During the 2023 Florida Legislative session, Team BAC was grateful to have the opportunity to advocate for the needs of our program participants and the entire Florida disability community.
The star of these advocacy efforts was BAC self-advocate Josh Dillion. Dillion, along with his parents Brian and Debby Dillion, spent three days meeting with and educating the Brevard delegation about his needs, goals and desires. The Dillions also highlighted the challenges people with disabilities and their families and supports face in securing the services they need to thrive and build independence into their lives.
Under the leadership and guidance of Senator Tom Wright and Representative Randy Fine, BAC sought and secured an appropriation that will fund $275,000 of life skills training and enrichment services for adults with significant disabilities at our Rockledge facility; this is an increase in funding from last year.
“This ten percent increase in support will make a profound impact on the high-quality, critical services our team is able to provide our participants and we cannot thank Senator Wright and Representative Fine enough for championing and fighting for this support for people with disabilities.”
Josh, Brian, and Debby candidly shared the difficulties they have faced as a family since Josh contracted West Nile virus from a mosquito bite along the river here on the Space Coast as a young boy. That small bite altered their lives forever, as the virus left Josh with epilepsy, learning challenges and near daily seizures.
Despite these barriers, Josh’s impressive accomplishments include graduating from Viera High School in 2019 and being named the 2020 Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame Challenger Award Inductee, which honored his numerous achievements as a multi-sport Special Olympics athlete.
“Our entire delegation learned so much from Josh and his family, and I know their self-advocacy efforts really helped make this funding a priority for all of our elected officials,” said McGrath. “Seeing the pride on Josh’s face when Senator Wright invited him to sit at his desk, in the Senator’s own chair, and tell him about what this funding would do for Josh’s life was such an inspirational moment for all of us.”
Learn more about Josh’s Hall of Fame induction here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXaW3_3KsJs