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In 1992, Shawn A. Friedkin, a successful businessman and young husband and father, was in an automobile accident that left him paralyzed from the chest down, changing his life in an instant. In the aftermath of that traumatic event, he discovered that resources for people in his situation were few and far between, so he swung into action and founded Stand Among Friends (SAF), a Boca Raton-based non-profit organization that has grown into a multi-faceted resource center and direct service provider for people with disabilities. SAF’s geographic emphasis is primarily regional; however, the website has the potential to reach persons nationwide.

In 2006, SAF joined with FAU’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing to open The Disability Center, a designated center of excellence in the State of Florida university system. Through education programs, services and advocacy, the Center serves as a resource to persons with disabilities, their families, health care professionals and the community. The Center’s faculty research focuses on advancing opportunities for all people with disabilities to live life independently. Disabilities served include visual, hearing, cognitive and physical disabilities. In addition, the Center conducts practical research focused on program delivery, training and the development of new assistive technology products and services for persons with disabilities so that those affected may lead stronger and more productive lives. 

Under a grant from the Able Trust, SAF works with FAU’s Office for Students with Disabilities to provide job placement services for graduating seniors who have disabilities.  SAF’s employment program focuses on helping people with disabilities to prepare for, find and maintain employment. The organization delivers direct services to more than 600 people annually and in recent years has placed more than 500 people into productive employment commensurate with their education and experience.

The Center received funding to support research addressing the physical benefits of exercise using a game playing station for persons with spinal cord injury. In addition, the City of Boca Raton provided seed money for SAF and The Disability Center to develop a Disability Sensitivity Program for our community.

In cooperation with SAF, The Disability Center developed and aired several programs for educational television. One program on strokes was produced with the support of JFK Medical Center and Tenet. The first part of the stroke series received a Telly award, a national award given for excellence in production.

Stand Among Friends
777 Glades Road
Bldg. NU-84, Suite 120
Boca Raton, FL 33431
561.297.4401 office
561.297.4405 fax

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