Julia Taylor began working with the Santa Rosa County School System in 2017 after leaving a career in social work to care for her son. She earned her alternate teaching certificate in Special Education and began teaching in a Communication, Behavior, Social, and Academic (CBSA) Classroom. She was challenged by the work and quickly fell in love with her students and families. Throughout her tenure in the classroom, Julia earned her Autism Certification and became an advocate in the community for her students and their families. It was during her time as a teacher that Julia identified the need for additional services in the community including after-school care, respite for families, parent support, and holiday care. Together, with her co-teacher, Lizzie Hill, she began to brainstorm ways to increase the quality of life for families of children with disabilities. This is how Gulf Coast ABLE Academy, Incorporated (GCAA) was founded.
In 2022, Julia left the school system to start GCAA's first full-time program, an in-home daycare for children with different abilities. To date, GCAA has provided over 3,000 hours of care for 26 kids with special needs and their families by offering daily and after-school care, a summer program, and respite nights.
Julia and Lizzie are looking forward to building the mission of Gulf Coast ABLE beyond daily child care to include consultation and training with organizations, a Heroes and Sidekicks program that seeks to add support in the community, and adult/child respite services.