Easter Seals Oklahoma
Easter Seals Oklahoma President Paula Porter
Where is your Hometown? Where did you grow up? I was born and raised in OKC metro minus a year in Dallas and a year in boarding school in Missouri.
Can you tell us about your education? I received my Bachelor’s from Southern Nazarene University in Organizational Leadership.
Are you married and do you have children and grandchildren? I have been married for 23 years and have a 20-year-old daughter, Kristin.
What do you do in your down time? I enjoy therapeutic hobbies such as gardening, reading, floral arrangement, and golf (can often be non-therapeutic as well.) I also love to spend time with our two pugs, Rigby and Ringo – can you tell by their names that I’m also a Beatles fan?
What is something about you most people don't know? I have a tiger salamander named Boomer whose diet consists of worms and crickets. I have since learned how to maintain a worm farm for him. He came to me by “accident” but it’s been interesting and everyone is always surprised that I would actually keep, feed or touch a salamander.
Which do you use – Blackberry or IPhone or other smartphone and why? I am an iPhone fan. I had a Blackberry at one point and made the switch to an iPhone and would never go back. It is by my side 24/7 and I would be lost without it. I love that I can find an app for anything. I was looking for gas this weekend and my daughter told me about an app to find the cheapest gas near us. Technology is amazing!
What brought you to your current field? My journey started with a small job at a law school in OKC working in the development office. My original intent was to attend law school and receive a reduced rate as an employee. I found out how much I loved working in non-profit and knew it was my calling. When I was asked to consider Easter Seals Oklahoma, I jumped at the opportunity and never looked back!
What is a typical work day like for you? Every day is a new day at Easter Seals Oklahoma and there is always something different happening! With an Adult Day Center on one side of the building and a Child Development Program on the other, there is usually something interesting going on in the building. One day may consist of email, phone calls, and paperwork and the next day consist of karaoke in the Adult Day Program and a visit from Rumble the Bison in the Child Development Program. I always say that it’s hard to not have a smile on your face when you are here.
What is one thing about your organization people might not realize or know? A lot of people are unaware of Easter Seals Oklahoma. Many people don’t know that we have an Adult Day Center, Child Development Program, Medical Rehabilitation Program or Direct Services for children. We have so much to offer the community!
What is the next exciting thing coming up for your organization? We are excited to be working with our Nation’s heroes at Tinker Air Force Base through the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP). The Air Force’s EFMP program provides support to military family members with disabilities. Easter Seals Oklahoma will provide desperately needed respite care to military families with children with moderate to severe disabilities.
What are the current challenges your organization is facing and what steps are you taking to address these challenges? With the weakened economy and aging population, more and more of our fellow Oklahomans are in need of assistance. We see an increase in demand for services which poses a need for increased funding to meet those growing needs.
Where do you see your organization five years from now? Building UP! We are busting at the seams and expansion is going to be a necessity for continued growth.