HISTORY OF FAMILIA UNIDA
WHO IS FAMILIA UNIDA?
Familia Unida Living with Multiple Sclerosis, e.g. Familia Unida;
was founded in the early 90’s by Irma Resendez after her diagnosis of multiple sclerosis when she was 28 years old. A mother of two young daughters, ages 3 and 4, Irma was astounded to discover that there were no services available to or accessible by the Spanish speaking MS community. Irma experienced paralysis to her lower extremities and was confined to a wheelchair for almost a year. The Resendez home became the casa of hope where Irma and her family shared love with their new MS friends, learned about free resources, shared tears and hugs, but primarily reminded each other that they were not alone. FULWMS was incorporated as a grassroots 501-c3 nonprofit in 1998, as the first MS organization in the United States to outreach to the Spanish speaking community. Today, Familia Unida has evolved to provide programs and services every year, to over 15,000 individuals and families living with MS and specific services for individuals living with various disabilities. The office is located in the heart of East Los Angeles. FULWMS continues to uphold its solid commitment to offer innovative and comprehensive programs and services, granting it National and International recognition. The family centered service model respects and values the diverse population served.
Our programs promote healthier lifestyles, social justice engagement, socialization, advocacy, family unity and the importance of being a part of the economic development of our community. The target population represents the MS community, the disabled, ethnic minority groups, especially the non-English speaking, low-income groups, and the uninsured. FULWMS has a proven track record of success with purposeful and clear outcomes that have gained it regional,national and international recognition for its service delivery model that is inclusive of various cultures and disabilities. Our programs have a focus on providing linkage to social services and other resources, that promote economic development. The targeted audience is ethnic minority groups, especially the non-English, low-income, uninsured population. FULWMS has grown to establish solid partnerships with over 800 community based organizations, government foundations, diverse healthcare providers, and mainstream televisions, print, and radio outlets, which includes the Department of Rehabilitation, The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, The Wellness Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, Rancho Los Amigos Medical Center, USC-Medical Center, White Memorial Medical Center, and LA CARE, to mention some of the most notable.