A Letter From the Director
I started the program in 2000 because my son Joey had just turned 15 there were no special programs available for kids that were his age. It seems like everything stops at 12 years old. I felt that I needed to be with other families that were just like mine. I asked the local recreation center if I could have 1 hour, 1 night of the week to start my own program. The Jim Beech Recreation Center granted my wish and with homemade flyers and word of mouth, we are a thriving, non profit organization with over 300 families!
The Jim Beech Rec Center graciously provided me with equipment and use of the pool in the summer months with lifeguards. It is open to ALL disabilities and ALL ages!
The Winter Garden Elks Lodge #2165 kindly sponsors a free dinner for the parents every year complete with entertainment, awards, and prizes. In 2006, we started our holiday party with bouncy houses, food, music, and gifts for the kids.
We have become a support group as well. We get help from the city of Ocoee, the Winter Garden Elk’s Lodge #2165, and many local businesses.
We are looking to purchase our own building on the west side of town for our own recreation facility. We hope to have a theater room, gymnasium, pool, kitchen, horseback riding, stable for horse boarding, and on the other side we would like to have therapy rooms available for rent to generate revenue for our facility. We are looking into a work shop facility to start with. My son is now 21 and will be finishing school this year and is the inspiration for the center. These kids all grow up and need a place to go for fun, work and continuing education.
I will do all I can to make this happen and I hope you will too!
Program Director and Joey’s Mom
Autism Gym and Related Disabilities Program, Inc.