What is the mission of Circle of Friends? click here
How long has CoF existed? click here
How many schools have implemented CoF? As of September 2012, CoF has 100 chapters throughout California, Oregon. New Mexico, New Jersey, and Connecticut. More than 19,000 students have been positively impacted by our program. For more details, please click here
Is CoF a non-profit Organization? Circle of Friends is a project of Community Partners, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, tax ID# 95-4302067
What does CoF provide? CoF offers a two-year consultation program that provides a systematic approach to improving social language skills for students with special needs. It includes a comprehensive manual as well as three Workshops in both Year 1 and Year 2. Within two months of your first workshop, your chapter will begin Circle of Friends at lunchtime. At the end of two years, you will have a solid, self-sustained program that will include lunch groupings, monthly activities within the community, disability awareness presentations and much more that will sensitize your entire campus and community to differences.
What grade level is this program for? CoF is for elementary, middle and high school students. It is also currently on two college campuses.
What are the components of the program? click here
How long does it take to implement CoF? School staff typically attend Workshops in the spring or early fall. CoF lunch pairings begin within two months of the first Workshop. At the end of two years, you will have a solid, low-cost, self-sustained program.
Is Circle of Friends a club or a program? CoF is a social language skills program of inclusion; however, schools often run this as a club, so it has a “niche” on campus.
Who runs the program? CoF is run by school staff, preferably a team consisting of a speech pathologist, a special education teacher, and a school administrator.
Do you have statistics/data showing the success of CoF? There is quantifiable evidence that those who participate in CoF have shown positive improvement in social language skills. Evidence also indicates that general education students improve communication and leadership skills. For more detailed information, please contact the CoF office at Tamra@circleofriends.org
What is the difference between CoF, Best Buddies, or other programs? Circle of Friends has several unique components: multiple friendships are established for students with special needs, non-disabled peers are trained to model and shape social language skills of new friends with disabilities, monthly large group activities are planned for students both with and without special needs, and disability awareness presentations are given by students to their peers within classrooms. Circle of Friends provides staff with on-going consultation and workshops for two years to ensure the creation of a solid, self-sustained program.
Is there a cost to implement the program? Yes. For further information on cost and funding resources, please contact Barbara Palilis at Barbara@circleofriends.org
What happens at the end of the two years of consultation? At the end of two years and your CoF program is established, a Chapter Continuation Agreement is created between the district and CoF. This annual agreement allows for continuous unlimited phone and email support, use of the logo, and membership in a movement of inclusion that is sweeping the country! Schools continue to receive and contribute to a nationally distributed quarterly newsletter, highlighting innovative projects implemented by other schools along with updates from the national organization.
We are ready to start a chapter. What do we do now? If you are ready to begin CoF, please contact Barbara Palilis at Barbara@circleofriends.org
PARENTS AND STUDENTS
I'm a parent or student interested in starting a chapter in my community. What do I do? click here
Can elementary or middle schools start a chapter? Yes! We have established a number of successful programs on elementary and middle school campuses. For more information, click here
I'm a student interested in joining a chapter. What does participating in CoF involve? Participating in CoF involves meeting once a week at lunch for the entire school year with a student with special needs.
My special needs son/daughter is no longer in high school. Can he/she still participate in the program? If the school your son/daughter graduated from has a CoF chapter, they should be able to continue participating in monthly activities. The decision for this is up to the chapter advisor.
I'd like to support CoF. What sponsorship opportunities exist? Circle of Friends offers a variety of sponsorship opportunities for our fundraising events and activities. In addition, you may also choose to sponsor a special needs student's participation in our Circle Summer program.
We are always looking for ways to partner with individuals and companies and can discuss creative ways in which your contribution would be most mutually beneficial. For more information, please contact Tamra Mariott at Tamra@circleofriends.org
How will my donation be spent? Your donation will be used to fund the following programs of inclusion.
1) the School Duplication Program, provides workshops to train other schools to open chapters on their campuses and become self-sufficient after two years of consultation and support,
2) the Circle, a summer program of inclusion in West L.A. with non-disabled peers who provide social skills training through field trips to museums, restaurants, movies, bowling, etc.
There is no chapter in my community but I am interested in volunteering with CoF. Are there opportunities that exist for me? CoF always welcomes volunteer assistance. Opportunities range from helping out in our home office or at a special event, to helping spread the word about inclusion to others. Do you work for a corporation who donates to specific causes? Do you own/work for an office supply or transportation company (airlines, buses, etc) from whom you can solicit donations/services on our behalf? Could you lobby your local school district for a COF program? Or do you have connections to a high profile individual (corporate, sports, entertainment) to whom you could make an introduction? CoF welcomes all volunteers.
Don't see your question here? Contact us at Tamra@circleofriends.org