Welcome to ProjectFREE
ProjectFREE is a local non-profit that directly benefits the health and wellbeing of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities by enhancing their lives through creative arts programing and practices.
ProjectFREE is the Premier Adult Day Training Program in the Suncoast Region, providing an unparalleled person-centered educational experience rooted in the visual and performing arts, academics, entrepreneurial training, boating, and physical health & fitness.
ProjectFREE’s Transition students will participate in the Artisan Entrepreneur program where they will learn to create inventory, competitively price their art and back out sales. Each artist will run their own on – line store.
ProjectFREE does not believe in placing students’ in jobs but rather creating their for-profit businesses. ProjectFREE has helped 2 Transition students open their own business: A Recycling Business and a Knife Sharpening Business. We are developing additional businesses working closely together to make it happen. At ProjectFREE we are only interested in how to get the job successfully completed!
ProjectFREE’s ENTREPRENEUR Program generates opportunities for people with diverse abilities. Transition students will participate in Culinary Arts, Fine arts, Performing Arts, including our Free2Rock Band. All these programs are a part of the ProjectFREE Training Program and provide opportunities for our transition students. These programs create purpose, promote health and fitness, self-sufficiency, connect our students to their community and improve the quality of their lives. Most importantly this program not only engages our students’ but Local Artists also show case their art throughout the year at Gulfport Art Walks as well as other artist venues. Student artists receive 100% of their sales.
Gulfport non-profit gives everyone a chance to be themselves.
Project-Free, the gem of Gulfport.
By: James Tully for WFTS ABC Action News –
“Disabilities are really….not disabling!” explains Sharon Vanderline. Vanderline quit her day job to start this non-profit, all for her daughter Lauren. “She would go to different auditions, but the kid with Down syndrome would never be allowed to be with the regular band, they just would not allow her,” says Vanderline. Funny, because that same kid has performed with “regular bands” all over. She even shared the stage with an American Idol contestant. “Never nervous. How are you never nervous? Because I take it to the next level,” says Lauren. The next level is where a lot of these adults have taken it. Theater, art, and music.
Our Mission and Inspiration
ProjectFREE Mission: ProjectFREE is a non-profit organization fueled by parents, educators, friends and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Our mission is to implement a bold new concept for people with disabilities who have the ability, the desire, and the passion to live and work independently and become an integral part of the community.
Our Inspiration: Lauren’s Story – Lauren personifies what is possible when a person focuses on their abilities and breaks down barriers. From the day she was born, we recognized that her life would be about what she would achieve despite what the larger society might think is possible. Thirty years of challenges and successes—including being the first mainstreamed student in a public high school, a performing musician and holding down a job in the “real world”—still places Lauren in a world with very limited career and independent life options. Through living, learning, and working, every person can compete in, and contribute to their community and society at large.