Easterseals South Florida has inaugurated the Karen Rossman Impact Award for an outstanding employee. The first recipient is culinary arts teacher Jacqueline (Jackie) Simeon.
The award was launched August 24 at the Easterseals Small Miracles Luncheon in the late Karen Rossman’s honor by her husband, former local and national Easterseals Chair Stephen (Steve) Rossman, co-founding partner of the Miami law firm Rossman, Baumberger, Reboso & Spier. Karen Rossman -- who had a career as an elementary school teacher, vocational rehabilitation counselor, and community volunteer -- passed away at age 62 in May 2009.
More than 250 leaders and corporate sponsors attended the annual fund-raising luncheon at the Coral Gables Country Club, as the group received proclamations from Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado (whose granddaughter is enrolled in Easterseals), and Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Giménez.
“I know firsthand what Easterseals means to the children and adults we serve. My wife, Karen, was integrally involved with Easterseals and made an impact on so many people throughout her life,” Mr. Rossman said in bestowing the award. “The award we’ve established will honor a person who made an impact on the lives of others just as Karen did.”
Ms. Simeon, known as Miss Jackie, a culinary arts and ESE (Exceptional Student Education) teacher, has worked with Easterseals for more than 13 years. Students and co-workers alike praise her, calling her a life-changing “inspiration” and “the best teacher I ever had.”
“She brings out the best in each one of her students and provides them with an environment full of love and meaningful learning experiences,” Easterseals wrote last year in bestowing the Heart and Soul award upon Ms. Simeon.
Karen and Steve Rossman discovered Easterseals in 1983 when their daughter was six years old through Joan Bornstein, who then ran the Easterseals demonstration school and went on in her 35-year career with Easterseals to oversee its South Florida’s expansion as president and CEO. The Rossmans plunged in as volunteers, culminating in Mr. Rossman’s three terms as national chairman of Easterseals from 2010-13. He is still an active board member of Easterseals South Florida. In his remarks from the dais, Mr. Rossman singled out Ms. Bornstein, who was in the audience, for inspiring the Rossmans to service over the last 34 years.
Easterseals (formerly Easter Seals) was founded in 1919 as the National Society for Crippled Children and is today the nation’s largest nonprofit services provider for children and adults with disabilities and its largest health charity. The Easterseals board oversees 75 affiliates in the United States and Puerto Rico, and Ability First Australia. Easterseals also includes global partners Easter Seals Canada and CONFE, based in Mexico City. Learn more at www.easterseals.com
About Easterseals South Florida
Commemorating 75 years of helping individuals and their families live better lives in this community, Easterseals South Florida (ESSF) has been caring for children, adults and their families since 1942 in Miami-Dade County. Serving more than 1,500 families in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, ESSF is a leading non-profit provider of services for individuals with developmental, physical and mental disabilities, autism, Alzheimer’s, and other special needs. Customized programs focus on the unique needs of the individual and the family. Primary Easterseals services include: Early Intervention, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech and Hearing Therapy, Job Training and Employment, Child Care, Adult Day Services, Afterschool Culinary Arts Program, Culinary Arts Special Needs. Learn more at www.easterseals.com/southflorida.
About Rossman, Baumberger, Reboso & Spier
Rossman, Baumberger, Reboso, & Spier, founded by Steve Rossman and Chuck Baumberger in 1974, is a Miami civil trial law firm representing the catastrophically injured and their families throughout Florida and the Southeast. The firm has a long tradition of professional leadership and community service. Mr. Rossman was international chairman of Easterseals from 2010-2013, and Mr. Baumberger was 2016 president of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) and former president of the ABOTA Foundation. Peers have consistently selected the firm’s four partners for the publication Best Lawyers in America, and the firm is listed among the Best Law Firms in America. Learn more at www.rbrlaw.com.