Winter Newsletter 2017

-In This Issue-

New Year's Resolutions





New Year's Resolutions
By Robyn Reagan
CoF Program Director

Dear Friends

I saw a Facebook post the other day: "February 1st -Where New Year's resolutions go to die." Many of us get inspired by that first page of the new calendar and set grand new goals. But, small kindnesses can leave lasting impressions.
February is International Friendship Month. Call or email an old friend. Say, "Good Morning!" to the man who walks his dog on your street.  Put away your phone to have dinner with your family. Remember to smile and thank the checker at the market. Will Rogers once said, "A stranger is just a friend I haven't met yet."  This is a good month to remember that. 


~ Robyn

Ruben, a junior at Patrick Henry High, with the varsity cheer squad
How This High School Rallied For A Special Student To Join The Varsity Cheer Squad  
The Huffington Post

Ruben is a junior at Patrick Henry High, a school with an enrollment of 2,468 in San Diego, California. This 17-year-old, African-American student has a diagnosis of Down syndrome ( and moderate intellectual disabilities. But that's not-at-all how the school's varsity cheerleading squad, student body, or staff see him.   Read the article
CoF students visit The Baler Buckaroo. 
Baler Buckaroo Rodeo for Special Needs Students
John Chadwell, Reporting for BenitoLink

This is the first annual Baler Buckaroo Special Needs rodeo," said Craig, an San Benito High School alumna. "We're just trying to get it off the ground and make it grow and get other departments in the high school involved.
Don't miss the CBS2 Los Angeles Making a Difference segment featuring Circle of Friends.
Airing soon!
Current Events  Upcomingevents

2017 ACSA Conference 
On February 3, 2017,  Barbara Palilis, CoF Founder and Executive Director, spoke at the ACSA Conference in Anaheim, CA about the the small steps we can all take to ensure no student feels alone. Program Director Robyn Stack Reagan joined her for the presentation (both pictured).

2017 Friendship Gala 
A World of Opportunities
On April 29, 2017, s upport the invaluable work of Circle of Friends and enjoy a magical evening during our annual Friendship Gala. The event includes an Awards Ceremony, Dinner, Live and Silent Auctions and a Raffle. Tickets are on-sale now, call our office at (310) 312-6600 or email
North Park Elementary placemats highlight CoF students' names.
Helpful hints from North Park Elementary School for improved attendance, organization, and class management:
  • Assign a student to serve as President, another to plan activities, and another to help with attendance. We meet weekly to decide on games or activities for the upcoming week. They help me come up with a "Question of the Day" (i.e. What is your favorite holiday and why?) as well as an "attention getter" (i.e. "Macaroni Cheese / Everybody Freeze") to allow for conversations during the time when they are eating.
  • Attendance - Create a CoF attendance poster and have students place an attendance sticker near their name. It is amazing how this simple addition has helped with accountability as the students do not want to see a blank spot by their names. It is also helpful to me as I am able to see who has been missing from groups and who has been attending each week. My attendance "leader" is in charge of handing out stickers and making certain all members remember to check in.
Circle of Friends students wrap holiday gifts for needy family.
Adopt a Family News
By Christina Zavala, CoF Advisor
DeAnza Magnet School 

Our Circle of Friends students volunteered to adopt a family in need for Christmas.  The family is an ECESD Family, with 7 children, ages ranging from 10 months to 13 years old. Thank you to the FACT Center for finding this family for us!  Our students truly came through by providing this family with so much canned food!! The lunch time activity was spent wrapping presents for the family, making cards, and listening to some fun holiday music to get everyone in the spirit.  All students seemed to enjoy the activity, and I know we are so proud of their giving hearts.  Later in the afternoon, we had the opportunity  to deliver the gifts to the family. The expressions  on the children's  faces were PRICELESS!!! 
Grant and Partnership AnnouncementsGrants
We extend a heartfelt T hank You  to Hasbro Children's Fund, Autism Speaks, The Morrison and Foerster Foundation, and Kaiser Pemanente.  Your generosity enables Circle of Friends to change the lives of students nationwide.

makeadifferenceLooking for a way to make a difference in the lives of students with disabilities?

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