Since we don’t have the opportunity to meet our amazing ambassadors at the Zoo this year, we found a special way to introduce them to you. Check out our YouTube playlist as we feature each ambassador. Click here.
Vivian has a sweet smile and a subtle confidence that is captivating. She is five years old and attends the Friendship Academy. The program is perfect for keeping this bright girl on pace educationally, while also providing the physical and occupational therapy she needs as a result of her cerebral palsy. Her fine motor skills have really improved as a result. She began attending The Friendship Academy when she was three and she loves it here! Vivian knows all of her letters and numbers. Some of her favorite things are music therapy and having a job in class…the most coveted of all is line leader. And here’s a fun fact, she loves lima beans, and has been know to ask for steak and lima beans for dinner. Vivian also loves pretend play, especially pretending to be a nurse, likely because of all the wonderful connections she has made in her life. She is very nurturing and, as her mom puts it, quite the spitfire! We can’t think of a better combination.
2. Miles and George
Miles and George are identical twins, however Miles has a very rare form of skeletal dysplasia and George has autism. Miles initially received assistive technology services from Easterseals, but soon after began attending The Approved Private School program. Since then he has become much more social and loves music therapy even using his “talker” to talk about his music therapist. He is also using a stander and gait trainer for strength and mobility and is also learning to use a wheelchair. When George was five, he began attending the Friendship Academy, an inclusive preschool. The Friendship Academy has helped him develop socially and emotionally. He has become much more conversational and engaged with friends at school, especially with his new bestie!
When Miles and George are home, they love being with their little brother Leo and their cat Lucy. Miles is a fan of ABC Mouse and George is a fan of Umi Zumi, but they can always agree on Sesame Street! Miles is bright and silly, with tremendous resiliency and a love of snuggles. George is a very intelligent boy who finds the sweetest and most interesting perspective on the world around him. This perspective gives him the ability to quickly make connections with everyone he meets. For identical twins, Miles and George are certainly very unique in their own, most wonderful ways.
When you meet three-year-old James, you will instantly fall in love with him. It is impossible not to. You would never know this charmer, born at 28 weeks, had to push past some pretty tough obstacles. James has cerebral palsy and cortical visual impairment. As an infant, he received home-based services through Easterseals and at age three, began attending the Friendship Academy, Easterseals inclusive preschool. Since he began with Easterseals, he started walking and talking and now that he’s in preschool, he’s working on balance and fine motor skills. He is really engaged in therapy and is so happy and proud of himself with every success. That includes his ability to open and close doors, which he is more than happy to show anyone how good he is. His parents, who are incredible advocates, are so grateful for the team that supported, and continues to support James. This includes the teams from Abington and Dupont Hospitals as well as his team at Easterseals. When he’s not in school, he loves spending time with his parents and grandparents who he simply adores! He loves push toys, building blocks and his ukulele. He’s up for any outdoor activity and is learning to ride a bike. When it’s time to refuel this adventurous eater has a palate that can appreciate M&M’s as well as cauliflower and salmon. We just know that when you meet him, that sweet voice will have you at “hello.”
Six-year-old Quinn has a great big family and they all agree that she is the sunshine at the very heart of it. When you see her smile, which clearly shines from within, you understand why. Quinn, who has cerebral palsy, has faced quite a few challenges, including multiple surgeries in her first year of life. When she was three, she began receiving home-based services from Easterseals, and within a year, began attending the center-based program. At school, this social butterfly is gaining strength and becoming more vocal. She is quite good at communicating in her own way and loves using her Big Mac to share her day her family when she gets home. She is also working on sitting independently. When she isn’t at school, she loves her days doing equine therapy! She also loves spending time on the swing set with her younger sister Riley and baby brother Dominic. Like any six-year-old, Disney movies are among her favorites and her song of choice is, of course, “The Mighty Quinn.” She also has quite a sweet tooth and simply adores donuts! We can’t wait for you to meet Quinn and see just how bright she really shines!
Mason is a sweet four-year-old that has a light that shines from within. This smart, outgoing boy has autism and attends Easterseals early intervention program. He lights up when he gets to school and those around him can’t help but smile when he does. Since he began attending Easterseals, Mason has become more social and is learning to share, even with his little sister! He is a master at technology and loves his iPad. He knows all of his shapes and colors, he can count to 50 and is learning to write his name. When he isn’t in school, this dare devil thrives on adventure! He’ll try anything once and can tell simply by the direction of the car if he’s headed on an adventure. Some favorites are Storybook Land and Johnson’s Corner Farm. When he is home, he loves Paw Patrol and Hot Wheels. When the radio is on, Mason loves to sing along, especially to Lizzo and Alicia Keys. But what is most endearing about Mason, is his ability to read people’s moods and somehow find a way to give them just what they need. According to his parents, “He’s just perfect.” We are pretty sure when you meet him, you’ll agree.