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Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month is Here

By Barbara Palmer

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month is celebrated in March, which also marks the beginning of the Florida Legislative Session this year. As director of the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD), it is important that I highlight the great things that Floridians with developmental disabilities are doing in our state. 

Hawkins Recreational Park

Representatives from the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD), local dignitaries, and people with disabilities cut the ribbon on February 27 to officially open Hawkins Recreational Park in Santa Rosa County. Hawkins Park is an accessible park for people with disabilities and their families.

Rish Recreational Park Sign Unveiling

Nestled between the sand dunes bordering the beach on the Gulf of Mexico, William “Billy Joe” Rish Recreational Park is located in the Florida Panhandle on the St. Joseph Peninsula, 30 miles west of Apalachicola and 15 miles around St. Joseph Bay from Port St. Joe.

Stakeholder Meeting

On February 23, Agency for Persons with Disabilities Director Barbara Palmer hosted a gathering of APD Regional Operations Managers and state association leaders to update them on the agency priorities for the upcoming Legislative Session.

In a Pickle

From its beginning three years ago, the Pickle Baron of Key West has had its community in mind. The owners, Dustan Carpenter and John Nutting, approached Monroe ARC (MARC) about creating a vocational program to teach people with disabilities how to work in a professional kitchen.

Disability Employment Awareness

Julius puts his talents to work at Farmer, Jaffe, and Weissing Law Firm by doing data entry and scanning documents. “At the end of the day, it’s good…to think about what I’ve accomplished,” said Julius. Learn more about Julius here:


Around the State

Northwest Region Project Search Sites Have a Professional Development Day

On February 17, the University of West Florida hosted 18 Project Search students and several vendors for a Professional Development Day.

Jackson Composes Book

Khala Jackson, an individual with a developmental disability, has composed a book called I See Jesus Horse.

Our Future Workforce

On February 2, Miami-Dade County public schools celebrated Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.

A Night to Shine at Perdido Bay United Methodist Church: A Parent’s Perspective

My young adult daughter with disabilities was thrilled to have been invited to the A Night to Shine prom. We had such a good time together prior to the event deciding which dress to wear and picking out matching shoes and jewelry. She looked so glamorous in her beautiful outfit!

Tallahassee Night to Shine

On February 10, The Tim Tebow Foundation hosted its annual A Night to Shine prom at over 350 venues across the country. In Tallahassee, the 2017 prom was once again held at Genesis Church, located at the corner of Fred George and Mission Roads.

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