F.R.I.E.N.D.S. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that has been a staple of the Tampa Bay area since 2007. Our Mission is:

  • To support new parents, families, and individuals diagnosed with Down syndrome or other special needs.
  • To provide our special needs community support groups, resources, and educational information.
  • To provide vital programs and activities for our Down syndrome and Special Needs community so they can connect, find support, and make FRIENDS.
  • To Advocate for Inclusion, Equality, & Diversity!


Families - To provide compassionate emotional support, broad-reaching educational services, peer to peer support, vital year-round programs, and fun, family-friendly activities.


Respect - The term “mental retardation” was used medically, educationally, and legally to describe individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Unfortunately, it is used as a casual description of anything negative or flawed. Rosa’s Law was established to replace “mental retardation” with “intellectual disability” in all languages. We ask that our community treat people with disabilities with respect and understanding and stop using the R-word.


Inspire - Our special needs individuals inspire us each day, and we strive to help them believe in themselves and become a productive member of society.


Educate - We work daily to educate our community, its leaders, and professionals to see our individuals worth and know their value.


Networking - We continually look for special needs resources and opportunities to help our special needs community.


Down syndrome is our primary focus, but we are an all-inclusive organization.


Special needs - We love and serve our Tampa Bay Special Needs community!