Programming

About Connections of Friends

Weekly programming emphasizes heavily on routine so participants will know what to expect whether they participate every day or a few days a week. To facilitate success for our participants, we have individualized visual schedules for those needing extra support as well as a “quiet room” for those participants needing to take a break or in need of sensory regulation.  Please click on the calendar icon to see a sample of our week-day programming.  To see what is planned for our Saturday Night Socials, click on any Saturday and you will be linked to a specific theme and schedule of activities.

Saturday Night Socials

Our SNS are held every Saturday from 6:00-9:00 pm and themed based on suggestions and input from our participants.  Fees include dinner, (typically pizza) and dessert. 

Saturday Night Socials-2

Current themes have included Art Party, Science Party and Detective Party!

Dinner & Dancing with Friends

Dinner & Dancing with Friends focuses on the preparation and eating of an evening meal.  Participants not only prepare dinner, but continue to work on a variety of life skill activities including setting the table, manners, table conversation and cleaning up.  Other details are as follows:

  • Mondays from 3-6:00 pm
  • Pre-determined menu for each Monday offered
  • Registration is limited
  • Flat fee
  • Activity rotations, including dancing, will be scheduled
  • Gluten Free or other dietary considerations are not available
Dinner & Dancing with Friends

What was on the menu? Meatloaf and mashed potatoes, spinach lasagna & tacos! (Click on an image to begin the slide show).

Technology and Science Activities

As the recipients of a technology grant, COF purchased an iMac computer and printer as well as subscriptions to News 2 You and Unique Learning System.  Participants have the opportunity to do an array of computer projects including emailing, personal newsletters, Mad Libs and templates that coincide with nutrition topics.  News 2 You provides visually supported materials to navigate current news stories and Unique Learning explores monthly topics that include manners, leisure time, hygiene and restaurant skills.

Science continues to be a popular activity with our week-day participants with its focus on “cause and effect.”  All experiments are visually supported with a series of questions to be discussed before, during and at the conclusion of each experiment. Our “scientists” have explored:

  • Bending water with static
  • Whether an orange floats or sinks
  • Making rain clouds in a jar
Technology and Science

The learning never stops!

Art

Art is introduced in a variety of mediums with extra attention paid to sensory issues.  Each week, art is assigned a “theme” as well as a medium to explore, (watercolor, chalk, pencils, clay, etc).

Art at Connection of Friends

Picasso Faces, Cardinals, Birch Trees, Leaves & Wire People! (Click on the picture to view).

Handprint Mural

35 sets of handprints created our handprint mural.  The project began in October 2012 and was completed in October 2013.  (Click on the picture to view).

Starry Night Mural

A second handprint mural was created and auctioned off at our 2nd Annual Trivia Night & Silent Auction.  Inspired by Van Gogh's Starry Night, participants used different methods to layer the paint on the canvas including finger and handprints as well as brushstroke techniques.  The entire mural, including the cityscape, was done by our participants (click on the picture to view).

Music

Using both instruments and singing, our participants explore a variety of topics including emotions, conversation skills, making friends and self-esteem.  Participants are also exposed to different genres of music to incorporate rhythm and movement.  Past activities have also included writing two original songs entitled “Here at Connection of Friends” (featured here) and “Friends, Friends, Friends.”

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Here at Connection of Friends

(click on link to hear song)

Fitness/Yoga/Nutrition

Fitness, yoga and nutrition, (healthy eating habits), are taught in a fun and engaging way.  Topics explored include:

  • Nutrition labels
  • Serving sizes
  • Healthy tips for eating out
  • Sugar count in beverages and snacks
  • Correlating exercise to food (45 minutes of yoga=1 cookie)

Movement and exercise are programmed each day and tracked visually on our “fitness track”.  The number of dances “danced” during programming are also tracked visually with our “You’re on Fire” dance thermometer.  A 30-minute yoga session is programmed weekly with a certified yoga volunteer.

Staying Fit & Eating Healthy!

Exercise, movement, yoga and eating healthy are programmed daily at Connection of Friends!

Gardening and Nature

Our gardening program teaches our participants the fundamentals of planting and taking care of plants.  Gardening activities include:

  • Planting bean sprouts and lettuce indoors
  • Planting flowers in personalized pots
  • Creating a herb terrarium
  • Transferring plants to our outdoor garden
  • Planting a variety of vegetables including beans, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, pumpkins and peppers
  • Maintaining our 2 raised garden beds during the summer and fall
Gardening & Nature

With the arrival of spring, our gardening program resumed once again---first with inside activities then outside to our 2 raised garden beds.  Everything that is grown at COF is incorporated into our daily meal and snack.  We have plans to donate some of the vegetables grown this summer to People's Resource Center.

Volunteering in the Community

Connection of Friends volunteers with a variety of organizations within the community including:

  • DuPage Convalescent Center
  • People’s Resource Center (PRC)—Clothes Closet
  • Glen Ellyn Food Pantry
  • SCARCE (School and Community Assistance for Composting and Recycling Education)

Our commitment to volunteering also extends to ongoing community projects:

  • Christmas in July Food Drive benefitting PRC and done in cooperation with Hope Presbyterian Church and Southminster Presbyterian Church
  • Creating a series of “holiday” cards for the residents of DuPage Convalescent Center
Volunteering in the Community

Product Creation

Participants are given the opportunity to create “products” to be sold at our fundraising events.  Products include Bark-licious dog biscuits from scratch as well as a variety of  recipe jars—More S’Mores Please, Outrageous Oatmeal Cookies, Bodacious Brownie Mix, Cravin’ Craisn Muffin Mix and Flippin’ for Flapjacks Pancake Mix.  Glass Bead Magnets were recently introduced to our “product line”.

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