Who We Are
Connection of Friends is a community-based program which provides a place for teens, age 16 and older, and adults with special needs to gather socially with an emphasis on life skill, volunteer and fitness activities on a daily basis and Saturday evenings. Our primary purpose is for participants to engage in meaningful ways within the community and create lasting relationships.
Where We Are Located
Connection of Friends is located at Hope Presbyterian Church, 1771 S. Wiesbrook Road, Wheaton. (Connection of Friends is not affiliated with Hope Presbyterian Church).
What We Offer
COF operates Monday through Thursday with varied options of Noon-6:00 p.m. or Noon-3:00 p.m. or 3-6:00 p.m. Friday programming is from 9:00 am-3:00 pm. Our Saturday Night Socials are held from 6-9:00 p.m. Participants sign-up for 13-week sessions and select the specific days and time options. Connection of Friends is only closed on traditional holidays.
Week-day programming includes preparing a daily meal and snack; volunteering at a food pantry and nursing home; volunteering for SCARCE (School & Community Assistance for Recycling Composting Education); music; art; gardening; fitness/yoga/nutrition; product creation and community lunch. Dinner & Dancing with Friends is offered on Mondays each session.
What Makes Us Unique—Programming Centered Around Socialization
As friendships continue to grow at Connection of Friends, we are committed to finding new ways to encourage and support our participants as they develop relationships with one another. Our conversation format during meal and snack times helps develop new conversation skills by providing visual scripts, topics and questions. Participants have the opportunity to choose a friend, ask a question and in turn, answer a question from a friend.
Social Jobs are another way to advance independence and foster socialization between participants. At the beginning of each day, participants chose at least one social job which may include:
- Discussion Leader
- Warm Up Leader
- Game Leader
- Feel Good Helper
- Exercise Helper
As a way of keeping us informed of upcoming special events or occasions, a “What’s Happening at Home?” form is available for participants and families to fill out. Once returned, participants are encouraged to share their “news” and celebrate their amazing accomplishments with their friends at COF, (forms can be found under the Participant Forms tab).
Other Unique Qualities
- Participant Profile packet filled out by families and participants
- In-take meeting scheduled with the Executive Director, Program Director and Program Leader
- Constant communication
- 3-week check-in for new participants
- Visual supports including individualized schedules and behavior supports
- Practicing volunteer skills prior to volunteering
- Continuation of basic business model of product creation introduced in transition programs