About Connection 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. Participants new to our Saturday Night Socials are paired up with a COF buddy to show them the ropes! All our participants are given a schedule for the evening and if needed, a sub-schedule for certain activities.  Please click on the following links to see an example of our Buddy Checklist and a cupcake decorating sub-schedule.


Cupcake Subschedule

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 capped at 4 participants and filled on a first come, first served basis
  • Flat fee
  • Activity rotations, including dancing, will be scheduled
  • Gluten Free or other dietary considerations are not available

Participants also have the opportunity to “review” each recipe at the end of the evening.  Please click on the link to see an example of a “recipe review”.


Recipe Review Template—D&D

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 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).

COF Art Showcase

Many thanks to Southminster Presbyterian Church for displaying an array of art projects done by COF participants. A HUGE thank you to Carol Fiene, our Art Volunteer, who continues to challenge and introduce new mediums to our participants weekly!

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).


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.”


Here at Connection of Friends

(click on link to hear song)


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 3 raised garden beds during the spring, summer and fall

Girl Scout Troop 50368 from St. Michael Parish School in Wheaton donated their time, (and materials), to construct a 3rd raised garden bed at Connection of Friends.    The 3rd bed helps COF fulfill our commitment to provide vegetables to People’s Resource Center located in Wheaton.

COF's 3rd Raised Garden Bed!

COF's 3rd Raised Garden Bed was made possible by Girl Scout Troop 50368 from St. Michael Parish School in Wheaton! 

Gardening & Nature 2015!

Three garden beds and a LOT of vegetables later....

Volunteering in the Community

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

  • DuPage Convalescent Center
  • Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans (MSHV)
  • 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
  • Donating vegetables from our 3rd Raised Garden Bed benefitting PRC
Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans

A new volunteer opportunity for our participants at Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans located in Wheaton!

In-House Volunteering---PRC

Throughout the summer and fall, COF donates a variety of vegetables to People's Resource Center located in Wheaton.  Participants pick and package all donations as well as keep a "Gardening Journal" tracking their donations.

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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