Association of Agencies
Purpose & Organization
The Association of Agencies is a group of agencies that meet on a regular basis to discuss Disability Issues relating to the local community. This group is facilitated through Miami Dade College's Wolfson Campus ACCESS Services Department.
The mission of this Association is to post the knowledge and resources of service agencies to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities. The members have agreed to six levels of activity.
Networking: First and foremost, it was recognized that it was very important for those from diverse agencies, even those that might be competing agencies, to get to know each other, know how each served a very unique and useful purpose for certain individuals with disabilities in various parts of the county. It was suggested that if the Association became successful in its mission, chapters in other areas could be encouraged. Recognizing that various disability issues are different throughout such a large county, it was suggested that it might be best to begin the Association as a "Central" or "Downtown" Association addressing concerns that are more focused and relevant to a specific area. The networking of agencies, however, would eventually lead to expansion to satellite agencies that can be developed in other parts of the community.
Presentations & Training: Once the participants get to know each other and how to more effectively communicate and be able to refer more effectively, it was recognized that each agency would need to fully clarify its role to others. It is possible that one or more agencies could make a presentation at meetings. It was also recognized that training opportunities could be featured when there were identified needs across agencies.
Open Forum: Building upon networking and knowledge could be an open forum where issues are raised and freely discussed.
Focus Group: Utilizing all or part or the memberships, initiate focus groups to more clearly define common problems and how to channel resources that address these problems. [This related to the proposal by the outgoing coordinator of the Alliance for Human Services to utilize the Association as an important focus group to identify issues that needed significant funding.]
Solutions: All or part of the membership could work together to develop solutions that could improve all levels of identifying and providing better services to persons with disabilities. Whether this related to solving some very specific problems for identified individuals or related to problems that were broad in scope were identified as potential options.
Grants: Perhaps the most constructive aspect of the Association would be in identifying and cooperatively pursuing grants that could improve awareness and moving action along at a faster pace [The issue of a community web page exclusively for persons with disabilities might be useful.]
Projected Meeting Schedules: The AOA meets every First Thursday of the month.
The following agencies are either regular association participants or share important information with the association.
- ACCESS, Wolfson Campus - The ACCESS Department assists students with disabilities to gain equal access to all educational opportunities at the Wolfson Campus. http://www.mdc.edu/wolfson/student/access/
- Center for Independent Living of South Florida - To assist anyone with a disability to achieve and maintain an independent and self-determined lifestyle to the maximum extent possible and to vigorously advocate for systems change that results in equality, dignity, and freedom of choice, and eliminates barriers that prevent people with disabilities from achieving their full potential. http://www.soflacil.org/
- Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation - An employment resource for businesses and people with disabilities. Our mission is to enable individuals with disabilities to obtain and keep employment. http://www.rehabworks.org/
- GSA/Office of ADA Coordination - Bring Miami-Dade County into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and, at the same time, heighten awareness of disability issues, both within County departments and within the community, to help provide persons with disabilities the opportunity to fulfill their greatest potential for independence and achievement. http://www.miamidade.gov/ada/
- Miami-Dade County Commission on Disability Issues - Citizens and their government working together to make Miami-Dade County a place where people with disabilities can fulfill their greatest potential for independence and achievement. http://www.miamidade.gov/codi/
- Office of Emergency Management - The Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and Homeland Security, a Division of the Miami-Dade Fire-Rescue Department, coordinates multi-agency response to disasters and emergencies. http://www.miamidade.gov/oem/
- Outreach Services, Miami-Dade Public Library - The special programs and assistive devices the library offers to help make it possible for a person with a disability to access materials, equipment and services. http://www.mdpls.org/services/outreach/out_lit.asp