Forum Meeting was held at 6:30PM at Heritage Christian Church in Fayetteville. There were approximately 35 people in attendance, roughly half who were providers and more than half that represented families with a child/adult with a disability.
Agenda: Networking, Intro to Special Needs Task Force, Introductions of people representing resources, Guest Speaker Raissa Chandler, Open Forum.
Raissa spoke about the need to recognize that the work we do as a Task Force, if it can be duplicated, it can be a working framework for other communities to use to support families of special needs.
She also set the bar for families of special needs children to expect the BEST from their community, not just settle for "free and appropriate".
Comments from the floor included:
What are we trying to do as a Special Needs Task Force?
1. Invite more people who are stakeholders to the table to be a part of the association. Meetings will be happening on a regular basis, at different times of day so that families have flexibility to attend.
2. Identify areas of collaboration where committees can be formed to work on service coordination across stakeholders of similar interests. For example, an Interfaith committee is forming to map out what's available within the faith based community (respite care, special needs ministries, special events) and work toward sharing resources to include more families with special situations.
3. Create a landscape document that identifies ALL resources in our community so that any family with a need can find places to get help. There's a committee for this initiative. Chaired by Raissa Chandler.
4. Use technology and media to promote awareness and offer hope and guidance. Heritage Christian will be rolling out weekly video blogs to this effect. There's a committee to help create content/scripts and identify what's going on this video blog.
What are organizations currently working on for communities with disabilities?
ExceptionalOPS is working on a new website that will include a comprehensive community calendar, a community bulletin board, and the ability for families/providers to share wants and needs (kind of like craigslist).
ExceptionalOPS meetings for the next two months include Special Needs Trusts and Guardianship. Meetings are held the 2nd Tuesday of the Month at their offices between Fayetteville and Peachtree City.
Heritage Christian Church is providing Special Needs friendly seasonal events - Visits with Santa and Egg Hunt. Egg Hunt information is below. Events are for families of children of all ages and abilities.
Southside Support is working toward two Community Resource Fairs.
In conjunction with Fayette FACTOR, Southside is providing project management oversight of the
Fayette FACTOR Summer Fair - a resource fair that highlights things all families can do in the summertime, with additional booths that provide families informations about how to be healthy and safe. April 20. Grace Evangelical Church, Fayetteville.
Southside Connections Fair - a special needs exclusive regional resource fair to highlight resources specifically in the special needs community. June 8, Bedford School. Fairburn.
Peachtree City Emergency Services will be working with the Task Force to identify a day/few days where "Neighbors Not Stranger" events will take place. Get to meet your local emergency officials BEFORE you need to dial 911.
Meeting was adjourned at 8:30PM. No next meeting was set, but will happen on a monthly basis. Exceptional OPS is the clearinghouse for community event information, so if you'll ask to be on their mailing list, you'll be contacted when the next task force event is. Email Janet Smola to be put on their mailing list.
Times are approximate. For special needs families, there will be opportunities throughout the event. Just come when you can.
About this page
The Around Town page is a community co-operative of businesses, agencies, faith based entities, providers, and most importantly FAMILIES who meet informally to talk about and make plans to make a difference in the world of families with special needs.