Parent to Parent of Miami, Inc. began in 1986 with one heart-felt wish, may families have an easier time than we did obtaining the services and support needed to raise their children. Founder and first President Paula Lalinde built a Board of Trustees along with Iliana C. Hernandez, Marci Mesa and Chris and Ven Sequenzia which secured its non-for-profit status. For the first time in the history of disability services in Miami-Dade County, families from all types of disability groups were outreaching to other families in an organized and systematic way.
The organization operated out of the office of UCP until July 1987 when it moved to the homes of Paula Lalinde and Iliana Hernandez. Slowly, the new service model of families helping other families began to take hold, and the home telephone numbers of parent volunteers became the life-line for hundreds of families throughout Miami-Dade County.
In 1990, Parent to Parent experienced significant growth. First, there was funding from the Community Committee for Developmental Handicaps (CCDH), whereby Parent to Parent of Miami was able to hire its first part-time employee. Second, the Florida Diagnostic Learning Resource Systems (FDLRS) offered Parent to Parent office space in their new facility. Third, March of Dimes’ funding supported efforts to outreach and provide peer support to families with young children with disabilities. With this funding, Parent to Parent of Miami developed an official logo, printed brochures, and developed mechanisms to collect and report grant data. These efforts prepared the organization for later funding opportunities.
In 1998, the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) has funded the program as a Community Parent Resource Center (CPRC) for families who have children and adults with disabilities in Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties. Parent to Parent of Miami expanded its role as a CPRC by entering into a cooperative agreement with Miami-Dade County Public Schools in October 2002. This cooperative agreement provided greater opportunities for school-based parent professional partnerships.
Parent to Parent of Miami's Families Building a Community of Excellence through Support, Training and Leadership Project funded by The Children’s Trust in 2004 supports activities to increase family functioning and parenting practices to improve child health, school outcomes, and systems of care for children and youth with disabilities or special needs.
It is through these diverse funding sources and your direct support that Parent to Parent of Miami serves over 3,000 families annually.