Katie’s journey in the developmentally disabled community started in a state hospital in Tallahassee, Florida. Throughout her career of advocacy, she became an icon in our community. Katie’s initial activism was driven by her human desire to improve the horrific manner in which developmentally disabled individuals had been warehoused and treated over the previous few decades. Since that time, she became a leader in community inclusion and in creating awareness within our community that individuals with developmental disabilities want the same things that typical individuals seek; understanding, human interaction, employment prospects, personal improvement opportunities and recreation.
Katie possessed that unique and rare ability to see a person truly as an individual; to see past what appear to be flaws, the disabilities one may see, to see the whole person and their innate potential and beauty; to understand that everyone has value and something to offer others in the world; to unlock that value, may require patience and a little help to reveal, and understand what that attribute or value is. But once that value is found, the results are magnificent.
Katie was not afraid to dream and not afraid to ask others to put action behind those dreams so they come true. Katie Porta served Central Florida, not for personal gain and not for recognition. She did it because she believed it was part of her responsibility as a citizen. She will remain widely and uncritically admired.
She symbolizes a movement and has built a lasting legacy of love and hope for all those who have worked along-side her and for all those she has served.
To honor Katie’s legacy of work at Quest, you may make a donation on this site.
We will honor her memory by remaining steadfast to the Quest mission and to continuing the work she loved so much.For Katie Porta, a pioneer who has given voice to the voiceless, a beacon of humanity and hope.
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