Southwest Human Development joins Easterseals on Capitol Hill

Board President Karen Ramos and Board Treasurer Zandra O’Keefe with Congressman Ruben Gallego

Board President Karen Ramos and Board Treasurer Zandra O’Keefe with Congressman Ruben Gallego

Southwest Human Development Board President Karen Ramos and Board Treasurer Zandra O’Keefe united with Easterseals affiliates from across the nation on Capitol Hill this week to spark conversation and action, highlighting the need to maintain and increase funding for people with disabilities.

Representatives from Easterseals affiliates meet with elected officials every other year to initiate educational discussion and zero in on financial priorities. They give a voice to the voiceless and share stories of thousands of families benefiting from various government-funded programs. These impactful discussions prepare legislators with the data they need to make informed decisions within appropriation sessions.

“It’s important for our legislators to hear from their constituents that Southwest Human Development is a premier provider of early childhood services,” said Southwest Human Development Board president Karen Ramos. “We’re able to talk about specific programs, such as our ADAPT Shop and Children’s Developmental Center.”

Ramos explained that throughout her experience, legislators were receptive to making a critical difference in the lives they touch through the various programs. Funding for children with disabilities is top priority. Upcoming annual budgeting for programs remained a topic of discussion to ensure that the number of children served is not only maintained, but increased.

Discussions included more specific elements such as Southwest Human Development’s Head Start program. Increased funding for Head Start would allow us to serve more children in need while preserving high-quality education and learning environments.

Representatives from many legislative offices sat down for one-on-one discussions, including the offices of Arizona senators John McCain and Jeff Flake. Congressman Ruben Gallego took time out of his schedule to meet directly with Ramos and O’Keefe. Heartwarming success stories of children and families inspired conversation on the invaluable nature of the programs Southwest Human Development provides.

“They appreciated getting to know us so they could understand the need,” said O’Keefe. “It’s important for our legislators to know the impact appropriations have on their constituents and their communities and we are here to share the facts with them so they can make informed decisions”

Southwest Human Development provides an unmatched quality of programs and services to ensure children with disabilities live the most enriching lives possible. Over 135,000 children and their families are served each year. Through educated discussion, the possibilities of growing that number are limitless.