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Families, Respect, Inspire, Education, Networking for Down syndrome & Special needs

Expectant Parents

F.R.I.E.N.D.S. is here to assist Learning that your unborn baby has Down syndrome can be very difficult to hear. This unexpected news may generate a wide range of emotions and questions.

New Parents

CLICK READ MORE FOR PARENT PACKS The parent packets are delivered to the Labor & Delivery, NICU, and to the hospitals Social Workers to ensure they are available to you.


For Physicians

Learning the Diagnosis This is extremely difficult for parents and should be handled delicately. Physician’s please watch the attached film


Tampa Bay special needs organization to volunteer at Big Game, provides for community

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A non-profit organization that advocates for the Down syndrome and special needs communities in the Tampa Bay area is headed to the Big Game come February, but it does so much more for families as well.

The organization called F.R.I.E.N.D.S. stands for “Families, Respect, Inspire, Education Network for Down syndrome & Special needs.”

The nonprofit, which was founded in 2007, provides support, resources and activities for people with Down syndrome and other special needs and those who support them.

To raise funds, special needs self-advocates and other volunteers have been working at a concession stand at Raymond James Stadium called “Sideline Salsa” during Buccaneers games.

Ann Foyt is a full-time nurse and the executive director of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. She explained how fundraising efforts during the season, and soon, the Big Game, works.

“Legends, who runs the hospitality at Raymond James, gives us so much money per person who shows up to volunteer, and then we get a percentage of the sales,” she said.

Foyt said the opportunity is great because they can make money for themselves and not have to ask for donations. She said it’s also something that gives volunteers a sense of pride, working an eight-hour shift. Her son Zachary, 22, who has Down syndrome, is one of those proud volunteers.

“Of course, we wanted to bring our self-advocates into it. Zach was all pumped up, he loves the Bucs and he comes in when they start and he fills up the ice for the drinks, he gets all of the stuff out of the back and loads up all of the containers for the water and the soda and the beer. The other self-advocates help with the nachos, putting them together. They also help with cleaning, that’s a big one,” Foyt said.

KEN BROWLEE REALTY TO RAISE $50,000 FOR F.R.I.E.N.D.S.! We are so grateful for Ken Brownlee Realty, their realty crew, and our own Joe Wright! Together, they brought us the B Street Market, it's purpose is to raise $50,000 for F.R.I.E.N.D.S.! They will be hosting the B Street Market the first of every month, plus hosting a few other events to reach their goal, and we are so excited and can't wait to see what comes next. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!


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VOLUNTEER - Thank you for your interest in volunteering for F.R.I.E.N.D.S. We are always in need of great volunteers who are hard-working, organized and who love interacting with our families. As a volunteer, you are essential and play an important role in making our events so special for our families. 

*Approved by Hillsborough County to offer volunteer hours to students working for Bright Futures scholarships.

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Thank you FRIENDS Volunteers.

Friends has put together a video for the Ellen DeGeneres & Cheerios One Million Acts of Good promotion. We are raising funds to open THE FRIENDS CENTER - A special needs daycare. Thanks to everyone who participated, we had a lot of fun taping it. Please share the video. Thanks so much! Wish us luck!

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Tuesday, November 24, 2020
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