Duke Energy Florida $25,000 Donation to Parc Center for Disabilities

The Giving Coast

Pictured: Kai and Caregiver Relief Provider, Tyyne. Photo courtesy of Parc Center for Disabilities.

Parc Center for Disabilities recently received a $25,000 donation from Duke Energy Florida for its Nationally Recognized Caregiver Relief Services. Jeff Baker, Government and Community Relations Manager of Duke Energy Florida, stopped by Parc to present Caregiver Relief with the check. The donation funds the continuation of vital relief services after the department’s current funding source ended last year. This will allow the department to continue providing respite services to enrolled families who cannot afford them.

“The work that Caregiver Relief is doing truly changes lives, and at Duke Energy, one of the things that motivates us is to know that the programs we are investing in are making a difference in the community,” Baker stated during the check presentation. Established in 2010, Caregiver Relief is a pillar for families in need of assistance. The department, led by Whitney Stout and Kelly Barrie, is designed to offer short-term breaks to relieve stress for families raising a child with a diagnosed disability, developmental delay, or documented trauma. It currently serves 60 families across Pinellas County and allocates 15 to 35 hours of service per month to each family. In June, ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center named Caregiver Relief an Innovative and Exemplary Respite Service, an award only five programs across the country received. Whitney had the opportunity of speaking at an ARCH conference in September, where she was also presented with this award.

Caregiver Relief Services supports families with children with special needs, providing supports and resources to prevent child abuse and neglect, reduce caregiver stress and burnout, and keep the family unit intact to reduce out of home, foster care placements. Over the last 13 years, Parc’s Caregiver Relief Services has provided Kai, a 16-year old boy with cerebral palsy, seizure disorder and several cognitive delays, and his family opportunities to work, share quality time, preserve positive mental health, and nurture and maintain their family unit.

Kai first came to Parc Center in 2010 when his mother sought assistance from Caregiver Relief Services.  Because of his disabilities, Kai has limited mobility and must use a wheelchair when he leaves the house. Kai's mother, a single parent, found it increasingly difficult to get him out of the house as he grew older. Not only do they lack a wheelchair-accessible vehicle, but Kai, like any other teenager, has a low tolerance for frustration and struggles even in a small grocery store. Caregiver Relief Services was able to respond quickly and provide Kai and his mother with the assistance they needed. Kai and his Caregiver Relief Provider, Tyyne, now go on many adventures while his mother gets to go out and take a vital break away from her daily caregiving responsibilities.

“I'm very grateful for Caregiver Relief," says Kai's mother, Kristie Jo Redfering. "As a single parent raising a child with a disability, you can feel very isolated, but knowing that I have the support of an experienced and caring service like Caregiver Relief makes a huge difference in our lives.”

Pictured: Kai and Caregiver Relief Provider, Tyyne. Photo courtesy of Parc Center for Disabilities.

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