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Navy Region Southeast's Exceptional Family Member Program Hosts the 25th Annual Family Cafe
11 July 2023
From Shannon Klein
The 25th Annual Family Café, the largest cross-disability event in the nation, took place in Orlando, FL from June 9-11, 2023. Twelve Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) Case Liaisons, who serve military families residing in Florida, had the opportunity to attend and participate.
Annual Family Café, the largest cross-disability event in the nation, took place in Orlando, FL from June 9-11, 2023. Twelve Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) Case Liaisons, who serve military families residing in Florida, had the opportunity to attend and participate. Over 13,000 individuals attended and of that, it is estimated that 1,000 – 1,500 were military connected.
There were 190 exhibitors and micro-enterprises owned and operated by persons with disabilities. The EFMP Case Liaisons, School Liaisons, and Military OneSource manned a booth in the exhibit hall to provide a way to share information with military affiliated families and network with professionals who serve persons and families with disabilities. They were able to connect with many active duty families from all branches of service and field questions regarding IEP/504, relocation, EFMP enrollment, transition from active duty, and TRICARE.
In addition to the exhibit hall, there were over 200 individual breakout sessions where participants could receive training and information on the following topics: Advocacy; Assistive Technology; Birth to Age Five; Dads; Disaster Preparedness; Employment; Mental Health; Military Families; Recreation; Smart Money; and Youth. As part of the Military Track, EFMP Case Liaisons and School Liaisons provided six different training sessions.
The Case Liaisons also had the opportunity to attend the Governor’s Summit on Disabilities, Keynote Sessions, and Training Sessions to help equip them with knowledge and information to better serve our military families. Being able to participate in an event of this magnitude was very impactful to all. One attendee had this to say, “Aside from all of the information and resources that were available, it was inspiring to see a setting where no matter the disability, everyone was accepted. If someone shouted out during a keynote or a presentation, everyone in the room understood, and it was okay. The individual or the family didn’t feel like they stood out or were judged. It was a safe place filled with unspoken understanding. It was beautiful.”
Navy Region Southeast
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