Boca Raton, FL – September 15, 2015 – On Thursday, September 10, 2015 over 70 members of the community came together to learn about education and employment services in supports in Palm Beach County for individuals with special needs and disabilities. The following experts discussed the landscape of needs and services and shared how their organizations are working to create a more inclusive and engaging community for residents of varying abilities: Tom D’Eri, Founder and CEO, Rising Tides Carwash Michelle Dryer, Director of Community Partnerships, Career Source Dr. Mary Lou Duffy, Professor, Florida Atlantic University and Project Coordinator for the FAU Academy for Community Inclusion Ann Eisenberg, Executive Director, Palm Beach School for Autism Dawn Hicks, Executive Director, Stand Among Friends Stacey Hoaglund, Family Network on Disability, Coordinator of Partners in Policy for the State of Florida John Neveling, District Human Resource Manager in the South Florida Region, The Home Depot Keith Oswald, Chief Academic Officer, School District of Palm Beach Michelle Rubin, Founder of Autism After 21 and FAU Soaring Owls Unicorn Children’s Foundation, in partnership with Palm Beach County Youth Services, are convening community conversation to better understand the current landscape of supports and services, the gaps in available services and supports, and barriers to accessing services for individuals with special needs. Since January 2015, over 180 participants representing more than 70 private, public and civic organizations, as well as parents and individuals challenged by special needs, have come together monthly to discuss their experiences, concerns, ideas, and solutions. These community conversations are part of a larger community needs assessment on special needs and disability that was commissioned by The Unicorn Children’s Foundation with funding support from Palm Beach County Government, Quantum Foundation, Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County, Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County, Ruth Rales Jewish Family Service, Autism After 21, Els for Autism, and the Autism Project of Palm Beach County. A presentation to the larger community is planned for Tuesday, December 1, 2015 from 5-8pm at the Palm Beach County South County Civic Center to unveil a business model to create a more coordinated and comprehensive continuum of care, engagement, and inclusion for individuals with special needs and/or disability.
### Unicorn Children's Foundation is a non-profit organization providing education, awareness and funding opportunities to organizations for special needs children in an effort to help kids excel in the community. For millions of special needs children with developmental, communication and learning challenges, finding a cure is like chasing a rainbow in that a cure remains elusive. The Unicorn Children’s Foundation is expanding the collective special needs community to help acknowledge, celebrate and integrate the special qualities possessed by neurodiverse children with Autism, ADHD, Bipolar, Asperger’s, Dyslexia and other learning disorders.