Good friends never say "goodbye" -- they simply say "see you soon." 
Wishing everyone a wonderful summer!

In This Issue

A Summer Message from Barb


Message from Barb
Enjoy the Summer
By Barbara Palilis
CoF Founder and Executive Director

Dear Friends,

Thank you all for being a part of the CoF "family" and making our world a better place.  Wishing you a wonderful summer break filled with laughter, relaxation, breathing space, and time with friends!  

Happy summer break to everyone!!


COF 2016 Honorees: 
Steve Mauldin, Sheri Hoffman and Jeff Carr with
2015 Honoree Joe Mantegna
Reach for the Stars:  Story1
Friendship Gala Shines

More than 200 champions of social inclusion gathered together at the Le Meridien Delfina Hotel in support of the work Circle of Friends does to provide inclusion for students with and without disabilities. 

Our three honorees treated us to moving, heartfelt speeches. KCBS-TV & KCAL-TV L.A. President and General Manager Steve Mauldin accepted the Social Impact Award. Special Olympics World Games Chief Operating Officer Jeff Carr received the Global Inclusion Award, and volunteer extraordinaire Sheri Hoffman was recognized with the Founder's Award. 

To see more photos of the gala event, follow this link.
Shira Ron (Front, Left) on a field trip with Standley Middle School CoF Chapter
What Circle of Friends Story2 Means to Me

By Shira Ron, CoF Chapter Co-President 
Standley Middle School, San Diego USD

The first time that I walked into Circle of Friends, I didn't know what to expect. I was intrigued by the idea of getting to know other students that I wasn't familiar with, but I was also worried that I wasn't going to know what to say or how to act. What I've learned through participating in Circle of Friends is that I shouldn't have worried. It was very easy for me to make friends quickly despite some of the differences. The life lesson that I now keep is that friendship can be found anywhere and with anyone, and is easy to obtain if you make yourself open to it.
Notes from the Graduate Story3
By Alyssa McGeehan-Steele, CoF Alumni
Patrick Henry High School, San Diego USD

"To me, Circle of Friends has always been so much more than just a club, more than just events and gatherings. To me, it was those lunches spent talking about nothing, but laughing until there were tears in my eyes. It was having a hand to hold in the darkness. It was the thing that made me feel like I was worth something. It was the thing that saved me and showed me that I don't have to be defined by my disability. I want to thank all the people who have made this club (and my time within it) possible. And if there's one thing I may ask of you, let it be this: Always keep this club up and running, because everybody deserves the opportunity to find somebody who loves them for exactly who they are, disabled or not. If I had one wish it would be that everybody could find the people that they're meant to live their lives with...just like I did."
Save the Date - CoF at Story4 Stephanie's Day in Los Angeles on June 11

Stephanie's Day is a resource fair that provides families with children impacted by autism and other special needs ONE place to gather valuable information, enjoy fun activities and much more! 

This year's event will take place Saturday, June 11, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the CBS Studios (4200 Radford Avenue, Studio City). Parking and admission are both free. 

Stop by the Circle of Friends booth to learn more about our program or to just say "Hi."  Click here for more information.
Bingo Board Challenge Idea1
by Jennine Rau, CoF Advisor
Bainbridge High School, Bainbridge USD

In an effort to encourage CoF members at Bainbridge High School to get out and do more together with their Friends, a Bingo Board Challenge was created. Because there are two lunches that happen during the day, we created a competition between the 1st and 2nd lunch groups. Whichever lunch filled up a row first won a pizza party, and if either lunch were to get a "blackout" then there would be an ice cream celebration. As each pairing completes one of the challenge squares, they are given the CoF Patch to write their names on to cover up the corresponding square.

It has been great to see the excitement on the faces of the students when they realize they completed a challenge. Upon reflection we believe this system could be improved by setting a date by which to achieve the challenges. We also believe that this challenge would be a great one to launch at the beginning of the year to help set the tone for the rest of the school year. Another idea would be to set a challenge between grade levels, instead of first versus second lunch.
Conversation Starters Idea2
By Jennifer Ritchie, CoF Advisor
Romer Middle School, LAUSD

After our first lunch meeting, I noticed there were some issues that the Friends needed to work on -- such as knowing the name of their Peer Friend, facing away from their Peer Friends, and limited eye contact.

We took time in class to work on conversation starters to help both Friends and Peer Friends engage in conversations.  The Friends role-played practicing eye contact and using their Peer Friend's names.  At the Peer Friend meeting, each student got a copy of the conversation starters and were asked to pay close attention to their friends' eye contact, body positioning, and use of their name.  The two Friends who were able to name all of their Peer Friends first got a prize. The kids all did great. All of the friends sat facing their peer friends, eye contact improved and every single friend knew their peer friends' names by the end of lunch. 
New & Noteworthy -- Meet JuliaNews
Have you met Julia yet? She is a new friend of Abby Cadabby and Elmo on Sesame Street who has autism.

Julia is part of an exciting new initiative from the Sesame Workshop designed to reduce the stigma surrounding autism. "The initiative, Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children," provides educational tools in online and printed story books and as a free downloadable app that features  Sesame Street characters explaining to children how to interact with friends, like Julia, who have autism.

Learn more about the initiative and resources available from Sesame Street by following this link:
Circle of Friends | 310-312-6600 |
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