Connection of Friends Quick Notes
Happy 2nd Anniversary Connection of Friends!
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Who We Are
Connection of Friends is a community-based program that 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 recreational 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 Friday with varied options of Noon-6:00 p.m. or Noon-3:00 p.m. or 3-6:00 p.m. 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 the planning and preparing of a daily meal; volunteering at a food pantry and nursing home; volunteering for SCARE (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 select 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. We recently introduced a new conversation format to develop new conversation skills during meal times. To provide additional support for our participants, scripts, topics and questions are provided to encourage our participants to choose a friend, ask a question and in turn, answer a question from a friend.
As a way of keeping us informed of upcoming special events or occasions, a “What’s Happening at Home?” form has been developed for families to fill out. Once returned, participants will be encouraged to share their “news” and celebrate their amazing accomplishments with their friends at COF, (forms can be found under the Participant Forms tab).
During each 13-week session, a new group discussion series is introduced. Our series on friendship focused on:
- Initiating conversation
- Asking questions
- Taking interest in your friends’ interests
- Inviting friends to hang out
Again, participants are encouraged to practice these skills with one another by using scripts, visuals, modeling and positive reinforcement.
Other Unique Qualities
- Participant Profile packet filled out by families and participants
- In-take meeting scheduled with the 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