Ability Tree | First Coast

Welcome to First Coast

The partnership between Ability Tree First Coast and the communities in Northeast Florida is the cornerstone of its future. We are committed to meeting the needs of the special needs community by offering Recreation, Education, Support, and Training. Our organization’s approach to excellence in the family’s development, socialization, and support is its hallmark.

As Ability Tree First Coast grows its roots deeper into this region, our programs will provide various opportunities for our families to be supported, included, and educated. We currently offer virtual SociAbility Meet Ups, respite through our Parents Night Out and SociAbility Socials, as well as provide a summer day camp: CampAbility Special Day Camp. We also promote inclusion in the community by offering trainings & presentations/assemblies which provide awareness & strategies for churches, businesses, schools, and organizations to assimilate these families into their visions. In the future, we will offer activities including sibling groups, workshops, and after-school programs.

Our Mission

Our Mission. To come alongside families impacted by disability through recreation, education, support and training (R.E.S.T.); we aim to partner with individuals and organizations to raise awareness and build support networks to strengthen and grow able families.

Our Vision

To help create inclusive, supportive communities where anyone affected by disability can enjoy healthy relationships in their neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, and churches.

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Joanne Alicea

Joanne is our Chief Executive Officer and the parent of a spunky boy with Down syndrome & ADHD and a creative daughter with ADD. Joanne believes in the collaboration of individuals, families, and the communities they live in, to work together to create a culture of support, inclusion, and personal growth. She does presentations on disability awareness in various settings, including symposiums, churches, hospitals, business groups, and schools. With Joanne’s background in case management & support coordination, she provides great insight for those needing to understand more about disability resources and education.

Our Florida First Coast Team

Joanne Alicea

Joanne is our Chief Executive Officer and the parent of a spunky boy with Down syndrome & ADHD and a creative daughter with ADD. Joanne believes in the collaboration of individuals, families, and the communities they live in, to work together to create a culture of support, inclusion, and personal growth. She does presentations on disability awareness in various settings, including symposiums, churches, hospitals, business groups, and schools. With Joanne’s background in case management & support coordination, she provides great insight for those needing to understand more about disability resources and education.

Courtney Sikes

Courtney is our Parents Night Out Coordinator. She’s a St. Augustine native and has two children of her own on the Autism Spectrum. She understands the ongoing challenges that come with being a special needs mom; this is what compels her to create support systems for other families. She has extensive experience working with ESE students from K-12th grade. She is a long time advocate, promoting inclusion and support for those with disabilities, as well as for their families. Her desire is to see ATFC successfully continue promoting awareness, support, and inclusion in our local community (and beyond!)

Beth Sullivan

Beth is our lead teacher for CampAbility Youth Camp. She has 30+ years of experience working with children with special needs in the school system and in the community. She also provides supports to teens and adults through respite, companionship, personal supports/life skills, and supported living. She has a desire for individuals to reach their fullest potential. She has experience with behavioral management and medically complex individuals. She is certified in CPR/AED/First Aid, as well as Medication Administration. With Beth’s extensive skills and insight, our youth are going to show growth in both life skills and social skills.

Jessenia Alicea

Jessenia ‘Jesse’ is our teacher’s assistant for our CampAbility Kids Camp. In May 2021, she completed the Florida Teaching Academy program pursuing a future in special education. She is a student at Flagler College pursuing a career in ESE education, minoring in ASL. Jesse had been volunteering with our camp for the first 4 years of its inception, and then was added to our staff in 2020. She is certified in CPR/AED and proficient in American Sign Language. In addition to her volunteer work, she has a younger brother with Down syndrome & ADHD. Jessenia’s experience working with children with special needs makes her a valuable asset to our team.

Gracie West

Gracie West is our teacher’s assistant for our CampAbility Youth Camp. She is a student at the University of Florida studying business with a minor in disabilities. She has been volunteering with ATFC since 2018 and won the top volunteer status in 2020. We are fortunate to have her now as one of our staff. Gracie was an officer for Best Buddies for two years at St. Augustine High School and has a history of about 8+ years of working with children with special needs. She looks forward to using her education at UF to continue this work at a higher level.

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Our Programming

CampAbility Kids Day Camp

The mission of CampAbility Special Day Camp: Kids Camp is to provide a recreational & educational summer program to elementary-aged children with disabilities in a fun and safe environment. Our recreational activities have educational components & life skills woven into them – so the campers don’t even realize they’re learning or maintaining a skill!
We also offer summer camp sessions to the siblings! By doing this, we hope to help alleviate the burden on parents by keeping their children in one location, provide comfort to the camper with special needs by having someone familiar nearby, and include the sibling(s) by offering them companionship with other siblings who walk in their shoes.
We offer multiple sessions (session= Monday – Friday) throughout the summer with fun-filled themes each week. Campers can attend one session or multiple – you let us know when you register!

CampAbility Youth Day Camp

Our CampAbility Youth Day Camp is for grades 6-12 (at this time, this does not include those who deferred and still attend school after 12th grade.) Our Camp’s mission is to provide a recreational and life skills summer program to youth with disabilities in a fun and safe environment. We recognize our youth are at a point in their lives when it’s critical they learn life skills as they get ready to transition into adulthood. Life skills should be worked on throughout middle & high school.
We will combine activities of daily living with fun & creativity. We will help our campers continue learning throughout the summer and expand on their skills like math, social studies, science, reading, & writing – all through our life activities. Our activities include cooking, wacky science experiments, music, projects, acting/role playing, etc.
There will be multiple trips into the community to learn how to shop, express preferences, self-advocate, socially interact with others, manage money, and more…all while having a great time (they won’t even realize it’s work!)
We offer multiple sessions (session= Monday – Friday) throughout the summer with fun-filled themes each week. Campers can attend one session or multiple – you let us know when you register!
Please note that those attending this camp should be able to participate in the community outings. If you would like to talk with someone to see if this camp is a good fit, call us at 904-494-8583.

Family SociAbility

Our Family SociAbility events provide an avenue for MVPs and their families to be in a comfortable environment where they can connect with other families who “walk in their shoes.” We desire to see our families develop lifetime friendships and support while doing family friendly activities.
Our events may include holiday-themed activities, dances, Beachwalk family days, downtown adventures, cookouts, movie nights, and more. For some of our events, registration is required due to capacity or venue request. Other events will be “come on in – the more the merrier!”

Parents Night Out

Our Parents Night Out (PNO) events are for children with special needs and their siblings! We believe that safety is vital as families entrust us with their children. Therefore, we will have a nurse onsite and each child with special needs (our MVPs) is paired one-on-one with a volunteer to participate in that evening’s activities. Our Super Sibs will be grouped with buddies as well.
Enjoy a night out and some REST while the Ability Tree Team hangs out with your child(ren). MVPs and their siblings will make new friends, play fun inclusive games, enjoy crafts, stories, accessible activities, and much more! Meanwhile, you as the parent/caregiver get a break from your ongoing care-giving responsibilities for THREE HOURS!
Due to limited space and use of volunteers at each of these events, PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. Once our spots are filled, there will be a waiting list in case of any family cancellations. If you are not able to register because all spots are filled, please put your name on the waiting list!

SociAbility Connections

Our SociAbility Connections provide an avenue for MVPs to be in a comfortable environment where they can develop lifetime friendships while doing activities, enjoying meals, and/or dancing the night away! The socials are open to tweens, teens, and adults with disabilities, as well as local buddies in order to promote inclusion & meaningful friendships.
Enjoy a moment of REST while the Ability Tree Team hangs out with MVP. We understand that you as the parent/caregiver need a moment to breathe, so while your MVP is having a blast with us, you can go enjoy some time to yourself.
Space is limited so please RSVP/pre-register. This is not required, but be aware that once the spots are filled, we can’t allow more to enter. There will be a waitlist available online in case of any cancellations. If you are not able to register because all spots are filled, please put your name on the waitlist! The waitlist is through the RSVP link below.

Contact Us

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  • Branch address: 96 Masters Dr. St. Augustine, FL 32084
  • Office phone: (855) 288-6735 ext. 5 or (904) 494-8583
  • Email: info@abilitytreefc.org