Florida ARF & RESPECT of Florida Participate in 30th Anniversary of the ADA Events

Tallahassee, FL (July 24, 2020) Today, employees of Florida ARF and RESPECT of Florida participated in the virtual statewide celebration to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This landmark legislation was signed into law 30 years ago this month and has had a tremendous impact on the lives of individuals with disabilities. Governor Ron DeSantis issued a proclamation declaring July 24th “Americans with Disabilities Act Awareness Day” to commemorate the anniversary of the federal bill. The online celebration, included a welcome message from Governor DeSantis.  Governor Ron DeSantis said, “The ADA has removed barriers to allow individuals with disabilities the chance to achieve their goals. Florida is happy to be an accommodating state. Florida’s constitution, the ADA, and the laws of our state affirm equality and inclusion for people with unique abilities.” Attendees heard from several other speakers during the festivities in addition to the Governor. The Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD), Florida Association of Rehabilitation Facilities, RESPECT of Florida, ABLE United, The Able Trust, Florida Association of Centers for Independent Living, Ability 1st, Blind Services, Vocational Rehabilitation, and many other stakeholders hosted Florida’s celebration. Florida ARF / RESPECT of Florida staff were pleased to assist with sponsorship of the ADA celebrations held across the State and participated in their own unique version of a recognition ceremony.


Florida ARF & RESPECT of Florida Move to New Office Building

Tallahassee, FL (June 29, 2020) After many years of planning, Florida ARF and RESPECT of Florida have moved to new headquarters. The Association is pleased to have been able to secure a permanent home located close to downtown Tallahassee. The property is located at 1113 East Tennessee Street, Tallahassee, FL 32308, and has been renovated to be ADA compliant. The space and modifications will meet the current and future needs of the Association. “Our new home has been a vision of the Association for many years and has now become a reality,” said President & CEO Suzanne Sewell. The staff at Florida ARF and RESPECT of Florida look forward to serving you out of our new location and to the time when our members and RESPECT Employment Centers will be able to visit our new offices.


Florida ARF Recognizes Accomplishments of Two DSPs

Tallahassee, FL (May 6, 2020) Every year Florida ARF’s national affiliate ANCOR presents the Direct Support Professional (DSP) of the Year Awards. This year due to COVID-19, the ANCOR Award presentation was conducted virtually. During the ceremony, ANCOR recognized 55 outstanding professionals as the recipients of the 2020 DSP of the Year Awards. These extraordinary and essential professionals work tirelessly every day to solve problems, engineer solutions, adapt, innovate, listen and support. Because of their work, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are better equipped to live quality lives in truly inclusive communities. Florida was fortunate to have two deserving DSPs from BrightSpring Health Services as award recipients in 2020.
Judy Saffold was recognized by ANCOR as the Florida Direct Support Professional of the Year. Saffold, based in the Clearwater area, was recognized for her efforts in bringing person-centered goals and approach to the individuals she serves. Through her 40-year career as a DSP, she has been a leader among peers for her work supporting people with disabilities, helping them to live meaningful and productive lives as part of their communities.
Charlin Quiñones Viera was recognized by ANCOR as the recipient of its special award for Leadership. Quiñones Viera, a DSP in Ocala, was recognized for her role as a lead trainer for her shifts and for ensuring that that all new employees understand their roles as DSPs. She is a leader in cultivating protocols to ensure that individuals served have uninterrupted support at all times.
Florida ARF is proud to have two of our state’s DSPs who are critical to the service system recognized for their hard work and dedication to serving individuals with disabilities. Congratulations to Judy and Charlin!


Florida ARF Members Navigating COVID-19 Pandemic

Tallahassee, FL (April 14, 2020) COVID-19 has turned life as we know it upside down across the country and internationally. Our members and the individuals they serve are navigating through a new reality in the provision of community-based services. Florida ARF has been working consistently to provide information and guidance to member agencies to help them weather the COVID-19 storm. The Association has been a part of many calls and communications with Agency Heads to convey member needs and to obtain answers so that our members can continue to operate their programs and services. While the pandemic has been a major “game changer” in how we function, we are confident our members and the Association will be even stronger and will demonstrate even more profoundly how community providers continue to make a meaningful difference in the lives of individuals with disabilities. As President & CEO Suzanne Sewell stated, “the resiliency and resourcefulness of provider agencies who are meeting the needs of individuals with disabilities is truly remarkable. Our members continue to impress us with their commitment to providing excellent care and services in the face of many challenges.” In the weeks to come, the Association looks forward to being fully interactive with our members and celebrating how well our members made it through this crisis. To all of you, take care and stay healthy!