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International offers five international programs that connect middle schools, high schools, colleges and communities to people with developmental disabilities. The purpose of the program is to form a one-to-one friendship between a community member and a person with a developmental disability. There are active programs throughout the United States and other countries that offer monthly activities such as hay rides, sporting events, pizza parties and more. To learn how you can become involved, visit their website to find the chapter in
DateAble International is a membership based organization that provides friendship and relationship opportunities to individuals mostly from around the United States of America. Members are matched based on their responses to a detailed questionnaire about their interests, type of relationship they are looking for, and geographic area. There is an annual membership fee. For more information, visit their website or call (301) 656-8723.
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Partners for Youth with Disabilities, based in Boston, Massachusetts, is a non-profit organization that assists young people with disabilities reach their full potential for personal development by arranging one-to-one relationships with adults with similar disabilities. In addition to fostering these relationships, they also offer several additional programs, including, Youth in Preparation for Independence, Young Entrepreneurs Project, Access to Theater, Making Healthy Connections, and Peer Leadership. For more information, call (617) 556-4075 (Voice/TDD).
Friendship Network is a non-profit membership organization, serving Queens, Bronx, Manhattan, Staten Island, Brooklyn, Long Island (Nassau and Suffolk County), Westchester County and Northern New Jersey, which introduces single men and women recovering from mental illness to one another. The Friendship Network is available to adults, 20 years or older, suffering from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression or other personality or mood disorders. All applicants should be in therapy and /or taking their prescribed medication(s), and be either employed, in a day program or volunteering. In addition to this matching service, they also offer monthly social events. For more information, e-mail email@example.com or mail to 1983 Marcus Avenue, Suite C-103, Lake Success, NY 11042.
DateAble: Making Connections is a membership organization for people with cognitive disabilities in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Members of Making Connections are welcome to participate in organized social events including attending sporting events, watching movies, and participating in discussion groups. Their is an annual membership fee. For more information, visit the DateAble website or call (301) 656-9140.
Friendships Unlimited, located in Waukesha, Wisconsin, is a social / recreational drop-in center with a focus on self-help, personal responsibility for recovery and peer support. Activities include pool, ping-pong, cards and games and conversation. Members also take trips, attend sporting events, and have parties, barbecues and picnics. For more information call (262) 549-9238 or write to Friendships Unlimited, 336 Wisconsin Avenue, Waukesha, Wisconsin 53186.
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Community Friend Program offers people with a disability who are experiencing isolation an opportunity to be introduced to a volunteer from their local area with the aim of developing an on going friendship. One-on-one social activities are planned with the volunteer so that a friendship can be fostered and each person with a disability will have a greater desire to participate in their local community. For those who are waiting to be introduced to a volunteer, the program also hosts regular group activities. For more information, contact the coordinator in Victoria on (03) 9488 1203.
Disability Services Queensland is a government department that offers a number of disability services. Among them is the Volunteer Friends Program (VFP), which encourages friendships between volunteers and people with developmental disabilities throughout Australia. The program links individuals with a new volunteer friend, to community groups, and / or supports existing relationships between people. For more information, call (07) 3234 1192 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leisure Buddies is a program of Gawith Villa that is designed to give people with disabilities an opportunity to develop real friendships and to become more involved in their local communities. For more information, or to learn how to establish a similar program elsewhere, call Melbourne 8508
6706. or e-mail email@example.com.
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[Updated November 30, 2015]
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