The Center for Independent Living of North Florida
Judith Barrett, Volunteer, Donor, and Bridge Builder
Judith Barrett spent her career working for nonprofits. She started as a volunteer for the American Red Cross as a teenager in northern Louisiana, and spent the next 38 years working for various organizations throughout the Southeast. “Through my work in nonprofits, I learned the value of discretionary dollars to help those people we serve who may fall in the cracks.”
In 2017 Ability1st had the great fortune to receive a financial gift from Barrett. The funds are used to build a “Bridge to Independence.” Her generosity was inspired by her experience serving as executive director of Ability1st. “We had a consumer who spent some time in the hospital before being moved to a rehabilitation facility. Once released from rehab, the consumer returned home to find the power had been cut off and all the food in the refrigerator spoiled,” she explained. “The consumer had worked hard in rehab to remain independent, but she had nobody to help maintain her home while she was away. Finding funds we could use to restore the utilities and purchase some groceries was a challenge.”
Ability1st receives funding from sources such as the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the City of Tallahassee, however, those funds are allotted to very specific expenses and cannot be redirected. Barrett created The Bridge to Independence, and the funds are designated to help Ability1st cover the “black holes” that can create barriers for our consumers. “A one-time assistance can make a huge difference in someone’s life.”
When asked why she chose Ability1st to support, Barrett replied, “Ability1st is different from many other nonprofits in that it is consumer-driven. The people Ability1st serves are empowered to set their own goals. The staff works to remove barriers, but the consumers do the work necessary to reach their goals.”
You can help!
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