News & Information > News Releases

April 26, 2013
  CONTACT: Melanie Mowry Etters
Communication Director

Creating Memories for APD Customer

GAINESVILLE—Avid sports fan and Eastside High School graduate Joel Jesse, 25, and his parents will watch the University of Florida Gators take on rival Tennessee at 1 p.m. on Sunday, April 28, at McKethan Stadium in Gainesville. The Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) and its program called Game Changer arranged for the Jesse family to receive the donated UF tickets. Jesse is a customer of APD and has a developmental disability.

The Jesse family will arrive at 11 a.m. to get a private tour of the baseball facilities and Press Box, then meet the Gator team. Jesse will watch the pitchers warm up and batting practice. He will be on the field and stand with the team for the National Anthem prior to the first pitch.

“Our mission is to help people with developmental disabilities live, learn, and work in their communities," said APD Director Barbara Palmer. "With Game Changer, we are trying to create special life-long memories, build partnerships, and advance greater inclusion for individuals with disabilities.”

APD is coordinating with professional and collegiate sports teams to give donated tickets for various sporting events to individuals with developmental disabilities to ensure that they experience all aspects of life, including sporting events. The agency’s program, Game Changer, is designed to give an unforgettable sports experience to a person with a disability and his or her family.

APD annually serves more than 50,000 Floridians with the developmental disabilities of autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, intellectual disabilities, spina bifida, and Prader-Willi syndrome. To learn more about the agency, call 1-866-APD-CARES (1-866-273-2273) or visit