March 9, 2021

Everything You Need to Know About The Annual Family Café

Everything You Need to Know About The Annual Family Café
ABLE United team at the 2019 Family Café  

The Annual Family Café is incredibly unique and remarkable in its ability to bring thousands of individuals with disabilities and their families together to connect, identify resources and learn from each other  and it is the largest statewide cross-disability event in the nation 

As an organization founded and staffed by family members of individuals with disabilities, The Family Café understands that this community often faces financial challenges. That is why there has never been a registration fee to attend the annual event. 

What to Expect 

The Family Café is committed to addressing the real-world needs and concerns of the disability community. Theiwide range of breakout sessions are developed by the Planning Committee which consists of representatives from state agencies that serve individuals with disabilities, partner disability organizations, families, and advocates. The committee considers feedback that they collect from attendees, as well as their own expertise, as they set the agenda and select breakout sessions for inclusion.   

Sessions at The Annual Family Café cover a wide range of topics. To help attendees find the right info to meet their needs, some sessions are organized into “tracks.” This year tracks will include:  

  • Advocacy 
  • Assistive Technology 
  • Birth through Age Five (early childhood) 
  • Dads 
  • Disaster Preparedness 
  • Employment 
  • Mental Health 
  • Military Families 
  • Recreation 
  • Smart Money (financial planning) 
  • Youth (transition-age youth and emerging adults) 

Additionally, sessions outside of those tracks will touch on an array of topics, including the arts, specific disabilities, and conversational roundtables.  

Top Reasons to Join 

People sometimes ask where the name The Family Café comes from, and there are a few reasons. First, a café is a friendly place where anyone can walk in and get what they want. The idea for the event was first developed by people sitting around a kitchen table, too, so the theme seemed to fit. But most importantly, “café” is an acronym for the organization’s values that also tells you why it’s worth being a part of The Family Café. 

CollaborationAdvocacyFriendshipEmpowerment  

And of course, there’s one more reason to be part of The Family Café – and that reason is Fun 

There’s a lot to be learned by getting connected with The Family Café, and a lot of work to be done to build a more inclusive world, but it’s also important to have a great time, spread positivity, and celebrate an inclusive community. 

COVID – 19 Precautions 

Last year, The Family Café and their Planning Committee made the decision to transform the event into a virtual one. Instead of bringing thousands of people together for three days, they offered a series of 26 interactive live sessions over two-week period in June 2020. 

While there were aspects of the virtual event that worked well, and many people appreciated the ability to view content online, nothing takes the place of face-to-face interaction of a traditional Annual Family Café.  

At this point, it’s too early to say exactly what The 23rd Annual Family Café will look like, but the organization is hopeful to see everybody in person at the Hyatt Regency Orlando from June 11 – 13.  

How to Get Involved 

As a small nonprofit organization, The Family Café relies on the families they serve to spread the word about what they offer. To learn more, donate or to register for this year’s annual event, visit familycafe.net