FOCUS began in 1983 when two medically fragile children shared a hospital room. The families of these children became friends, and, in each other, found information and hope. Together, they founded FOCUS to help families cope with the overwhelming struggles of parenting a child with special needs. The five core FOCUS programs were:
- Share Groups – The first living room support group now has multiple monthly Atlanta locations, facilitated by parent volunteers
- Hospital Visits – Volunteers bring ‘hope and chocolate’ when children are in the hospital
- Newsletter – Parents and professionals write feature articles to tell their stories and help other parents
- Family Activity – The first small picnic in 1984 moved to Six Flags in 2004. Families look forward to this annual event, enjoying being part of a crowd instead of standing out in the crowd!!
- Holiday Party – Santa and FOCUS continue to partner with another local nonprofit to kick off the holiday season every December!
FOCUS then began to grow – both in the number of families reached and in the number of programs offered:
- 1987 – The first annual education conference, which continues today! Parents find information andresources, meet other parents and have a little fun!
- 1992 – Extra Special Saturday respite care for children with disabilities so parents can enjoy a Saturday morning off monthly. FOCUS hosts six locations every month!
- 1994 – Camp Hollywood: Where Everyone’s A Star!! FOCUS offers one week of summer day camp in 10 locations in metro Atlanta. Camp Hollywood reaches almost 300 campers each summer!
- 1999 – Under the Stars family camp is offer twice annually: in August at Camp Twin Lakes Rutledge and in October at Camp Twin Lakes Will-A-Way.
- 2000 – FOCUS on Fashion Show celebrates our beautiful children and the professionals who care for them.
- 2000 – the debut of the FOCUS website at www.focus-ga.org, thanks to talented and generous friends of FOCUS
- 2002 – first FOCUS Day at Zoo Atlanta
- 2005 – Extreme Home Modification Tour. FOCUS families open their home to show modifications made for children with physical disabilities.
- 2006 – First teen and young adult social outings, for the ‘first’ FOCUS kids who are growing up!
- 2007 – the first FOCUS Camp Infinity, an overnight camp for teens and young adults at Camp Twin Lakes Rutledge.
- 2007 – the first FOCUS Family Day at the Georgia Aquarium.
- 2007 – FOCUS goes back to basics, offering smaller gatherings for medically fragile children (MVP’s) and their families
- 2008 – a maintenance year, while staff catches their breath and catches up to the growth!
- 2009 – the Kool Kidz Foundation merges with FOCUS!! FOCUS gains their programs: Camp TEAM, Adapted Swim Club, and the Kool Kidz Closet.
- 2010 – FAST Fins Adapted Swim Team expands to 7 locations for two seasons, with an intrateam swim meet at the end of each season.
- 2010 – First Teen & Young Adult Retreat “OctoberFest” offered over Halloween weekend at Camp Twin Lakes Will-A-Way. Fun for all!
- 2017 – Fragile Kids Foundation merges with FOCUS!! We now offer equipment grants to medically fragile children.
Stay tuned as FOCUS + Fragile Kids grows to serve more children with more programs!!