About Us


Fly Brave Foundation


Who are we?

Fly Brave was created in January of 2016, by a mother and son duo, Vanessa Bieker and John Almeda, in response to a need for continued support for adults with developmental disabilities following the school years. 

When John, who is a notable 100-mile distance runner and has non-verbal autism, was aging out of the school system at 22 years old, Vanessa began searching for programs to continue his growth, steps to independence, social connections and training in meaningful employment.  Coming up short, she left her career behind to build a foundation for John and others like him in their community to offer these services in leading a purpose filled life.

 Fly Brave was started in their living room with five families and a budget of $600. They created a landscaping program and a social group that made t-shirts with a donated heat press and jewelry with donated beads. They mowed lawns, sold jewelry at craft fairs and sold their handmade t-shirts at the Drive-In movie theater's vendor market. The t-shirts and jewelry gained the attention of local businesses who invited them to set up shop in their parking lot and encouraged their staff to purchase items on their lunch hour.  These events funded Fly Brave's first event, Prom Night.  In May of 2016, 100 prom stars showed up (some in limos), dressed to impress and enjoyed a night to remember.  Prom Night brought a neurodiverse village together and Fly Brave began to soar. 

Fly Brave is a 100% volunteer driven organization, serving over 400 families in our community, through a dedicated Board of Directors, community members, friends and parent volunteers who share the same vision. 

From humble beginnings, Fly Brave has established community-based employment training programs (on-line retail store and a pop-up up market), a public speaking network of self-advocates, social and life skills workshops, numerous events (proms, karaoke, Fashion Shows, Talent Show, Art Shows), fitness programs (run club, Fly Fit - police involvement fitness program), art and theater programs, adult groups and community integration through volunteerism.

 In 2021 we were able to secure our first brick and mortar home, the Fly Brave Emporium, an upscale thrift store, which serves as an employment training program, an outreach, and hosts many of our social meet ups. 

We are currently revitalizing the coffee shop behind our building to serve as barista training, a secondary employment training program.

Our Events calendar is always filled to provide those seeking social connections with a safe place to find them. 

We welcome you to visit (and volunteer).