As we begin our 65th year of providing quality services to people with intellectual and developmental differences, we are reminded of the incredible journey we have taken together to achieve what we’ve accomplished. Each of our participants have a story that is uniquely their own. Today I want to share with you Darrin’s story.
Darrin came to Pine Castle 40 years ago. He was one of our first participants to interview for our residential program and has been a resident in one our group homes ever since. In the 1990’s, when Pine Castle expanded our production services for clients to earn a paycheck, Darrin was there learning new skills to hopefully enter the workforce. Eventually he began working at Burger King in the early 2000s. Darrin excelled as a lobby host, greeted customers and ensured the lobby and restrooms were clean. When Darrin retired from Burger King in 2013, it became even more vital that Pine Castle keep him connected in the community. To keep Darrin’s story going, one of our most urgent needs is a new 12 passenger van. This will allow Darrin and others like him to be able to keep engaging in the community, and more importantly to have reliable transportation to essential medical appointments.
It is our hope to raise $35,000 during this holiday season to purchase this van that will make more than 80 trips per month for our participants like Darrin to have access to healthcare, to worship at their chosen church, to stay connected with friends at Special Olympics practices and at their bowling league, and to enjoy new opportunities throughout Northeast Florida. What a special gift to our residents this would be – the gift of independence and freedom to come and go as we do each day.