At ABLE United, we are proud to work with like-minded organizations to further advance our mission of helping individuals with disabilities to Achieve a Better Life Experience. You may be familiar with our newest partner, Best Buddies Florida, an organization that is deep-rooted in our state with strong programs that enrich the lives of youth and adults with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
To date, Best Buddies is represented in more than 200 elementary, middle, high schools and college campuses across Florida and has matched nearly 100 adults with IDD in one-to-one friendships in the Citizens programs in Central and South Florida. This has resulted in more than 2,600 friendships happening across the state of Florida right now.
Best Buddies Florida also offers a supported employment program, Best Buddies Jobs, in key markets across the state including Broward, Central Florida, Miami and Palm Beach. Florida staff members are currently supporting 155 adults and youth with disabilities who are either seeking or successfully employed in the community.
“Through inclusion programs that focus on one-to-one friendships, leadership development and integrated job opportunities for those with an intellectual or developmental disability (IDD), Best Buddies envisions a world where those with an IDD will someday be successfully integrated into schools, workplaces and communities,” said Andi Allen, State Director for Best Buddies Florida.
In addition to the great programs offered across the state, the six area offices plan and host regional events and trainings. These events and trainings are designed to help support the growth and development of Best Buddies student leaders and its participants with IDD. The most well-known events are the annual Best Buddies Friendship Walks. These walks are community-wide events geared towards raising awareness of programs and most importantly, celebrating the amazing friendships that happen throughout the year. This year alone, over 5,800 students, teachers, parents, siblings, and community members attended seven walk events across the state to demonstrate to their local communities the power of friendship.
“Organizations like ABLE United who support independence and quality of life for those with an IDD are instrumental in ensuring our vision becomes a reality. Through our partnership with ABLE United we are able to offer a financial savings resource to our program participants,” said Allen. “A resource that acknowledges the unique financial circumstances faced within the IDD community and affords those with special needs the opportunity to save, plan and invest for the future which was once not an option.”
By working together, we can make an impact and further enrich the lives of individuals with disabilities in Florida.