SARASOTA — The Florida Center for Early Childhood held a dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony honoring its former CEO, Kathryn Shea, on September 23, 2021.
Over 50 people gathered in the sensory garden at The Florida Center’s Sarasota campus for a short presentation that featured the agency’s current CEO, Dr. Kristie. Skoglund, Shea and Eddie Perez-Ruberte, vice chair of the board of directors. A live stream of the broadcast is available here: https://fb.watch/8cme15d8DB/
Shea was instrumental in opening The Florida Center’s Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Clinic in 2005, the first and only clinic of its kind in the State of Florida. During the event, Shea discussed how her adopted son, Seth Winners, was the inspiration for all her efforts. When she and her husband were given the opportunity to foster him as a baby, they were told his fetal alcohol syndrome, the most severe diagnosis on the FASD spectrum, was “no big deal.” Like many other families with similar scenarios, they had no idea the disorder would affect him his entire life.
Shea has been an advocate for Winners and other young children with vulnerabilities for the last 35 years and has continued working with local and state government to build sustainable systems to care for children with mental health and FASD disorders in her retirement.
The heartfelt presentation culminating in a ribbon cutting featuring the Sarasota County Chamber of Commerce. In honor of all Shea’s efforts, the clinic will now be known as the Kathryn Shea FASD Clinic.
Rise and Nye was selected to cater the event because it employs people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Like autism, FASD is a lifelong spectrum disorder. Many people living with the disorder benefit from businesses, like Rise and Nye, that look past their disability and see them as the unique person that they are.