  • The first annual Autism Expo took place.
  • Camp R.O.C.K.S!, a week-long camping experience for teenagers with autism began.
  • Multi-sensory rooms installed at Easter Seals Crossroads.
  • Respite Care services expanded in size and scope via a second grant from Lilly Endowment, Inc.
  • Project SEARCH / Indiana started its first class at Community Hospital East.  A collaborative program originating at Cincinnati Children's Medical Center, Project SEARCH provides employment and educational opportunities for final year high school seniors with significant disabilities.
     

2009

  • Grand Opening of the Autism Family Resource Center took place.
  • CampAbility program expanded to the South side.
  • Crossroads Industrial Services received ISO 9001:2008 certification.
  • Deaf Community Services expanded to first floor office.
     

2010

  • INDATA Depot Grand Opening, which operates as an equipment reutilization program where we accept walkers, shower chairs, canes, CCTVs, video magnifiers, crutches and other assistive technology devices.  Items are sanitized, repaired and given to individuals with disabilities in Indiana for free.
  • Project SEARCH / Indiana opened its second location with its first class in Indianapolis at Community Hospital North during August.

     

2012

  • Easter Seals Crossroads secured funds from Newman's Own Foundation to begin a community convening to expand services for veterans.
  • The Autism Family Resource Center and Behavioral Treatment Services received $700,000 in additional funding from the Lilly Endowment.
  • James Vento, President/CEO of Easter Seals Crossroads, receives the James Pauley Lifetime Service Award at the Mayor's Advisory Council on Disability ceremony held July 26, 2012.


2013

  • The Autism Diagnostic Clinic - a collaboration of Easter Seals Crossroads and Peyton Manning Children's Hospital at St. Vincent opens in the Easter Seals Crossroads facility on January 10, 2013.
  • James Vento, President / CEO of Easter Seals Crossroads for 32 years, retired.
  • J. Patrick Sandy, Vice President of Easter Seals Crossroads for 15 years, was selected by the Board of Directors' national search committee as the new President / CEO of Easter Seals Crossroads.
  • Crossroads Industrial Services acquired an existing document services company and operations of Crossroads Document Services began at its location at 8302 East 33rd Street in Indianapolis.
  • Easter Seals Crossroads secured funding for the Military and Veterans Initiative and became a subcontractor for a statewide veterans' services grant.


2014

  • Easter Seals Crossroads in partnership with Hear Indiana opens the Speech and Hearing Resource Center at Easter Seals Crossroads to provide speech therapy, audiology, information and referral, school outreach and counseling for parents of children who are deaf or hard of hearing.


2015

  • Adult Day Services opens at the new Easter Seals Crossroads Thompson Road location, previously Handi Capable Hands.

CARF Accreditation Information

Easter Seals Crossroads has been accredited by CARF for the following Employment Services, Community Services and Medical Rehabilitation Programs:

• Adult Day Services

• Adult Outpatient Medical Rehabilitation Programs

• Children and Adolescent Outpatient Medical Rehabilitation Programs

• Employment Services
Job Development
Job Supports
Job-Site Training
Comprehensive vocational Evaluation Services
Employment Skills Training Services

• Community Services
Assistive Technology Supports and Services
Supports for children with autism spectrum disorder
Supports for persons with autism spectrum disorder

CARF accreditation recognizes these programs at Easter Seals Crossroads for maintaining as their primary objective outcome-driven rehabilitation services through integrated, coordinated, and individualized programs. Learn more about CARF at www.carf.org.