The goal of the collective impact programs is to galvanize the community to work together to create lasting solutions to the large-scale social problems that impact individuals with special needs, their families and the community at large. These programs ensure the coordination of efforts by multiple stakeholders towards a clearly defined goal.
UCF provides proprietary character development toolkits to classrooms designed to help students create a culture of understanding, acceptance, inclusion and respect by encouraging meaningful change in pre-school and elementary schools. This curriculum helps teachers and students understand that some of their peers may think, communicate, and learn differently. Children with special needs are an easy target for bullies because of their desire to fit in and make friends coupled by their challenges in understanding social cues. More and more doors to inclusive opportunities are opening for individuals with special needs, but these very doors may also make them more vulnerable to bullying by their peers. We have found that this curriculum helps to break down myths and fears before they develop into stereotypes and stigmas which ultimately result in isolation and bullying. It is our belief that by talking about how each of us have different abilities and how one can be a supportive friend no matter what kind of help another child needs, we can create a cohort of compassionate and supportive peers.
Special Needs Advisory Coalition Palm Beach County (SNAC PBC)
Founded in 2015, SNAC PBC is a regular convening of representatives from the public and private sector who have an interest in special needs services and supports to encourage cooperation, collaboration, and coordination of efforts to create a comprehensive continuum of care. Since the group’s initial Community Needs Assessment, the 160 member organizations continue to meet monthly to share current best practices, observations, and needs. Finally, as the findings of our original Community Needs Assessment near the five-year mark, SNAC PBC is also looking forward to a follow-up assessment to benchmark progress towards established goals and identify new developments and needs.
The Unicorn Junior Board is designed to cultivate a pipeline of future leaders and encourage diversity. It provides a platform for neurodiverse individuals to come together to generate innovative ideas to some of the complex issues affecting individuals with special needs and develop leadership skills and gain a sense of philanthropy while partaking in important community service.
Unicorn Connection Center
Unicorn Connections Center will serve as a one-stop shop where community members with special needs can connect, foster relationships, build community, and enhance their health and well-being by offering programs, activities and events in an inclusive setting. It will provide an opportunity to initiate meaningful changes for some many community members who are often isolated. The center will provide social, educational, and vocational training, including the launch of Special Percs Café which will employ individuals with special needs. The center will provide high-level support and resources for members of the community with special needs and their families through lifelong learning programs, classes and activities.