October 22, 2010
Melanie Mowry Etters
Communications Director
(850) 488-4257

Agency Hosts Event During Disability Awareness Month

TALLAHASSEE, FL— The Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) will launch its new APD-AmeriCorps program at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, October 27, in Sarasota, at Longwood Park. The park's address is 6050 Longwood Run Boulevard. APD Director Jim DeBeaugrine will announce this unique partnership grant to serve people with disabilities. Two new AmeriCorps members will talk about their reasons for participating in this new program. October is Disability Employment Awareness Month.

APD has been awarded an AmeriCorps grant of $389,080. The money is being used to recruit five full-time and 50 half-time AmeriCorps members throughout Florida for the APD-AmeriCorps program. Many of the positions are being filled by people with disabilities, including individuals on the APD waiting list for Medicaid waiver services. The main responsibility of these newly enrolled members will be to help other people on the waiting list for waiver services have access to community events and activities.

Many of the newly enrolled APD-AmeriCorps members will be in Sarasota to begin their required training for the program. Their responsibilities will include supporting meaningful daily activities for people on the waiting list in the areas of volunteerism, community exploration and participation, job exploration, and employment.

APD Director DeBeaugrine said, "The agency is very excited about this new partnership with AmeriCorps and Volunteer Florida. It provides much needed funding to recruit people with disabilities who will serve others with disabilities. It is a win-win-win for all involved."?

"APD-AmeriCorps is a fantastic opportunity for people with disabilities to become an AmeriCorps Member and serve Florida's communities,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of Volunteer Florida. “They will change not only the lives of those they serve, but also their own lives—gaining valuable skills and having a one-of-a-kind experience."

In addition to the APD-AmeriCorps activities, APD will partner with dozens of other disability organizations to host an Informational Fair at Longwood Park from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

The agency annually serves about 35,000 Floridians with developmental disabilities of mental retardation, autism, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and Prader-Willi syndrome. For more information on the agency, call 1-866-APD-CAREs or visit

The Governor's Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service, known as Volunteer Florida, was established in 1994 by the Florida Legislature to administer grants under the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993. The commission grants funds to Florida AmeriCorps and National Service programs; encourages volunteerism for everyone from youths to seniors to people with disabilities; coordinates volunteerism in disaster preparedness, response, and recovery; and helps to strengthen and expand volunteer engagement. For more information, visit