The Family Friends Program
The Family Friends Program matches community volunteers with families that have additional support needs. In many situations the parent or guardian experiences challenges due to cognitive or learning disabilities. Some matches are made for families in which a child or youth has a disabling condition. In both types of family situations parents and children benefit from a caring friend and mentor.
- Who are the volunteers? - Family Friends volunteers are people who love children and want to help families succeed. The program offers the volunteers a chance to stay active, develop a relationship with a new family, gain and share skills and wisdom, give back to others, and attend a variety of informative workshops and training sessions on topics relevant to the lives of families and volunteers.
- Who are the families? - The families involved in this program have a parent or child who is challenged by a cognitive or learning disability. In addition, each participating family is ready to enter an ongoing supportive relationship with a new friend.
- What is involved in becoming a volunteer? - The Family Friends coordinator meets with each potential volunteer to get to know them and share information about the program. Each new Family Friend has the opportunity to participate in an in-depth training program and receives ongoing and personalized support to assure success in the match. Volunteers are eligible to receive reimbursement for some expenses such as mileage.
- What do volunteers do? - First and foremost Family Friends visit families and spend time with children! Together with the family they decide on what they will do together. Volunteers play games and read to children. They go to the library and occasionally offer homework help. They create art and do crafts projects. They take walks or go to the park. They offer a listening ear and give advice to parents. They enjoy a cup of tea or coffee together. Sometimes they cook meals together. They attend school events or meetings. They may accompany a parent of child to appointments. They often introduce children and parents to new community activities and recreational opportunities. Most of all they have fun together!
Interested volunteers or families should contact:
Patricia Keith, Family Friends Coordinator
413-774-5558 x 1063
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The Family Friends Program has partial funding from The United Way of Franklin County.
I choose not to place "DIS" in my ability.
-- Robert M. Hensel