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 Aug. 24 at the Easterseals Small Miracles Luncheon, in honor of the late Karen Rossman, by her husband, former local and national Easterseals chair Stephen (Steve) Rossman of Coral Gables. Rossman is 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 in May 2009 at age 62.
More than 250 leaders and corporate sponsors attended the annual fundraising 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,” 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.”
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 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 chair of Easterseals from 2010 to 2013. He still is an active board member of Easterseals South Florida.
In his remarks from the dais, Rossman singled out Bornstein, who was in the audience, for inspiring the Rossmans to service over the last 34 years.
Learn more at www.easterseals.com.