About Caring Communities
The ad hoc group specified that this new organization must be family centered and serve all parents regardless of the nature of a child’s disability and with sensitivity to race, culture or ethnic background. They agreed that it must be parent-directed in that a majority of its board members and employees must themselves be parents of children who have disabilities. A Board of Directors was formed, articles of incorporation were developed and the process to receive non-profit status was completed. The founding date for Caring Communities, Inc. was February 12, 1998. Since that time, grant funding has been received to train many respite care providers and to provide respite-related family support services in most counties in the state of Maryland.
Caring Communities has now grown into a well-known and widely respected service organization offering disability-related activities and events for thousands within the entire disabilities community in MD, DC and Virginia. Our events and services include: the World of Possibilities Expos in Maryland and Virginia, two of the largest disabilities expos in the Region, the Caring Kit, the Caring Network and local respite care trainings. Our publications include the World of Possibilities Lifestyle Disabilities Magazines (published twice a year/Baltimore-Washington edition) and the About Our Family respite care workbook.
We are an impassioned organization, with a staff whole-heartedly dedicated to seeing that all people, no matter what their ability may have access to all that life has to offer. Each employee and volunteer brings unique personal and professional perspective and insight. The executive director and founder of Caring Communities is a Registered Nurse and parent of a child with disabilities who has had over 20 years of professional and personal experience working to improve the lives of people with disabilities.
About Our Founder
Caring Communities is the brainchild of Mona Freedman, a Registered Nurse and parent of twin girls, one of which has a developmental disability. Her professional career spans over 2 decades, which includes pediatric rehab nursing in specialty hospitals and pediatric homecare. Her most recent position of 10 years was as the Family Support Services Coordinator with the MSDE’S Division of Special Education and the Maryland Infants and Toddlers Program.
Through her experiences as an advocate, active parent leader and professional, Ms. Freedman has seen many of her friends suffer the consequences of rarely receiving “breaks“ from raising their child with a disability. Personally and professionally, for many years, respite has been of interest to her. She left state government service to try to enhance opportunities for families to find respite services.
Since Ms. Freedman initiated Caring Communities 1998, over 400 respite care providers have been trained Statewide. They were then matched with families within the Caring Network who needed respite care services. Due to budget shortfalls and limited funding opportunities the Caring Network and respite trainings have become limited in scope.
In 2004, Ms. Freedman and her Caring Communities team began producing World of Possibilities Disabilities Expos, which have now grown into the largest Expos of its kind in the Region. The Expos, Caring Kit and other products and services have been able help expand the mission of Caring Communities, serve all members of the disabilities community and enable the organization to continue the Caring Network and respite activities.