Back on June 15, 1953, the United Cerebral Palsy Association of Dallas County was established. Initially it provided a “sheltered workshop” for adults with cerebral palsy. By 1957 it had grown to offer a daycare and pre-school classes for youngsters with cerebral palsy. Over the years, the services and facilities grew as did the need. In 2011, UCP had grown to such a degree that “although originally assisting only individuals with cerebral palsy, it was serving individuals with all types of physical, cognitive, acquired and developmental disabilities. In fact, 80% of the children and adults had disabilities other than cerebral palsy.” For this reason, the name was changed to Ability Connection.
Today “1in5” people has a disability making the AC’s resources more important than ever. All too well, Debbie and Jim Francis know how important AC has been assisting their youngest son, Bo Francis. In return Debbie, Jim and their other son, Jim Francis III, are on the AC board of directors.
AC also works with other organizations to help its clients. For instance, there’s Bradley. “He wants you to know that someone with a disability has feelings and needs like everyone else.” Thank to AC, he has also been enrolled in Equest Therapy. “These two therapies have made a big difference in Bradley’s life and have been greatly beneficial to his independence.”
To support AC, which helps manage care for 800 individuals with disabilities and special needs, the annual Vine and Dine Dinner will be held on Thursday, November 14, at Brook Hollow.
According to Debbie, who along with husband Jim was honored last year, this year’s evening of fine wine and a very fun live auction will honor DeeDee and Jim Lee, who co-chaired the fundraiser in 2013. In addition to Debbie and Jim serving as honorary co-chairs, Maggie Kipp and Melinda Knowles, who teamed up last year to co-chair Harvest, will serve as co-chairs.