July’s non-profit spotlight shines brightly on PARC (Pinellas Association of Retarded Children). It was established in 1953 by Edythe Ibold, whose daughter was born mongoloid. Today that birth defect is called Down syndrome.
Since 1953, PARC has grown into a large social service agency that serves more than 800 children and adults with developmental disabilities in the Tampa Bay area. It offers over 40 unique services and continues to be an advocate and a voice for individuals with developmental disabilities locally, statewide and nationally. Its mission is to provide opportunities for children and adults with developmental disabilities to exercise their independence and experience life to the fullest.
PARC helps children and adults focus on what they can do rather than what they are unable to do. Children and their families receive early intervention services from an interdisciplinary team including teachers, social workers, nurses, behavior analysts, and therapists. Services can be given on the PARC campus, at the child’s home or in an environment chosen by the family.
Expansion in recent years has meant enhanced innovative opportunities such as: employment in the community, the Thoresen Foundation Cultural Center, Rain Forest Therapy Center, the Margaret E. Dickins Children’s Technology Center and Multi-Sensory Room, the Adult Technology Achievement Center, the Fine Arts Studio & Gallery Program and PARC Center Industries.