The impactful story of a resident’s long life in the care of PARC, a facility for individuals with developmental disabilities.
ST. PETERSBURG, FL – PARC, Inc. Rosemary Allen began her journey at PARC at a very young age in the Peter Pan Preschool. At the time, the Peter Pan Preschool was the only innovative preschool specializing in the care and education of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Rosemary went on to participate in PARC’s programs for 68 years. Though the loss of such a dear member of PARC’s family weighs heavy on everyone’s heart, it brings PARC so much pride and honor to have been a part of her long, successful, and fulfilling life.
Thanks in part to the care and blessing of residing at PARC, Rosemary surpassed the average life expectancy of an individual with developmental disabilities by over 15 years. She was able to live a fulfilled life where she participated in PARC’s Adult Day Programs which included many daily activities such as art, gardening, and culinary classes. While living in PARC’s residential homes Rosemary had the opportunity to travel, make lifelong friends, and contribute to the community through art pieces that she created in the Inspired Artist Studios at PARC. Amber Powell Assistant Manager at PARC recalls her in loving memory as someone “who never knew a stranger”, was full of witty humor, and remembered the details of all the people close to her making sure to ask them about their spouses, dogs, and children. The impact of her life is made evident by the overflow of comments and reactions on PARC’s Facebook post about her passing. Over 77 people whose lives she impacted left loving comments and shared their warmest memories. Her family expressed how much she will be missed and recall the joy it was to be around her during every vacation and holiday in recent years.
Rosemary’s story is a huge celebration of life for the community of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Her life is a testament to the incredible progress that has been made across the board in the services and support provided to children and adults with developmental disabilities. Up until her final days, Rosemary was making jewelry, playing bingo, joking with her friends, and painting floral masterpieces. Despite the heartache of loss, PARC is proud every single day to continue carrying out their mission of providing opportunities for children and adults with developmental disabilities to exercise their independence and experience life to the fullest. Sadly, homes like the PARC group home where Rosemary lived for 30+ years is in jeopardy of closing due to the gap in funding from the state. PARC, and residential homes like the ones at PARC have been struggling with state funding for several years. PARC has only effectively received 1 increase in funding in the last 11 years, leaving the gap between the money needed and the money received larger each year. Exceptional care for individuals with developmental disabilities is at a critical state. At times like these the awareness, support, and advocacy of the community makes all the difference.
PARC is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide opportunities for children & adults with developmental disabilities to exercise their independence and experience life to the fullest. PARC provides over 40 programs and services to children and adults with developmental disabilities and their families.