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March 16, 2024: GAP/GMST had a table at the GCPS Transition Fair.  See this link for information and presenter videos.

Previous GAP Sessions:

April 25, 2019: We were pleased to welcome staff from Annandale Village, Peachtree Christian Health, Just People, Lifetime, Inc., Creative Community Services, Community Living Solutions, Inspiritus, and Gentility. These providers presented an array of residential options in a panel format.

November 2018: We were pleased to welcome Janie Avant and Ray Brennan. They shared information about the contents of a letter of intent, as well as information on how to set up a notebook with all relevant information about your loved one with special needs.

February 2018: We were pleased to welcome Nan Kaszmer with Sutton, McClellan & Gibreath, Inc. She shared information on finanical planning, including options for medical coverage.

November 2017We were pleased to welcome Sally Atwell with the Benefits Navigator Project. Sally shared her wealth of information on navigating a very confusing system.

August and September 2017: We were pleased to welcome Daniel Moore with Care-Go, Rosalind Chavers with Charris Enterprise, Inc., and Destiny O'Loughlin with Gwinnett County Transit. This panel presented on transportation options for those with disabilities in Gwinnett County. Our audience also had the opportunity to share their needs.

March and April 2017: We were pleased to welcome Chad Edwards, Partner with Prehmus Financial. Chad presented a wealth of information on financial matters involving individuals with special needs. Some of the questions he addressed included:

1. How do we prioritize the need for planning for our family member versus our own retirement needs?

2. Basic documents and things we should have in place today should something unexpected arise.

3. Special Needs Trust VS ABLE account - both or which is better?

January 2017: Judge Christopher Ballar from the Gwinnett County Probate Court spoke about the regulations governing  guardianship. 

October and November, 2016: staff from Annandale Village, St. Mary’s Independent Living Extensions (S.M.I.L.E.), L’Arche Atlanta, Developmental Disabilities Ministries (DDM), and Wishes4Me presented an array of residential options in a panel format. 

August and September, 2016: AADD: All About Developmental Disabilities presented on supported employment and provided information on their Family Outreach Program.

March 10, 2016: Day Program Opportunities for Individuals with Special Needs. Panel participants presented information about their programs:

             Annandale Village: Keith Fenton presented on the day program, which is specifically designed for individuals who reside with loved ones in the local area or with other service providers, the Day Programs allow for each individual’s experience to be uniquely structured. 

         Hi-Hope Service Center: Linda Hughes and Terri Bennett presented information about how their program offers individuals the opportunity to build community, experience personal growth and obtain significance.

           New Directions Adult Autism Program: Mary O'Connell presented information on this program which provides an individual focused vocational, behavioral day program which offers supports nad services designed to meet each individual's needs and preferences based on goals outlined in their Individual Service Plan (ISP). 

          The Next Stop: Vicki La Roche presented information about this vibrant program which offers high quality group activities, learning opprtunities and personalized mentorship to its members, 3 days a week. 

            St. Mary's Independent Living Extensions (SMILE): Lynne Studer presented information about this nonprofit organization of trained caregivers who work around-the-clock to enrich the lives of adults with developmental disabilities by maximizing independence, breaking down barriers and advocating for greater community access.

January 14, 2016: Leisure Opportunities for Individuals with Special Needs. Participants presented on a variety of options:

           Gwinnett Parks and Recreation: Janice Rinaldo and Tina Pangle presented on options available through both the inclusive programs offered at parks and rec facilites, and the therapeutic program opprtunities. 

         HAPPY Club: Bruce and Lisa Downs presented on the social programs provided through HAPPY Club participation, sponsored by the Metro Atlanta YMCA. For further information please contact Janice Mathews at, or Lisa and Bruce Downs (Dacula/Hamilton Mill location) at HAPPY is also starting at two new locations: South DeKalb Family YMCA off Snapfinger Rd in Decatur and Wade Walker Park YMCA off Rockbridge Rd in Stone Mountain. How exciting! Contact info: South DeKalb Family YMCA, Chapter Coordinator: 678-418-3504,   Wade Walker Park YMCA, Chapter Coordinator: Tracey Benson  678-781-9622

        Parkwood Farms: Dr. Marilyn Peterson spoke about the programs offered at her Therapeutic Riding facility located in Snellville. Opportunities include Equine Assisted Activities, Therapeutic Horseback riding, and a Special Olympics Equestrian Team (ages 8 and up). 

            Social Skills Today: Mary O'Connell presented on social skills programs for youth and adults with communication, sensory integration, social interaction, and behavioral needs. Options include Social Groups (including the Spectrum Drama Club), Day Camp, and Camp Journey (overnight camps). Contact Mary at for more information.

             Mr. and Ms. Special Gwinnett County Pageant: Mary Womble and Pam Hite presented on this unique cultural opportunity for teens and adults with special needs. Once the Royal Court is crowned at the yearly pageant (this year - on July 23, 2016), they particiapte in a variety of community events throughout the year. Activites include attendance at concerts and shows (The Nutcracker ballet, Music on the Lawn in Lawrenceville), community awareness (riding on a float in the Dacula Memorial Day parade), and service projects (cookie delivery and singing at Annandale Village's nursing home). For more information and to register for this year's pageant, follow this link. Updated information will be posted soon. 

November 12, 2015: Sally Atwell from the Benefits Navigator Project presented on SSI and SSDI, and the WIPA program.

October 1, 2015: Mark Biernath presented on the ABLE Act, as well as Special Needs Trusts and wills. Follow this link to learn more about the ABLE act. 

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