Founded by Trish O’Brien and Dana Keating, two mothers with special needs children, the All Abilities Foundation of Greater Philadelphia grew from the desire to build a sense of community for families facing similar challenges.
Throughout Trish’s experience of being a mother to Hannah, she and her family often felt isolated and without a sense of community where they were embraced whole-heartedly. After years of handling numerous medical, cognitive, and social challenges, Trish finally found herself in a position where she could give back and help create a community where people facing similar challenges felt welcomed and celebrated.
In March 2016, she planned and hosted a “Disco Bingo” event. Tailored for children and families with special needs, it was clear that this type of event so rare in our community was much desired. Dana Keating attended the event with her daughter Charlotte, and expressed the hope for more events tailored for the special needs community in the future.
In August 2016, Trish and Dana formally put the wheels in motion and developed the first schedule of events for the 2016-2017 school year. Encompassing social events and a basketball program, each event received tremendous positive feedback and encouragement to continue scheduling events to serve the special needs – or, rather, the “all abilities” – community.
Trish and Dana’s vision continues to grow. The foundation now provides an expanded sports program, a speaker series to help families of special needs children with issues legal and otherwise, social events, and opportunities for the all abilities community to give back through service projects.
Establishing its 501(c)(3) non-profit status in August 2018, the All Abilities Foundation of Greater Philadelphia embraces, welcomes, and celebrates the all abilities community without judgment and with the vision of 100% acceptance. Its mission to create an environment of acceptance, community, and fellowship strongly based on love, compassion, and hope is for the community at large – not just individuals and families with special needs and regardless of race, religion, or creed.