25 May

Let’s taco-bout charity with Chipotle!

Burrito, bowl, tacos, or just chips and guac – any purchase* made at the Clearwater Chipotle located at 2662 Gulf to Bay Blvd, Clearwater, FL 33759 on Tuesday, May 30th will see 50% donated back to PARC to help fund the programs and services PARC provides to over 800 children and adults with special needs in our community, so long as the fundraiser is mentioned or the flyer is shown (print or digitally) to the cashier.

Spread the word and invite all of your friends, family, coworkers, and more to feast on Chipotle for lunch and/or dinner!

Show us you’re #ChippinginwithChipotle on social media and tag us @PARCfl!

Don’t like Chipotle? You can still help by sharing the flyer, or even by making a donation at

*Gift card purchases do not apply.

17 May


Proceeds to benefit culinary arts students with special needs

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (May 15, 2017) – PARC’s third annual Top Chefs event will be held at The Birchwood in their Grand Ballroom on Saturday, July 15, 2017.

Top Chefs raises financial support and awareness for PARC’s Culinary Arts Program and the opportunities it provides to individuals with special needs. It teaches those in the program to cook for themselves and pick nutritious and well-rounded recipes, giving them more independence. Most importantly, the program also trains and certifies each individual for future job opportunities in our local, thriving hospitality industry. Multiple graduates from the program have been placed in kitchens throughout Pinellas County and are earning impressive salaries.

“PARC is extremely fortunate to have a friend in Laurie Stogniew, Top Chefs Chair since inception,” said Monica Lukasik, Director of Marketing and Communications. “Laurie helped bring this event to life three years ago and has been integral in connecting PARC to the restaurants, chefs, and sponsors as well as making this event one of the organization’s signature events.”

PARC’s Top Chefs fundraiser has become a “must attend” local event and sells out annually. Its popularity is due to the pairing of top restaurants and their chefs with students from the Culinary Teaching Kitchen @ PARC to serve delicious food and showcase the collaboration of all participants for an invaluable training experience.

Restaurants scheduled to attend include Birch & Vine at The Birchwood, Guppy’s, Rusty’s Bistro at The Sheraton Sand Key, 1200 Chophouse, Clear Sky on Cleveland, and Tryst. Jenn Holloway, from WFLA News Channel 8, will serve as the emcee for the event. Open bar and signature drinks will be provided by Breakthru Beverage Group and desserts will be provided by LeAnn’s Cheesecakes.

About PARC

PARC is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide opportunities for children and adults with developmental disabilities to exercise their independence and experience life to the fullest. Established in 1953, PARC currently serves more than 800 individuals in the greater Tampa Bay area.


07 Apr

Artists working out of the Inspired Artist Studios @ PARC beautify the neighborhood!

At the end of March 2017, Artists who create out of the Inspired Artist Studios @ PARC were awarded the amazing opportunity to put their artistic talents to work and beautify their neighborhood for everyone to enjoy.

The “Pillars of Passion Project” was the brain child of Dr. Ed Carlson, President of the Jungle Terrace Civic Association, who set out to find a way to spruce up an area often hit by graffiti. To start this venture, he reached out to the community and local artists to request sketches of their ideas for the pillars located off Tyrone Blvd. PARC was awarded a pillar to create a mural that they wanted the world to see. This area off the Pinellas Trail is adjacent to the PARC Campus, where children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities are embraced, and their talents are encouraged.

“We are thrilled and honored that the artists that create out of the Inspired Artist Studios @ PARC could be a part of the community’s mission to make our space a nicer place to be.  They added their creative voice to a place where they live and work, and the mural is a constant reminder to all of us that PARC is a place that celebrates inclusion and diversity for everyone,” said Mattie Mingst, Arts Administrator at PARC.

The mural is a collaborative piece created by the artists and the PARC Teaching Artists.  While the tree image was being painted on the pillar, a huge canvas was painted by all the clients at PARC, and then cut into leaves that were attached to the pillars and applied so that they are sealed from weather damage; everyone at PARC was able leave their mark.            

PARC is a nonprofit organization in St. Petersburg, FL whose mission is to provide opportunities for children and adults with developmental disabilities to exercise their independence and experience life to the fullest. The Florida Inspired travelling exhibition contributes to a platform that promotes diversity, inclusion and accessibility in the Arts.


See all the pictures here!


03 Mar

Puppies 4 Autism

Our neighbors at Azalea Elementary School are hosting a fundraiser to raise money for local organizations around the area. The students in Mr. Carneiro’s class will be baking all natural homemade dog biscuits to sell and 100% of the money raised will be donated evenly between:

• Our local SPCA to purchase pet supplies and food.
• Our local PARC organization to for individuals with disabilities.
• Our Azalea Elementary ASD units to help fund supplies and CBI’s.

The students will be participating in baking dog biscuits once a week. In addition to supporting wonderful organizations, students will be learning important life skills. Cooking will be infused into the curriculum as a vital health and functional life skills component. Students will learn how to follow directions, work on reading and listening skills, sequencing, communicating appropriately with one another, use math for measuring and adjusting recipes, practice with a variety of practical kitchen utensils, and be an active participant in selling biscuits – which includes collecting money and dispersing change. Moreover, this will help motivate students, and increase self-advocacy and self- determination skills for their future.
Bags of delicious homemade dog biscuits for $2 and on-sale in the Administration Lobby.

Thank you to our friends in Mr. Carneiro’s class…we appreciate your donation!

02 Mar

Sun Country Cleaners and PARC Host 10th Annual Unclaimed Clothing Sale

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (March 1, 2017) – PARC announced they will hold the 10th Annual Sun Country Unclaimed Clothing Sale on Saturday, March 25th from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the J. W. Cate Recreation Center at 5801 22nd Ave N., St. Petersburg, FL 33710.

Thousands of freshly cleaned items, unclaimed by customers and donated by Sun Country Cleaners will be on sale for $5 per item during the sale. Items available for purchase include business suits, dresses, men’s dress shirts, sweaters, sport shirts, blouses, ties, trousers and more from sizes XS through 4X. Also available will be linens and bedspreads. “Anything you might take to the dry cleaner that went unclaimed will be for sale,” said Monica Lukasik, PARC’s Director of Marketing, adding “we highly recommend you arrive early to get in line as each year the sale gets bigger and bigger and the line to peruse the items gets longer and longer.” All proceeds from this annual sale benefit PARC, a non-profit agency supporting children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Since the sale began, Sun Country has donated more than $100,000 to PARC.

New this year, PARC will be offering a chance to participate in an exclusive VIP Pre-Sale. For a donation of $50, you are able to shop the night before, Friday, March 24th, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. This is a great opportunity to beat the crowd, get first dibs on the great bargains and donate to the people PARC serves at the same time. For more information about the sale, call the Sun Country Cleaners Corporate Office at 727-535-9930 or PARC at 727-341-6933.

PARC is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide opportunities for children and adults with developmental disabilities to exercise their independence and experience life to the fullest. Established in 1953, PARC currently serves more than 800 individuals in the greater Tampa Bay area. To learn more about PARC, call 727-345-9111 or visit

01 Mar

A Musical Connection

We are honored to be a part of the tour of Matt Bednarsky, a musician who is inspiring to all.   He performed at PARC on Wednesday March 1, 2017.

We first heard of Matt when Jono, a musician who attends PARC, was interested in having his friend play a small concert for him during his Inspired Choir rehearsals.

Jono first connected with Matt Bednarsky through his YouTube videos where fans can reach out interact with Matt. The friendship grew through social media and they soon arranged a house concert for Jono’s birthday while he was touring throughout the country.

When speaking with Jono’s mother she explained, “we first met Matt in Sept 2013, when Jono insisted that he needed to meet “his new friend”. When we visited Nashville, Matt met us with open arms and treated Jono as a long lost friend.  He introduced Jono at one of his gigs, which made Jono feel great.  Matt lets Jono accompany him at some events (Jono on the bongos) and they continue their friendship.  I think Matt has a heart of gold, and we’re proud to know him.”

Who is Matt Bednarsky?

Think somewhere in between James Taylor and John Mayer with Ryan Adams and Michael Bublé mixed in.

But, you’re better off just throwing that last sentence out the window and hear him for yourself.  Matt attended New York University and studied Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, psychology, and music.  After studying abroad in Italy, graduating from NYU, and living at an orphanage in Trujillo, Peru for eight months, he eventually found himself back in NYC and immersed in Greenwich Village’s singer/songwriter community.  However, it wasn’t long until he made the move to Nashville in 2013 to dive into Music City’s vibrant scene.

He’s released three full-length studio albums, “A Bigger Picture” (in part executive produced by Ed Cash) in 2014, “Two” (co-produced with Gus Berry) in 2015, and “Luminescence” (co-produced with Neilson Hubbard) in 2017.

He’s toured the country and the world, playing to audiences in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Australia.

He opened for legendary British artist Joan Armatrading on multiple engagements during her final major tour as well as soulful American Idol Season 9 Runner-Up Crystal Bowersox.

He was named a 2015 Artist of the Year by Concerts In Your Home. And, he’s built upon his expansive internet presence; currently he has over 2.7 million cumulative views on YouTube.

-Excerpt from


09 Jan

Enjoy a Meal and Give to PARC at the Same Time!

Chili’s in Pinellas Park is holding a Give Back Event to benefit PARC on January 23, 2017 from 11am – 11pm.

With each Flyer presented, Chili’s will donate 10% to the event day sales to PARC.

Click here for the full details and to print out your flyer:  give-back-event-flyer20161222153212390-2




15 Dec

Thanks for making our holiday special!

A Big, HUGE, THANK YOU to the Tampa Bay Rays staff, Josh Momberg, our dear friend Dick Crippen and, of course, Raymond! These amazing indivuduals came to the Discovery Learning Center’s Holiday Celebration and handed out very special presents to all the kids. The superhero capes are the hot item around here now!

Also a GIGANTIC THANK YOU to Barb Thomas and Bankers Financial Corp and the LARCs/Parents, Guardians, Friends of PARC for supplying and distributing all the snacks for the party!

Check out all the holiday fun at



15 Dec

Aktion Club Donates 238lbs of Food!



PETERSBURG, FL. (December 15, 2016) – On Monday, December 12, 2016, PARC clients with intellectual and developmental disabilities, who participate in the Kiwanis Aktion Club, dropped off 238 pounds of food to the St. Petersburg Free Clinic after weeks of collecting donations.

In June 2016, six clients of PARC’s Lifelong Learning Program, began volunteering their time at the St. Petersburg Free Clinic. Since then, they have donated over 50 hours of volunteer time, packed over 500 bags of food for needy families, and 200 bags of items for hungry animals in the community. In November, these volunteers heard that the Clinic was running low on food for the holiday season, and decided they wanted to hold a food drive as their Aktion Club project. Aktion Club is the only service club for adults with disabilities whose mission is to provide adults living with disabilities the opportunity to develop initiative, leadership skills and serve their communities.

The food drive was held on the PARC campus in St. Petersburg, with drop off bins brightly decorated by clients spread throughout all the buildings. On December 12, 238 pounds of food was delivered to the clinic, where Beth Houghton, Executive Director of the St. Pete Free Clinic, announced that it would feed over 200 families this holiday season. “What you have here is people who have their own challenges and adversities helping other people in need in the community, and it really warms my heart”, said Houghton.

Karen Higgins, President and CEO of PARC, was on-site at the clinic to congratulate the individuals on a job well done. “I couldn’t be more proud of them. Not only have they embraced their roles as volunteers here at the St. Petersburg Free Clinic, but they have gone above and beyond to do what they can to be a part of the solution here in our community. They have shown all of us the true meaning of the holiday season” said Higgins, beaming with pride.

PARC is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide opportunities for children and adults with developmental disabilities to exercise their independence and experience life to the fullest. Established in 1953, PARC currently serves more than 800 individuals in the greater Tampa Bay area. To learn more about PARC, call 727-345-9111 or visit