Advocate.

Equality.

Inclusion.

Awareness.

Connecting Families Since 2007

We are on a mission to advocate for inclusion, equality, and diversity for people with Down Syndrome and other special needs.

F.R.I.E.N.D.S. is a volunteer-lead 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that services Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, and its surrounding counties.

Our Mission:

F.R.I.E.N.D.S. has been a staple in the Tampa Bay area since 2007 dedicated to supporting families with individuals with Down syndrome and other special needs. We are committed to providing vital programs, resources, and services that provide meaningful connections and promoting a culture of inclusivity and belonging for all.

Our Vision:

  • To provide new and expectant parents with accurate and current information.
  • To transform perspectives towards Down syndrome and other special needs, fostering respect and dignity.
  • To empower individuals with Special Needs to advocate for themselves and have their voices heard.
  • To assist special needs individuals in integrating into society as productive members.
  • To offer financial and social service assistance to our members.
  • To educate and train volunteers to uphold and promote “best practices” in meeting the needs of individuals with special needs.
  • To cultivate a community that embraces, supports, and includes individuals with Special Needs to lead happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives.

Board of Directors

Ashley Odom, R.N.
President/Executive Director
Rebecca Rouco, R.N.
Vice President
Cassidy Rosa, P.A.
Secretary
Lori Boldt
Treasurer
Michael McManus
Board Member
Michael Norton
Board Member
Suzzann Cantrell
Board Member
Stephen Cantrell
Board Member

Advisory Board

Danielle Palomo, MS, CCLS
Dave Sammon
Melissa Berger, PA-C
Barbara Garcia ARNP, CPNP-PC
Hunter Pfleuger
Paula Marsell
Adilene Breheney
Tammy Whatley
Cari Sammon
Renee Barnett-Hurst

Self Advocates

James Farella
Juanes Ramirez
Keith Westdyk
Spencer Cantrell

F.R.I.E.N.D.S. is run by a team of dedicated Board Officers, Advisory Board Members and Event Volunteers. Their mission is to seek out opportunities to provide F.R.I.E.N.D.S. the financial means to support and grow.  We are extremely grateful for all they do for us. If you would like to join them, we would love your help.

Interested in becoming part of the F.R.I.E.N.D.S. family?

Join us today for free and contribute to our efforts in supporting individuals with special needs!

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