This year, the award was given to a very surprised Ricky Brennan, a resident of the Rose House. Ricky was invited to a “dinner” by his father, Tim, and had no idea that he was joining over 100 community leaders for the evening of awards.

Fred Nystrom, the Executive Director of LEO, in his introduction of Ricky said in part:

“Ricky is an active Aktion Club member with the Kiwanis and has worked for the past 16 years at the Issaquah Costco Warehouse. And by the way, for you employers looking for faithful employees, Ricky has never missed a day of work in all that time. One of the things Ricky enjoys doing is helping the Kiwanis Club set up their food stand for the Concerts on the Green. He is described by the Kiwanians as getting things done quickly and correctly. He has also volunteered on many other fundraisers. 

Ricky is proof that we each have the capacity to give back to our community and by doing so, we help to improve the quality of life for everyone.” 

Well done, Ricky! We are so proud to have you in the LEO family.

Wil Searing has autism and lives in an adult family home owned by the LEO organization in Issaquah, so he brings a first person perspective of many federal programs that affect his everyday life including housing, employment opportunities, and federal benefit programs. Katie Searing is a disability law attorney in Seattle practicing with the Dussault Law Group. She represents a wide variety of clients affected by disabilities and federal programs.

The Seminar is a three-day event with two days of lectures and panel discussions, and one day dedicated to “Hill visits.” Katie and Wil met with all of the Congressional delegates representing Issaquah on the federal level: Representative Dave Reichert, Senator Patty Murray, and Senator Maria Cantwell. Wil, with help from Katie, explained the importance of adult family homes in the community, employment opportunities and assistance, and educational opportunities and accommodations for individuals with disabilities.  Representative Dave Reichert, who has previously visited Wil’s adult family home, agreed that education is critically important to our society. He also let Wil sit in his chair and pick up his phone. Representative Reichert let Wil know that he has talked to the President on that phone. He asked Wil what he would say to the President. Wil promptly responded with, “You rock, Obama!”

The Seminar was a great opportunity for the Searing siblings to learn about disability policy issues and how to advocate for themselves and others in the community. Wil invited Representative Reichert, Senator Cantwell, and Senator Murray and their staff to the LEO houses to learn more about his home and how they can help the disability community back at home from Washington D.C.

We want to thank KIRO radio for visiting The Angela House on Issaquah Highlands and interviewing Evelyn Galasso, Nancy Whitaker, Rose Finnegan, and Fred Nystrom on Thursday October 1st. It features the way our homes are run in the community and how difficult it is to find a new location to build the next LEO home.

 

Athletes for Kids is a youth mentoring program that pairs children who have special needs or disabilities with high school athletes to learn from each other and impact each other’s lives.

The AFK program has helped so many children improve their self-esteem, confidence, and even overcome their fear and anxiety of going to school just by providing a consistent mentor in their life to help guide them and support them. Many of the children they work with have never had a friend or play date so AFK mentors have the opportunity to fill that void and show them that they matter.

Life Enrichment Options has had the pleasure of working with AFK on a few events and we are amazed with the work they do to support our community. And since we believe in supporting local nonprofits who are working toward the same goal, we would like to announce they are doing their annual auction on October 29th at the Embassy Suites in Bellevue! Please check out this great organization and their upcoming event: http://athletesforkids.org/

For years Jim has been an active volunteer with LEO, supporting various activities, helping with home renovation projects, and acting as webmaster for LEO’s first website.

Recently retired, Jim hopes to spend more time improving the lives of those with disabilities through LEO by doing what he can to fulfill the LEO mission and vision. He has always felt great empathy for all people who are struggling in one way or another.

Jim has lived in Washington for 27 years, the last 20 years as an Issaquah resident along with his wife, Laura, and three adult sons. His oldest son Adam is autistic and lives in the Ann Dennis Home.

After earning his Physics degree Jim taught high school science, mathematics, and computer programming classes for seven years. He spent the next 35 years working as a GIS Consultant, Applications Developer, Spatial Database Administrator, and GIS Project Manager. Most of those years were spent working for the City of Bellevue and Puget Sound Energy in Washington.

The Experience Fitness Project was the first attempt to create an athletic event that was open to children with either a cognitive or a physical challenge and it was a huge success! Waypoint Pediatric Therapies and LEO teamed up to host almost 200 participants, volunteers and families on Sunday, September 27th at Issaquah High School. Activities ranged from a 100-yard run, walk or roll, to an obstacle course. Outdoors for All also came and encouraged participants to try their adaptive equipment. ARC and Athletes for Kids were just some of the vendors/volunteers that came to support the event and distribute resources.

Allison Yocum, a LEO board member and owner of Waypoint Pediatric Therapies along with her husband, Dennis, brought the concept to LEO as a new event that would be fun and educational for any child facing a developmental challenge. Based on the success of the first Experience Fitness Project, you can expect to hear about the 2nd one in 2016.

Come get to know the LEO Board and hear what we are up to!

On August 24th from 5pm-8pm, we will be at Pogacha’s in Issaquah to talk about what is happening with LEO and how you can get involved! As an added bonus, 10% of all food sales will go to support LEO. We look forward to seeing you there, cheers!

Pogachas: 120 Gilman Blvd., Issaquah 98027

Questions? Contact Deborah Donohue: Deborah.donohue@lifeenrichmentoptions.org

Life Enrichment Option (LEO) is very pleased to announce the addition of Allison Yocum, PT, DSC, PCS to the Board of Directors.

Dr. Allison Yocum is a licensed pediatric physical therapist and owner of Waypoint Pediatric Therapies in Issaquah.  She has been working with children and young adults with disabilities and their families for over 20 years and brings to LEO a passion for providing community based fitness and physical activity opportunities for people of all ages with disabilities.

In addition to her clinical practice, Allison serves as the Regional Coordinator for the On Track Research Study, a large multi-site collaboration involving children with cerebral palsy from across the United States and Canada. She also guest lectures within the University of Washington pediatric course curriculum.

Dr. Yocum can often be found in local parks working with parents of children with disabilities to help access play equipment, coordinating annual sports and fitness-related camps and events, or on the bike trail teaching children with disabilities how to ride a bike or scooter.

Yocum and her husband Dennis are working with LEO to spearhead a new event, the Experience Fitness Project on Sunday September 27th on the field at Issaquah High School. The EFP will consist of activities for children and young adults who have physical or cogitative challenges. They can compete in events like 100m Run/Walk or Push, an Obstacle Course and other challenging and fun events.

Yocum states, “My primary area of interest is in supporting the LEO mission related to recreational opportunities for people with disabilities. I am very interested in improving participation in all aspects of community life for people with disabilities and am inspired by the progress LEO has made in our community.

For additional information: Contact Fred Nystrom 425.241.4690 or fred.nystrom@lifeenrichmentoptions.org

Please Save the Date for our Fall Luncheon on October 27th, 2015.

You are cordially invited to our Fall Luncheon to be held at Pickering Barn on October 27th, 2015. The Luncheon will be from 11:30am-1:00pm. More information and formal invitation to follow.

LEO is going offer a drum class taught by Shane Shook starting July 25th!

Shane is a local musician and teacher with nearly twenty years of drum experience. The class is a nine week session, which will be eight weeks of instruction followed by one recital. Families and friends are welcome to come to the recital so the students can show off what they’ve learned.

Location: Memorial Field House: 105 2nd Ave NE Issaquah, WA. 98027

Cost: $100 (includes recital, 8 week instruction and use of drums)

Please contact: info@lifeenrichmentoptions.org to coordinate the collection of donated instruments.