Aisha Bien-Aime, and Charlean Gatlin from the Office of State Senator Randolph Bracy stand next to Apopka Commissioners Kyle Becker and Diane Velazquez.

The Quest Training Center in Apopka sits in a white, nondescript building on West Fourth Street in Apopka. The back of Alonzo Williams Park is visible from there, but its the type of place you may drive past many times without giving it a second glance.

And the good works Quest is doing may well be just as hidden.

Quest, Inc. is a non-profit organization that builds communities where people with disabilities can achieve their goals. For over 50 years, Quest has supported Central Floridians with developmental and intellectual disabilities by offering choices and opportunities to live, learn, work and play. Quest’s mission, through quality and innovation, is to build communities where people with disabilities can enjoy an enhanced quality of life. Quest helps people with disabilities as young as 15 months to well over the age of 80 achieve their dream of going to school, having a job, living on their own, and experiencing summer camp.

Brooke Eakins of Quest and Apopka Mayor-Elect Bryan Nelson

On Wednesday, the Quest Training Center in Apopka opened its doors to the community to celebrate the opening of its snack shack, sponsored by the Sun Trust Foundation, and its art gallery, sponsored by the Orange County Housing and Human Development CBDG Program. Among those attending from the Apopka community were Apopka Mayor-Elect Bryan Nelson, Apopka City Commissioner Diane Velazquez, Apopka Area Chamber of Commerce President Robert Agrusa, Apopka City Commissioner-Elect Alexander Smith, and Apopka City Commissioner Kyle Becker, who is on the Board of Directors for Quest.

 “I’ve had the privilege of supporting Quest and their mission over the past several years and was honored to be appointed to their Board of Directors this past November,” said Becker. “Quest’s mission is to support those with developmental disabilities in their quest to live, learn, work, and play, and their staff successfully executes that mission every hour of every day.”

The Quest Training Center of Apopka celebrated the opening of its snack shack sponsored by the SunTrust Foundation.

The Quest Training Center (QTC) in Apopka provides individuals with a comprehensive offering of skill development and vocational program services to meet their goals and improve their lives. Personal goal achievement is accomplished through the development of an individualized plan created with input from the program participant, caregivers, and QTC team members.

According to QTC, skill development is a key component for individuals with developmental disabilities to have successful, meaningful and enjoyable experiences and to improve their quality of life.

Individual participants at QTC gain skills and/or receive support services in four dedicated skill development areas:

• Vocational Skills Development
• Life Skills Development
• Healthy Living and Cultural & Social Development
• Therapy Services

John Gill (President and CEO of Quest, Inc.), Commissioner Kyle Becker and Apopka Chamber President Robert Agrusa.

Becker is pleased to have the Quest Training Center in the community.

 “We are very lucky to have such a great organization with a broad presence here in Apopka, from one of two of their Training Centers serving over 100 clients daily, to Camp Thunderbird, to various group homes for round the clock support, they have invested in our community and our residents. The open house we had on Wednesday shows how the community and business community have invested back into Quest.  As we highlighted, both Orange County Government and SunTrust Bank generously provided significant resources to make the Apopka Training Center snack shop and art gallery a reality for the Quest clients. The benefit is twofold, the snack shop provides job skill training, and the art gallery provides a showcase of the many artistic talents their clients have.”

Smith was touched by the program and the work it is doing for the developmentally disabled in Apopka.

“The event to see and celebrate the opening of the snack shack and the art gallery was breathtaking,” he said. “To see and witness the work that is being done with and for individuals with developmental disabilities at the Quest Center was heart touching. It’s amazing what is being done right here in our community for our citizens and others that many are not aware of. I applaud and support the staff and employees at Quest for the work they are doing.”

Quest was also celebrating the opening of its art gallery, which was sponsored by the Orange County Housing and Human Development CBDG Program.

The roots of Quest can be traced to the Central Florida Sheltered Workshop (founded in 1962) and Life Concepts. In 1994, these organizations merged to combine resources and serve a greater number of individuals with disabilities. According to Quest, the 52 years of experience has shown them that training and quality care provides self-reliance for these children and adults, helping them find independence and hope. Since its inception, Quest has touched the lives of thousands of people with unique needs. The focus has always been on the person, not the disability. With nearly 166,000 individuals impacted by a disability in Central Florida alone, the vision and mission have never been more important or relevant. Now at more than 26 locations in Orlando and Tampa, Quest continues to build communities where people with disabilities can achieve their goals.

Becker also reached out to the community for its involvement.

 “There is a wide variety of opportunities in which our community can help support Quest’s mission and those they serve, and I would be happy to discuss those with anyone interested.”

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