DD Day 2021

By Director Barbara Palmer

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day always gets me pumped up with pride for the important job our agency has serving individuals with developmental disabilities, and 2021 was no different, even though the event was entirely virtual this year. Governor Ron DeSantis issued a proclamation declaring March 30 as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day in Florida.

Two Disabilities Advocates Receive Top State Award

Two Florida residents from Tampa Bay and South Florida have received the annual Idelio Valdes Leadership and Advocacy Award, the state’s top honor recognizing an individual with a developmental disability.

Jenkins Appointed

Arizona Jenkins was recently appointed to the Mayor of Tampa’s Alliance for Persons with Disabilities Board of Directors. Jenkins is very active in his community and is excited about this new opportunity to represent people with disabilities. Jenkins is the President and Founder of New Horizons Support Group.

With Your Help, We Can Make a Difference

April is National Volunteer Month and as chair of Family Care Council Florida, I’d like to praise the work of the 15 local Family Care Councils (FCCs). These volunteers throughout the state provide education and empowerment for self-advocates in Florida, as well as their families. Family Care Council is the only family voice in Florida, and we strive for measurable and effective change on the local level and statewide. We partner with the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) to make sure self-advocates and their families have input on statewide policies.

Building a Dynamic Training Network Better

Clinical Supports and the Training Unit at State Office recently collaborated to create a new design for the Initial Medication Administration Trainer Training. This class used to be taught in-person by the Regional Medical Case Managers. When the regional offices closed due to the COVID crisis, it was obvious a new approach was needed. Medical Case Managers needed to be able to offer classes – but secure testing is a challenge in the virtual online classroom.

Timothy and Rachel Long are a Power Team

Timothy and Rachel Caylor Long – not just any couple, but a couple who has excelled in the workplace and community with a stellar and dedicated call to service. Timothy and Rachel have accomplished more in one month than many of us have done in a year's time. Timothy and Rachel are proven movers and shakers for equality and ensuring essential provisions are met for the Special Needs communities of Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.

Around the State

Customer Gets New Roof

James Hicks received a lump sum back payment from Social Security 30 years ago, and was encouraged by his then Job Coach, Kim Knobbe, to use it to buy a house. He has lived in that house ever since.

Virtual Job Mock Interviews Held

The APD Northwest Region partnered with the Escambia and Santa Rosa county schools to provide virtual mock interview opportunities to 78 students on March 5 and 12. Students participated virtually from their classrooms or from their homes.

Denise Arnold Scholarship Fund Set Up

Funds continue to be collected for a self-advocate scholarship grant named to honor former APD Deputy Director of Programs Denise Arnold who passed away on June 30, 2018. The grant will be awarded in September 2021 through a partnership the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council, Florida Association of Rehabilitation Facilities, and APD.

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