Staff, Location & Board of Directors
Connection of Friends is staffed by a full-time Program Director and Program Leader. In addition, we have 6 Program Assistants that are part-time employees, staffed when needed and during our Saturday Night Socials. Our Program Assistants have college degrees in the areas of special education, communication studies, psychology and sociology. Program Volunteers consist of an art teacher, gardener and yoga instructor. Other volunteers consist of high school and college students. Overall supervision and management is provided by Executive Director, (non-pay position), Sarah Donnelly.
COF principally operates on a 3 participant to 1 staff /volunteer. However, COF will staff a 2:1 or 1:1 on a limited basis. Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions, (FAQ), tab for additional information.
Jamie Hager Lee, Program Director
Before joining Connection of Friends, Jamie worked as a Behavior Health Specialist at Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center facilitating group therapies and serving as an activities coordinator. Previously, Jamie worked with Southwest Special Recreational Association as an aide and aquatic instructor at the Oak Lawn Park District. Jamie graduated from North Central College with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor in Health.
Alexis Zola, Program Leader
A recent graduate of Northern Illinois University, Alexis received her Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences with an emphasis on Rehabilitation Services. Previous work experience includes Life Skills Instructor at Little City Foundation and Paraprofessional at New Lenox School District 122. Alexis also served as an Intern at Kishwaukee Special Recreation Association and was actively involved in Best Buddies during college.
Sue Bosse, Program Assistant
Sue currently works at Monroe Middle School in Wheaton as a paraprofessional for 6th, 7th and 8th graders with added experience as an activity assistant with ESSE Adult Day Care also located in Wheaton.
Julia Burbano, Program Assistant
Angelica Camacho, Program Assistant
Angelica graduated from College of DuPage with her Associates of Arts degree and plans to return to school to explore a career in social services. Angelica joined Connection of Friends in the winter of 2014 as a volunteer.
Anne Davey, Program Assistant
Francis Espedido, Program Assistant
Kelly Faber, Program Assistant
Jasmine Ivy, Program Assistant
Jasmine is a senior at Northern Illinois University earning a degree in Rehabilitation Counseling with a minor in American Sign Language. Previous experience includes the completion of an internship at A.E.R.O. Special Education Cooperation teaching math and reading to special needs students.
Jessica Obremski, Program Assistant
Recently completing an internship with Connection of Friends, Jessica will graduate with a B.A. in Disabilities Studies from Aurora University in December. Previous experience includes working at C.A.S.E., (Cooperative Association of Special Education), and Fox Valley Recreation Association.
Mary Clauss, Yoga
Mary is certified in yoga and has taught in a variety of settings using modifications for children and young adults with special needs.
Kathy Davidson, Gardening & Nature
Kathy works for Gardner Connection and recently received her degree in Horticulture.
Carol Fiene, Art
Carol is a retired art teacher from the Wheaton/Warrenville school district and has spent a portion of her career teaching art classes specifically designed for special needs students.
Connection of Friends is located at Hope Presbyterian Church, 1771 S. Wiesbrook Road, Wheaton. (Connection of Friends is not affliated with Hope Presbyterian Church).
Connection of Friends is a non-profit organization, governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, administered by professional staff.
Executive Director: Sarah Donnelly
Board of Directors:
Terry Kline (President)
Ginny Kline (Secretary)
Matthew Kline (Treasurer)
Dr. Kathleen Briseno