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Celebrate 21 Years with The Family Cafe

turning 21When it comes to birthdays, your 21st is a big one! It’s a major landmark in the journey to adulthood, and a cause for celebration.

In 2019, The Family Café will mark the occasion of The Annual Family Café’s 21st birthday. And we think that calls for something special! So this year, we’re asking you to help us celebrate our 21st birthday by pledging $21, either as a recurring or a one-time donation, to support The Family Café and the work we do on behalf of people with disabilities in Florida.

If you could donate $21 any time between now and June, that would be great! And if you can give us $21 every month between September and June, that would be even better!


As part of our 21st birthday celebration, each month between September and The 21st Annual Family Café in June, we will spotlight a new member of our family who is celebrating their birthday month with us!November 21st Birthday

November's birthday spotlight is on Mira Gaitanis from Tallahassee. Mira is a force behind a podium! Despite being only 17 years old, Mira has a remarkable talent for public speaking. We got to see Mira in action at the Department of Education last month, as she spoke with inspiring conviction about disability awareness at DOE's Disability History and Awareness Weeks celebration.

Mira has a retinal prematurity that narrows her field of vision and causes blind spots. At night or in low light, Mira often uses a cane. None of this slows her down though! Much like her comic book hero Daredevil, Mira has her sights set on a career in law as a disability rights lawyer. Mira is hoping to join the Florida Youth Council this year, and has a personal goal to see more involvement from educators in attending events like The Annual Family Cafe.

To help support The Family Cafe, and everything we do for youth leaders like Mira, please make your tax deductible pledge on our donation page here.

At The 21st Annual Family Café, we will make an announcement to let everyone know which month had the highest level of donations. In the meantime, we invite you to follow along with our 21st birthday celebration on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!

Thanks very much for your continued support of The Family Café, and your fellow Floridians with disabilities!


Get Ready to Vote with the October CAN Newsletter

Oct 18 screenshotThe latest edition of the CAN Newsletter is here, and with the 2018 general election just around the corner, we've placed a focus on the November ballot in this issue. This month's CAN Newsletter includes a review of the offices that will be decided in the upcoming election, which is likely to change the our state's government in significant ways. There are also a number of important ballot initiatives that Florida voters will have a chance to weigh in on when they vote. To help you better understand those ballot initiatives and what they propose, we've included helpful descriptions of each of those initiatives as well.

We also received a statement on disability issues from the Andrew Gillum for Governor campaign shortly after this CAN Newsletter was published. You can read it here. As soon as we receive a statement from the Ron DeSantis for Governor campaign, we will post it here as well.

As participants in our democracy, we have no more important duty to perform than voting. We urge you to get informed about the candidates and initiatives on the ballot, and make your voice heard this November!

Don't forget! The voter registration deadline in Florida is TUESDAY, OCTOBER 9TH. To get registered or check on the status of your voter registration, visit the Secretary of State or the Supervisor of Elections in your county.

To read the October edition of the CAN Newsletter, click here.

Submit a Presentation Proposal for The 21st Annual Family Cafe

The Family Cafe is now accepting Presentation Proposals for The 21st Annual Family Cafe!

The Annual Family Cafe is the nation's largest cross-disability event. Last year's 20th Anniversary Family Cafe attracted some 11,840 participants. They had the opportunity to choose from 220+ classroom size breakout sessions that addressed a wide variety of diability-related topics.

If you want to reach a large audience of people with disabilities, The 21st Annual Family Cafe is the place to do it!

The success of The Annual Family Cafe relies in large part on the participation of knowledgable, engaged presenters that are willing to share their expertise with our attendees. Please consider being one of those presenters in 2019!

How to Submit a Proposal: Download the Presentation Proposal Form here, complete it, and return it to The Family Cafe by mail, email, or fax; OR can complete the Presentation Proposal Form online by following this link.

Please feel free to share this notice with anyone in your network that might be interested in making a presentation!

To get a sense of the range of topics typically addressed at The Annual Family Cafe, view the 2018 program online here.

See you in June!

Reserve Your Exhibit Space at The 21st Annual Family Cafe

The Exhibit Hall at The Annual Family CafeExhibit space is now available for The 21st Annual Family Cafe, to be held June 7-9, 2019 at the Hyatt Regency in Orlando!

The Annual Family Cafe is the ideal place to connect thousands of people with disabilities with your product, service or resource. It brings together an remarkably large audience of families, all of whom are searching for ways to improve the quality of life for their loved ones with disabilities. Last year's event attracted more than 11,840 registered attendees, and The 21st Annual Family Cafe is sure to draw an equally large crowd.

To reserve your place in our Exhibit Hall, simply complete the Exhibitor Form and send it to us by fax or email.

Space is also available for Micro-Enterprises. A Micro-Enterprise is a small business owned and operated by a person with a disability. To see if your business qualifies, and to reserves space, see the Micro-Enterprise Form. We'll look forward to seeing you in Orlando in June!

Back to School with the August CAN Newsletter

issue6 screenshot

The August edition of the CAN Newsletter is here, with some important information to consider as you get ready for the new academic year.

For anyone with a family member with a disability that is part of the K-12 public education system, this issue includes a helpful review of the essential differences between an IEP and a 504 Plan. While both can be useful tools to make sure your student gets the supports and services they need, these two approaches work differently. Find clear answers to your questions about IEP's and 504 Plans in the CAN Newsletter! 

Even if the end of your student's academic career seems like it's in the distant future, it's never too early to start thinking about that transition to college or career. So our back-to-school issue also features information from Vocational Rehabiliation, with a focus on the services they offer to help youth transition successfully into the adult world of work and higher education.

Whatever the coming school year holds for you and your family, The Family Cafe wishes you the best of luck. Never stop learning, and never stop growing!

To view the August Change Agent Network Newsletter, click here


This Year's Annual Family Cafe

Welcome to The Annual Family CafeThe Family Cafe invites you to attend Florida's premier event for people with disabilities, The Annual Family Cafe!

The Annual Family Cafe is the nation's largest cross-disability event. Last year's 20th Anniversary Family Cafe attracted some 11,840 participants!

Since 1998, The Annual Family Cafe has brought together thousands of individuals with disabilities and their family members for three days of information, training and networking each June. With a great range of individual breakout sessions, a packed Exhibit Hall with dozens of vendors, and a series of special events including Keynote speakers and The Governors’ Summit on Disabilities, The Annual Family Café offers families exposure to a wide range of public and private resources, opportunities to find support by networking with other families, and unprecedented access to policy-making officials.

The 20th Anniversary Family Cafe will be held on June 7-9, 2019 in Orlando. We hope to see you there!

 Online registration will open on Thursday, February 14, 2019.

The event program for The 21st Annual Family Cafe will be available in May. To get a sense of what to expect, check out the full program for The 20th Anniversary Family Cafe herefull program for The 20th Anniversary Family Cafe here.

The Family Cafe remains committed to connecting attendees with information and resources at minimal cost, so there is no registration fee for individuals with disabilities and their family members.

The Family Cafe also offers limited financial assistance to provide for the cost of hotel accommodations on-site at The Annual Family Cafe. Attendees can request assistance as part of the registration process. 

The 21st Annual Family Cafe will be held at the Hyatt Regency Orlando. Rooms are available at the Hyatt at the special event rate of $129/night.

For regular updates and additional information, please join our mailing list . You can also like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to stay in touch.

The 21st Annual Family Cafe promises to be a truly remarkable event for Floridians with disabilities and their families, and we very much hope you will be able to attend!

See you in June!

Pictures from The 20th Anniversary Family Cafe

The Family Cafe is pleased to announced that the pictures from The 20th Anniversary Family Cafe are now available to view! The gallery includes nearly 700 pictures, with images of everything from the opening keynote and Governor's Summit on Friday, through the dance on Saturday, to the duck race and closing keynote on Sunday. There are also plenty of candid shots of Family Cafe attendees, so if you were on hand in Orlando, you might be lucky enough to find yourself in there!

We had a wonderful time hosting the event, and these pictures capture the fun, excitement and camaraderie that make The Annual Family Cafe so amazing. We hope you enjoy looking through them!

To access the gallery, click on the image below, or follow this link.

And remember, you can view all of our photos from past events on our flickr page here.

The 20th Anniversary Family Cafe

Videos from The 20th Anniversary Family Cafe Now Available

Video recording from The 20th Anniversary Family Cafe are now available on The Family Cafe website!

The collection of videos from the event includes footage of all three keynote addresses, including the especially memorable appearance by Micah Fowler from TV's Speechless on Sunday afternoon. You can also view The 20th Anniversary Governor's Summit on Disabilities from Friday evening. There are recordings of a select number of breakout sessions available as well, addressing topics such as employment, self-advocacy, exceptional student education, and mental health.

Check out the video collection here.

The Family Café

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