Over lunch in 1978, five determined professional women came together to form a groundbreaking organization to help individuals with disabilities and their families in Monmouth County. These women realized there was a gap in services that needed to be filled and Family Resource Associates (FRA) was the solution.
With a meager budget of just $5,000 in the basement of the Asbury Park YMCA, FRA was committed to doing things differently in order to respond to families in need. The landscape of services available to individuals living with disAbilities was much different back then. FRA pioneered several new concepts that have now been adopted as best practices in the field, including:
- early adoption of in-home therapeutic support for infants and children
- the first interdisciplinary approach to working with children of all ages with a range of disAbilities
- the first educational, therapeutic summer program for preschoolers
- the first tutoring and developmental education services
- the first lending library of toys, physical equipment and books
- the first respite care and babysitter training program for children with disabilities program in New Jersey
- the first weekly recreation programs for children with severe and multiple disabilities
- ongoing family support and sibling programs
While at first dismissed by county and federal funding for our “radical” practices, FRA remained committed to listening to the needs of individuals with disAbilties. In 1988, FRA was awarded a unique honor when we were selected, above numerous other and larger institutions, by the National Alliance for Technology Access to establish the first technology center in New Jersey that would be available to the entire community. The result was FRA's TECHConnection, another light-year leap ahead for the disAbled and their families - offering an active, non-commercial center where people could come, explore and try out the latest and greatest technological devices as well as gain valuable resources and training.
Today, we are part of a larger community that supports individuals with disAbilities. Yet, for many families, we have remained the best provider or only option when it comes to support. With so many changes impacting families with disAbilities, but the day-to-day challenges persisting, we know our strength is critical to their future success.
We are committed to enriching the lives of disAbled people and their families...today and tomorrow, and are grateful for the community of support that allows us to offer hope to those in need!