HUG advocates for inclusion and connects people with disabilities to social events and activities

HUG’s Community SWAG Award

At HUG, we are thrilled when we hear of a business, organization or individual going out of their way to be inclusive. We want the entire Tampa Bay area to know about the amazing inclusive efforts that are happening right here in our own community. Every month, Help Us Gather will highlight someone who is going above and beyond to include people of all abilities. If you have any recommendations on who should receive the next HUG Swag Community Award send an e-mail to

June 2018: The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office

Help Us Gather (HUG) is pleased to award June’s Community Swag Award to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office for its outstanding efforts of inclusion. On Saturday, June 9th, the first adapted Sheriff’s Citizens Academy was held at the Sheriff’s Administration building where attendees were treated to an interactive day of laughing and learning with over a dozen deputies.  Activities included virtual firearm demonstrations, self defense tactics, interactions with K9 officers, exploring police vehicles and a helicopter takeoff and landing.

By creating an inclusive event, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office provided the special needs community with a sense of importance and connection to community.  Help Us Gather commends the Sheriff’s Office for the positive example it has shown and looks forward to other organizations making similar changes.

May 2018: The Ability Experience

Inclusion is as easy as riding a bicycle and The Ability Experience is here to prove it! Every year, a team cycles over 800 miles for ‘Gear Up Florida’, a program designed to raise awareness and funds for inclusion. From Miami to Tallahassee, cyclists stop along the way visiting local organizations with similar missions and passions.

The HUG Team was able to catch up with the cyclists at The Disability Achievement Center and was honored to present the first ever HUG Swag award to The Ability Experience for their efforts of inclusion, fun and friendships!