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BABY FRIENDS IN BRANDON, TAMPA, & LARGO!

Check our website calendar for dates and times.

HOLIDAY INN & SUITES IN CLEARWTER Check our website calendar for dates and times as they may change.
F.R.I.E.N.D.S VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

Looking for Volunteer Hours?

Complete the Volunteer Application and someone will get back to you asap. Thanks so much!
Riverview Dance Hilton Garden INN 4328 Garden Vista Dr. Riverview FL 33578; On the corner of Hwy 301/Hwy 75
F.R.I.E.N.D.S. DOWN SYNDROME SPECIAL NEEDS - WEST FLORIDA, INC.
A 501(c)(3) public charity, Non-Profit that has been a staple of the Tampa Bay area since 2007.  FRIENDS is managed by volunteers who love and care for our Down syndrome & Special needs community.

F.R.I.E.N.D.S. anagram stands for: Families, Respect, Inspire, Education, Networking, 
Down syndrome Special needs.



F.R.I.E.N.D.S. MISSION
  • To provide vital Special Needs information, education, and resources to expectant and new families.
  • To offer essential support, understanding, and advice to those with disabilities and their families.
  • To provide fun activities in a safe and accepting atmosphere where our families and individuals can connect with each other.

GOLDSTAR PLATIUM SEAL OF TRANSPARENCY

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F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Down Syndrome, Special Needs - West FLorida is proud to announce it has received the 2022 GuideStar Platinum Seal of Transparency for the third year.

GuideStar is the world’s largest source of information on nonprofit organizations and the platinum rating is GuideStar’s highest level of recognition. In previous years, GuideStar has recognized F.R.I.E.N.D.S. with the silver, gold and most recently, with the platinum rating.

In an effort to be completely transparent F.R.I.E.N.D.S. will post on their website each year their IRS 990 PF Forms, along with their:

  • Bylaws & Conflict of Interest Policy's
  • Annual Report
  • Profit and Loss Report
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NEW & EXPECTANT PARENTS

Learning your pre or postpartum baby has Down syndrome and/or other special needs can be very difficult to hear. This unexpected news may generate a wide range of emotions and unanswered questions. F.R.I.E.N.D.S. can provide the emotional support and guidance you may need while answering any questions that you may have. Call anytime (813)245-2782. 

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NEW PARENTS
Click title above for Parent Packs

Learning that your unborn baby has Down syndrome can be very difficult to hear. This unexpected news may generate a wide range of emotions and questions.
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WHAT IS DOWN SYNDROME

Click title above for for a Printable PDF. Down syndrome is a genetic disorder caused when abnormal cell division results in extra genetic material from the 21st chromosome.  Down syndrome causes a distinct facial appearance, developmental delays, and can cause disorders of the thyroid, heart, and GI system.  Medical specialist will need to conduct additional screenings.  Early Intervention programs with Speech, Occupational Therapy, and Physical Therapy are very helpful.  Special educators who treat each child's specific situation are helpful in managing Down syndrome. 
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PHYSICIANS
Learning the diagnosis is extremely difficult for parents and should be handled delicately. Physician’s we urge you to watch the attached film as it will give you valuable insights on how to deliver the news. 
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VOLUNTEER
Sign Up for Our Volunteer Programs

VOLUNTEER - Thank you for your interest in volunteering for F.R.I.E.N.D.S. We are always in need of great volunteers who are hard-working, organized and who love interacting with our families.  Please fill out our Volunteer Application and we will get back to you ASAP. 
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MEMBERSHIP
F.R.I.E.N.D.S. membership is free! To receive all benefits of membership you must live within Hillsborough, Pinellas, & Pasco Counties. Membership includes free access to F.R.I.E.N.D.S. year-round programs, events, and scholarships.
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F.R.I.E.N.D.S. CALENDAR

World Down Syndrome Day (3/21)

March 21st (3.21) marks World Down Syndrome Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness about Down syndrome and celebrating individuals around the world living with the genetic condition. According to the World Down Syndrome Day website, the date for WDSD being the 21st day of the 3rd month was selected to signify the uniqueness of the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome which causes Down syndrome. We celebrate this day with our annual WDSD Picnic.

We need your support.

Your support will has a direct impact on the people we serve! The lasting impact of your support will help us expand our services. We are wanting to open our own service building in the Brandon area and need to raise $200,000 to do so.  We're counting on you to help raise the vital funds needed to support F.R.I.E.N.D.S. programs and services, and increase awareness about Down syndrome and other special needs. Thank you again for supporting our mission, the families we serve, promoting community involvement and encouraging a lifetime of opportunities for people with Down syndrome.

What is Down Syndrome?

Down syndrome is the most commonly occurring genetic condition at 1 in every 800 births. Down syndrome occurs in people of all races and economic levels. More than 250,000 people in the United States are living with the condition.  F.R.I.E.N.D.S. welcomes approximately 20-30 new babies each year. Down syndrome is not a disease and people do not suffer from it. They are born with Down syndrome and will have it their whole life.
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