10th Anniversary...2005 to 2015

International Friendship Month
February 2015

"Things are never quite as scary when
you've got a best friend."

- Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes Comic Strip Author
The Power of Friendship:
A Shell Set Aside
By: Danielle Green, ROP/CTE Computer Teacher and CoF Advisor
Jujuan in class
Jujuan in class
Upon enrollment at Santee Education Complex, Jujuan was withdrawn from conversation and interaction. He never initiated dialogue and would only repeat what was said or asked of him. To answer a question required much prompting.

Jujuan Burns, who is on the autism spectrum, is 15 and in the 10th grade. He was one of the first students to come to Santee with the Frank D. Lanterman Integration Program. Through this program, students with special needs integrated into a typical high school.

In Jujuan's elective, general education Computer Application class, he was matched with students Jesus and Jasmine for assistance.


Peyton Elementary Gets It Done
By: Carrie Young, Peyton Elementary School within Stockton USD in CA
Peyton studentsPeyton Elementary School's (K-8) chapter of Circle of Friends (CoF) is off to a great start this year!

For the first time, we've implemented a volunteer "Student Officer Board" of Peer Leaders to assist the CoF Advisor in organizing monthly activities.  With the student Board's help, so far we have coordinated arts and crafts and baking projects, cooperative/team building exercises and field days.  We're also planning for our year-end dances and socials.

Activities are aimed at increasing all students' overall pragmatic social and language skills while providing opportunities for students with disabilities to interact with typical peers.  Our typical peers model behaviors and provide structure and support to those with special needs.

CoF has been a shining example of the inclusive nature of our site and the Stockton Unified School District culture.  Excellent student leadership and compassion as well as teacher, administrative, and SELPA support are to thank.

Go Pumas!!
A "Treasure Hunt" for Trail Mix
Mountain View-Simi group
At Mountain View-Simi Valley Elementary within Simi Valley Unified School District in CA, Circle of Friends (CoF) is 45 students strong, including 4th, 5th and 6th graders.

Meeting every Thursday, rotations of indoor (Sorry, Uno and Jenga) and outdoor (parachute fun) games and crafts keep students bonding and building friendships.

One of the activities that has proven to be a hit was a "treasure hunt" for trail mix. After breaking up into small groups, three clues were allotted to each team that lead to different components of the trail mix. Marshmallows, M&M'S, Cheerios, etc... Once everyone had followed all of their clues to the goodies, the gang came together to make baggies of trail mix to take home.

The chapter also made a huge poster with pictures of them having fun, their signatures and the CoF logo.
Music Therapy for Students with Special Needs
Learn four music-based interventions for individuals with special needs.

EXCERPT: "In fact, studies have found that individuals with diagnoses such as autism and Williams syndrome frequently have preserved musical abilities despite challenges in non-music functioning.

Capitalizing on these benefits, board-certified music therapists develop music-based interventions to help students make progress in educational goal areas. Music therapy is even recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and states such as California as a related service which may be required for a student to benefit from his or her educational program."

General Education Peers Speak
Woodward students
Students at Woodward Middle School within Bainbridge Island School District share:

"My Circle of Friends (CoF) experience taught me a lot about tolerance, and also, I came to cherish a special friendship between myself and someone who has a very different life than myself."

"This experience really opened my eyes, and I can relate to people who might not be the same as me."

"It was meaningful to know I made someone smile and feel really special."

"I learned that everyone is different, and it's normal not to be the same as everyone. And my partner showed me that it's always important to be yourself..."

"When I did CoF, I learned that our school has a whole new aspect to it and about 20 new kids that go unnoticed at Woodward. It was really cool to bridge a gap between groups, and I learned a lot from this experience.

"It made me feel really good to know that I had the ability to make my friend's day better just by spending my day with him. It has really opened up my eyes to know that I can change someone's day for the better if I put my mind (and my heart) to it."
Circle of Friends thanks the following grantors for their generous support and belief in our mission.  It is with their assistance that we are able to continue and expand our program.
Weingart logo
Taper logo
UPDATE FROM THE BASE: Los Angeles Unified School District's James MadisonPio Pico and Thomas Alva Edison Middle Schools and South East High School are enthusiastically starting up Circle of Friends (CoF) chapters. Meanwhile, CoF at Santee Education Complex marches forward with gusto and stellar student participation. We are so proud to partner with these schools in our home city and state to increase inclusion and decrease bullying!

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Hot air balloons Preparations for our 7th Annual Awards Dinner and Silent Auction are in full swing!  CoF is "Soaring to New Heights" on April 25, 2015.  Stay tuned for ticket information.  We hope you'll plan to join us in celebrating inclusion and honoring Actor Joe MantegnaNancy Holland and Allie Davis.

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Barbara Palilis, CoF Founder & Executive Director, is speaking at the CSHA (California Speech-Language-Hearing Association) 2015 Annual Convention and Exhibition in Long Beach,CA on March 5.  The topic of her presentation is "Inclusion Model Strengthens Social Skills".
We hope you've enjoyed our Winter 2015 Newsletter!

Want to be featured in our next newsletter?  Email [email protected] with your stories.  We look forward to hearing from you.
Circle of Friends ~ The Path to Inclusion
A Project of Community Partners, 501(c)(3), Tax ID # 95-4302067
11965 Venice Blvd., Suite 301, Los Angeles, CA  90066
Voice: (310) 312-6600, www.CircleoFriends.org
Copyright 2015. All Rights Reserved.