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

-In This Issue-

A Fall Message from Barb

Overcoming Bullying

A Junior Prom to Remember

A Night at the Opera

Upcoming Conferences 

Circle Summer 

Barb and her new grandson, it's never too early to make a friend! 
Welcome Back
By Barbara Palilis
CoF Founder and Executive Director

Dear Friends ,

Fall is an exciting time for Circle of Friends (CoF) as it marks the beginning of our new fall workshops, through which we foster social inclusion in schools across the country.

This fall, Circle of Friends is thrilled to welcome our newest team member, Robyn Stack Reagan.   Robyn brings with her over 25 years of experience as a teacher, counselor and school administrator.  As our Program Director, Robyn will oversee our inclusion programs as well as provide guidance to our Program Facilitators.  We look forward to the expertise Robyn will surely bring to Circle of Friends! 

We hope you enjoy reading the stories in our newsletter and follow us on social media for more Circle of Friends news. Welcome back to a great '16-'17 school year! 

In Friendship,


Elizabeth (rt) speaking at our 2016 Friendship Gala.
Overcoming Bullying
A Q&A with Elizabeth Bogen

We conducted a Q&A with Elizabeth Hedenberg, a Circle of Friends Board Member representing the special needs community. Elizabeth shared with us her experience of being bullied as a student with disabilities, and how she overcame this obstacle to go on to lead a happy and fulfilling life. 
CoF student, Claire, at Middletown South, asked a senior soccer player to be her date to junior prom. 
He said, "Yes."
A Junior Prom They'll Both Remember

Middletown, NJ - Like most teenage girls this time of year, Claire DiGiorgio has one thing on her mind: Prom.  Claire is a junior at Middletown High School South, and will attend its junior prom Friday night.

"When she wakes up in the morning, she talks about prom. She talks about it all day," said her mom Valerie. "'How many days are left until Friday?!' 'It's almost Friday!' She is very excited."

Claire is developmentally disabled. Her prom date is a senior, a varsity soccer player who will head to Purdue University in the fall. Claire asked Christian "Chip" Liskowitz to accompany her to prom with a handwritten note, and he said, "Yes."
CoF students of Standley Middle School 
enjoy the opera.
A Night at the Opera
By Mellisa Essenburg, M.S., CCC-SLP
Advisor, San Diego Unified School District

The Standley Middle School chapter of Circle of Friends got a dose of culture in the spring when they took two field trips to the San Diego Opera.  The students enjoyed performances of Madama Butterfly and Great Scott! during the final dress rehearsals as part of the Student Night at the Opera program.  

Despite the length of the performances and the late hour, the students were an enthralled audience and excellent examples of theatre going etiquette.  When asked how he enjoyed the performance, one of the Friends stated, "I loved it!  It was beautiful, like poetry."  We hope to continue this exciting opportunity in future years.
Upcoming Presentations

2016 Inclusion Collaborative State Conference 
On October 27-28, 2016,  Barbara Palilis, CoF Founder and Executive Director, will be speaking about the importance of Inclusion and how Circle of Friends is making a positive difference on school campuses and within community life. 

2017 ACSA Conference 
On February 3, 2017,  Barbara Palilis, CoF Founder and Executive Director, will be offering her experience in tackling bullying and fostering a more supportive environment on our campuses. 

How to be a Good Friend on Social Media Idea2
Social media is the new platform for communication, whether that means sharing family photos, chatting with friends or keeping up on the latest news. Social media can also be an avenue for bullying and hurtful discourse. Circle of Friends strives to create an uplifting social media presence and help our Chapters to do the same.

We have created a handout with 5 simple steps that you can share with your kids, friends, classmates and students to encourage inclusion on our campuses and in our homes.  Read our social media handout   
Circle Summer 2016 Participants on a picnic

Circle Summer 2016 News
Circle of Friends 

Since 2005, Circle Summer has provided an inclusion program for teens and adults with special needs. College students majoring in Education  and Communication are trained as Group Leaders to model and shape appropriate social skills for their peers. Genuine friendships develop during recreational and cultural outings.
This year, Circle Summer enjoyed trips to Santa Monica Beach and Promenade, saw "Finding Dory", went bowling, and had fun learning at the California Science Center and Peterson Auto Museum.  At our annual Grand Finale for family and friends, participants gave presentations and received special recognition.
Circle of Friends thanks the Assistance League of Santa Monica and Santa Monica Bay Woman's Club for their ongoing generous support. We're all looking forward to another great summer in 2017! 

Wishing you a joyous holiday season! 
Circle of Friends ~ The Path to Inclusion

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