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Empowering Connections: Reflections on The 25th Annual Family Cafe Event

Empowering Connections: Reflections on The 25th Annual Family Cafe Event

Community Resources and Government Affairs team members Violet Gonzalez, Josemane Ancion, and Paola Castillo recently had the incredible opportunity to attend The 25th Annual Family Cafe event in Orlando, Florida. This annual gathering has become a hub of connection, support, and inspiration for families, advocates, and organizations like Sunrise. Throughout the weekend, the team embraced connections, shared the Sunrise mission, and built partnerships to help advance the Sunrise mission of creating valued lives for the people we serve.

Since 1998, The Annual Family Cafe event has provided an inclusive and welcoming environment where families, individuals, and professionals come together with a shared purpose. The team had the privilege of engaging in heartfelt conversations with families who have faced diverse challenges and triumphs. Hearing their stories, strength, and unwavering commitment to their loved ones left an unforgettable mark on our hearts.

As we conversed with attendees, we shared information about Sunrise Community and our dedication to supporting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The team highlighted Sunrise’s commitment to championing independence, inclusion, and the overall well-being of those we serve. We shared information outlining the wide range of services, including residential programs, employment opportunities, and community integration initiatives Sunrise provides, all designed to help individuals reach their full potential.

Our Director of Government Affairs, Violet Gonzalez, was asked to present during a forum with the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD). During her time on stage, Violet shared her recent experience working with the City of Tampa and Eventfest to create sensory tents for the Children’s Gasparilla event. Violet reinforced the importance of creating safe and welcoming environments so that everyone can celebrate with their loved ones. The Director of APD, Taylor Hatch, also asked Violet to speak directly to attendees, new and returning. Overall, it was a wonderful success!

The Annual Family Cafe proved to be an exceptional platform for forging meaningful partnerships and collaborations. The team had the pleasure of connecting with other non-profit organizations, service providers, and professionals working in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities. The shared passion and commitment to creating a more inclusive society were palpable, and the team described ending the weekend with newfound inspiration and a renewed sense of purpose.

This one-of-a-kind event was a transformative experience, reinforcing the importance of strong community connections and the impact that organizations like Sunrise can have on the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We want to express our deep gratitude to The Family Cafe for organizing such a remarkable event and providing a platform for families, advocates, and organizations to come together. Let us continue to celebrate diversity, promote acceptance, and work towards a future where every person’s potential is recognized and nurtured.