About AFIRE

From the President Nancy Simmons

AFIRE has been in existence since 1984 and has helped and served thousands of persons with intellectual disabilities. As funds become available the organization provides scholarships to organizations to serve persons who have lost or are not on the Medicaid Waiver program. How do we get these funds? All of our support depends on donations, membership fees, and income from fundraising!

Nancy Simmons – President

AFIRE provides scholarships to attend day classes and makes available information to obtain services needed by the disabled. Fundraising efforts are an ongoing adventure of fun and excitement.

AFIRE was started by the efforts of just one parent. The family moved to Pinellas County and found there were no services for an adult daughter with Down’s Syndrome. The father started his crusade by having his daughter sweep the sand off Pier 60 on Clearwater Beach. He took pictures and sent them to the local newspapers. In doing so, he showed the community his daughter could do a quality job at work as any other person. Within a few months, AFIRE was formed, group homes were opened and LifeSkills day classes began. The girl was Michelle Taylor. Remember her name, as many services we enjoy today are due to Michelle and the efforts of her father, Russell. Your voice together with ours is so important in advocating for family members and friends. Just one voice can change the future!

Our LifeSkills class teachers were paid through a grant that was obtained through the Pinellas County School system under “Adults with Disabilities.” AFIRE members would travel to Tallahassee in support of this population to ensure continued funding and communicate the results with families and state and local representatives.

For over 20 years, AFIRE paid for supplies, trips, transportation, and other requirements that were needed by the LifeSkills classes. We joined our efforts with other organizations that serve persons with intellectual disabilities as we encouraged this population to become a productive part of the community.

In 2015, the funds through the Pinellas County School System were deleted by the Florida Legislature for Lifeskills classes. Since that time the organization’s fundraising has been focused on providing scholarships to other (ADT) Adult Day Training Classes.  In that two year period, AFIRE has been able to award 40-$1,000 scholarships through their fundraising efforts to people on the Medicaid Waiver Wait List. Florida is 42nd in the country for serving the needs of the disabled. Currently there are 22,000 people in the state who need and qualify for services that the state will not fund.

Become a member of AFIRE.

DONATE NOW!!

The Benefits – Membership & Volunteerism

AFIRE members, friends, and families receive useful information and support. The information comes through quarterly newsletters, calendars, meetings and emails providing updates to new state programs and community based services. Special mailings are prepared in case a broad and community based appeal to the State Legislators is needed.

Our Board Members

Maggie Cook – director

Rosemary Dempsey – director

Jim Ivins – Board member

LET’S STAY

CONNECTED

AFIRE members, friends, and families receive useful information and support through quarterly newsletters, calendars, meetings and emails providing updates to new state programs and community based services.