More than 25 agencies providing services and resources for individuals with disabilities attended a monthly Association of Agencies (AOA) meeting hosted by Councilmember Karyn Cunningham and the Village of Palmetto Bay.
The AOA has become the largest association of its kind in South Florida with more than 60 diverse agencies representing education, health, social and community service to network, share and come up with innovative ideas that serve individuals with disabilities.
“My nephew, Cameron, who lives in Palmetto Bay, has both physical and intellectual disabilities,” Councilmember Cunningham said. “I know all too well how isolating it can be for the individual and the families. It was very exciting to see the number of agencies and organizations that have resources that can easily be connected to the residents both in and around the Village of Palmetto Bay.”
The AOA is built on four pillars for the disabled community — living, learning, earning and serving. The group hopes to be able to work with the village to create an “Opportunities Campaign” as an initiative to promote inclusion, accessibility, independence, and resources for individuals who need opportunities to demonstrate their potential as valuable members of the community.
The AOA’s facilitator, Dr. Ken Marquard said, “I know that all those who are part of the Association of Agencies (AOA) and were able to attend last night really appreciated all the efforts that were made to allow us to share our programs and ideas, as well as enjoy a very special evening and dinner.”
Cunningham stressed the importance of the various agencies within AOA.
“Programs like Shake-A-Leg, Miami Is Kind, Center for Independent Living, Thumbs Up, Nature’s Link and so many more have such potential for not only providing resources for individuals with disabilities but also allowing them to be able to share their talents with the community,” Cunningham said.