1601 Holland Street, Cumberland, MD 21502  Map Phone: 301-722-7268

About

History

Friends Aware, Inc. is a non-profit organization in Allegany County, Maryland. We are dedicated to providing an array of individualized supports to persons with developmental disabilities in such areas as Vocational, Residential and Respite Services. Our goal is to enhance quality of life by promoting choice and full participation within the community.

Friends Aware was founded in 1954 by a group of parents living in the Cumberland area who could not accept the lack of educational opportunities for their children with developmental disabilities. Therefore, in a borrowed space, they called their vision Friends Aware of Handicapped Children of Potomac Valley.

That community-based program operated on the simple belief that each individual had the right to reach his or her highest possible level of functioning. Today, more than half a century later, that simple belief still stands.

Friends Aware has become a multi-service organization with highly skilled staff that serves and supports hundreds of adults with developmental disabilities. Although our programs and management systems change to meet the needs of the people we serve, two constants remain – the refusal to accept conventional wisdom about a person’s limitations and the insistence of an individual’s right to a full life.

Friends Aware is a community-based organization and receives no direct state funding. Operation is based on the individuals who receive funding through the Developmental Disabilities Administration and have chosen Friends Aware as their service provider. Funding is limited and based on the individual’s needs and limitations.

Board of Directors

Laryn Puddy, President
Jennifer Hendershot, Vice President
Kiersten O’Donnell, Treasurer
Bradford Nixon, Secretary
Christina Ujcic, Past President

Regina Fairall
Joan Jackson
Lisa Hout
Shelly Minnigh

Shannon Albright
Dr. Wendy Main
Kathleen Blados
Dawn Smith

Dr. Shawn Golden-Llewellyn

Administrative Staff

Mark Bittinger, Executive Director
Jane Eaton, Life Enrichment Center Director
Haley Fitzpatrick, Residential Director

Robin Henderson, Nursing Director
Michelle Sawyers, HR Director
David Ujcic, Finance Director