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Organization: The Haven

4405 DeSoto Road | Sarasota, FL | 34235 | Ph. 941-355-8808

Cause: Education, Employment, Human Services

Mission: To enhance the quality of life for individuals by encouraging independence, championing inclusion and advocating for individual rights

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Extraordinary Things Come From Humble Beginnings.

Established in 1954, The Haven began as a vision for an organization that would serve children with special needs throughout their lifetime. Our founders, a group of forward thinking parents, were desperate for services that would empower the potential of their children rather than placing limitations on their personal growth. Seeing that there were no services to support their children to grow as individuals, they decided to build an organization that would provide opportunities through every stage of life.

The Haven, then known as Sunshine Day School, began with four enrolled students in an airplane hangar at the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport. With hard work and plenty of determination, our founders privately fund-raised and sold over 20,000 pounds of Claxton fruitcakes at local bake sales to purchase the 32-acre enclave the community now calls home.

When Dreams Became Reality
What once was a small agency located in the middle of nowhere is now a community in the heart of one of the largest, most affluent markets in South Florida. The Haven has come a long way since those early years but one thing remains unchanged and that is the founders’ vision for a community that empowers those with disabilities to pursue their academic and employment goals and aspirations.

The original four students paved the way for The Haven to serve thousands more over the last six decades; and the organization is not slowing down. The Haven is in the middle of an expansive ten year plan to address the growing demands for service in our community. Plans include an age-in-place senior center, six additional single family homes, and a therapeutic aquatic center. The Haven holds on to the belief that your circumstance does not determine your ability; that being disabled doesn’t mean you are unable, and that everyone has a purpose.

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About The Haven
The Haven exists to enhance quality of life by encouraging independence, championing inclusion and advocating for individual rights. Regardless of ability, all individuals deserve the basic human right to have choices for a fulfilling and a productive life filled with purpose and social acceptance. As Sarasota’s leading organization in human serves for adults and children with disabilities, The Haven offers programs and services for individuals with disabilities including the Selby Preschool, Haven Academy (grades 9-12), Life Skills Training, and Haven Industries, Community Employment and Residential Services.


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