VIDEO: Central Florida Humanitarian Betsy Farmer Game-Changer For Those With Disabilities
By Maria Sonnenberg // October 12, 2015
ABOVE VIDEO: Betsy Farmer’s efforts on behalf of individuals with disabilities have earned her national recognition.
Betsy Farmer’s son, Luke, has served as an inspiration for this community leader from Palm Bay.
When Luke was born with Down syndrome in 1985, Farmer found there were precious little community resources for him in Brevard. If there were none, then Farmer was going to create them.
In 1987, she founded the Space Coast Early Intervention Center, a not-for-profit preschool for children with and without special needs. The school is now nationally recognized for its innovative approach to early intervention.
As Luke grew, so have Farmer’s projects. In 2002, Farmer was instrumental in establishing the Florida Boundless Playgrounds initiative with former governor Jeb Bush and she served as a catalyst for the establishment of handicapped-accessible playgrounds throughout the state.
In 2005, Farmer turned her attention to the Brevard Business Leadership Network, which she established to expand the employment and career opportunities for students and adults with disabilities.
Her most recent project, Promise Inc., is Farmer’s most ambitious and far-ranging in possibilities for individuals with special needs.
For young adults with disabilities, the opportunity to interact with peers often ends after leaving school, and many lose the gains they enjoyed through early intervention and supported-education services. Promise will change that state of affairs.
With an expected start date of late 2015, Promise will provide affordable, secure, supportive and inclusive housing – a community, if you will – for individuals with a wide range of cognitive abilities.
The model community in West Melbourne will also offer social, vocational and wellness programs, as well as meaningful employment opportunities to foster self-sufficiency.
There will be several retail employment opportunities on site or nearby. The first of 10 of these employment zones, Promise Treasures Thrift Shoppe, opened at the Metro West Shopping Center in 2013.
Farmer is currently helping to raise funds for Promise’s hydroponic garden and plant nursery and farmers market. The Promise Café and Bakery will be built at the new West Melbourne Community Park a mile away from the Promise complex.
Farmer’s efforts on behalf of individuals with disabilities have earned her national recognition.
She was one of only six women nationally to receive the “Keeper of the Flame” Award from the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2006, and was one of 10 nationwide recipients of the “Good as Gold” Award, presented in recognition to one of the nation’s finest community servants by Publisher’s Clearing House.
She was one of eight individuals nationally to receive the “As They Grow” Award from Parents Magazine for “making the country a better place for everyone.”
ABOUT THE 2015 CENTRAL FLORIDA HUMANITARIAN AWARDS
Recognizing Outstanding Individuals & Organizations Who Dedicate Their Time, Talent and Treasure
The 2015 Central Florida Humanitarians include outstanding individuals and organizations from the medical, business, education and governmental communities.
The Central Florida Humanitarian honorees will be recognized during a Gala event on Thursday, Nov. 5, at the Hilton Melbourne Rialto Place in Melbourne, Florida.
The Central Florida Humanitarian Awards were created six years ago by Maverick Multimedia, publisher of Space Coast Medicine & Active Living magazine and Space Coast Daily, to recognize outstanding individuals and organizations that dedicate their time, talent or treasure to help people in need locally – and around the world.
TIME: In this category consider candidates who have selflessly and consistently devoted their time as volunteers at hospitals and nursing homes, in activities for the less fortunate and as organizers, administrators or operatives in the many other altruistic endeavors in our community.
TALENT: In this category give consideration to those who have volunteered their special talents and expertise to address specific circumstances in which the lives of those in need are improved.
TREASURE: The humanitarians in this category will include those who have generously shared their monetary good fortune and/or volunteered their time and efforts in fund raising for the advancement of a philanthropic cause.
All 2015 honorees will be featured in the Oct/Nov 2015 edition of Space Coast Medicine & Active Living magazine and SpaceCoastDaily.com.
The first Gala was held in 2010 and is produced by Brevard Productions.
ORGANIZATIONS AND INDIVIDUALS SELECTED TO BE HONORED INCLUDE:
• Brevard Family Partnership
• Brevard Neighborhood Coalition
• Brevard Special Olympics – Debbie Spence
• Lila Buescher
• Canine Companions for Independence
• Childrens Hunger Project
• Circles of Care
• Ginger Davis
• Cove Merchants Association
• Dr. Brian Dowdell
• Early Learning Coalition of Brevard
• Betsy Farmer
• Darcia Jones-Francey
• Harris Corp. Foundation
• Malak Hammad
• John & Cynthia Handley
• John Harper
• Mike & Stephanie Haridopolos
• Sheriff Wayne Ivey
• Robert Jordan
• Dr. John Lovejoy Jr. & Dr. John Lovejoy III
• Victor Luebker
• Rita Pritchett
• David Schmitt
• Oscar & Turney Sieveking
• The 2015 Central Florida Humanitarian Lifetime Achievement honoree is Dr. Anthony Catanese.
HONORING SELFLESS VOLUNTEERISM
As always, the Central Florida Humanitarian committee will also honor hospital and hospice volunteers from Health First Hospice, the Dr. Jey Pillai Center for Hospice Care at Wasdin Woods, VITAS, Hospice of St. Francis, Health First Cape Canaveral Hospital, Health First Viera Hospital, Health First Holmes Regional Medical Center, Health First Palm Bay Hospital, Wuesthoff Medical Center – Melbourne, Wuesthoff Medical Center – Rockledge, the VA Clinic in Viera, and Sebastian River Medical Center.
“Over the years, our editorial team has had the distinct honor and pleasure of identifying and featuring the many members of our community who give back so much and are dedicated to reaching out and helping others, here and throughout the world, in a multitude of ways,” said Maverick Multimedia Editor-In-Chief Dr. Jim Palermo.
“For the sixth consecutive year, we will once again produce the Central Florida Humanitarian Awards Gala on the first Thursday of November. This year, more than 42 deserving humanitarians will be honored during the Gala.”
The Central Florida Humanitarian Awards will be part of Space Coast Medicine Week, a comprehensive series of health and educational events produced by Space Coast Medicine & Active Living magazine and Space Coast Daily.
JOIN US FOR AN INSPIRATIONAL EVENING
This inspiring and compelling event is sponsored by M.H. Williams Construction, Parrish Medical Center, SOAR, Brighthouse Networks, Wuesthoff Health System, First Choice Medical Group, Clear Choice Health Care, Florida Pain Institute, Brevard Geriatrics, Knudson Brain & Spine Law Injury Office, Dr. Mark Pinsky, Space Coast Medicine & Active Living magazine and SpaceCoastDaily.com. Each honoree or organization will be presented the Central Florida Humanitarian Crystal Globe.
“We would like to thank our long list of sponsors who support the Central Florida Humanitarian Awards and who make this wonderful event possible,” said Giles Malone, a partner with Maverick Multimedia and Brevard Productions, who annually produce all the events of Space Coast Medicine Week.
COMPELLING MULTIMEDIA TRIBUTE VIDEOS & STORIES
Stay tuned to SpaceCoastDaily.com and Space Coast Medicine & Active Living magazine for exclusive and comprehensive multimedia coverage of each honoree as we present their compelling stories.
“Please join us on Thursday, Nov. 5 to celebrate and be inspired by these incredible individuals and groups,” said Maverick Multimedia President & Publisher Tom Palermo.
“In the meantime, please click the link below that showcases the distinguished Central Florida Humanitarian Alumni.”
CLICK HERE TO SEE THE CENTRAL FLORIDA HUMANITARIAN ALUMNI
FOR MORE INFORMATION or to make a reservation to attend the Central Florida Humanitarian Awards Gala call 321-323-4460 or 321-615-8111 or e-mail MaverickMultiMedia@gmail.com
CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS
ABOVE MAP: The 2015 Central Florida Humanitarian Awards will take place Thursday, Nov. 5 at the Hilton Melbourne Rialto Place, located at 200 Rialto Place in Melbourne, Florida.