All About Friends Connect Foundation!
Friends Connect Foundation facilitates free socials where teens, both with and without special needs, can connect and spend time together!
Participants with special needs are assigned to at least one volunteer “Buddy” on the day of an event based on similar interests. The pairing process ensures that both kids will have a good time together and develop a natural friendship!
Friends Connect Foundation event categories include fitness, art, music, social and community service!
Friends Connect Foundation's Mission
Our mission is to provide social opportunities designed for individuals with special needs. Our age-appropriate programs assist participants in forming new friendships, improving their self-esteem and increasing their sense of belonging in the community.
Volunteers and Participants
Years in Operation
Our age-appropriate programs include meaningful and enjoyable activities such as dance lessons, art classes, gardening, drum circle, cooking, field days, ice skating, robotics, board games and more
NOTE: The Facebook feed above includes only several of our upcoming events. Volunteers and participants with special needs MUST register in advance before attending Friends Connect Foundation events. To register as a volunteer or participant, please click the button to the right.
WHAT MAKES US UNIQUE
Friends Connect Foundation evolved from a small social group founded in 2017 by a sixteen-year-old in Middletown, New Jersey. Our young founder, Sophia Ziajski, realized that her local teen peers with special needs continued to feel isolated, insecure and incapable of making friends despite the efforts being made to make society more supportive of these individuals. After researching local social opportunities, Sophia soon realized that many existing nonprofits and programs had long waitlists, were strictly sports-oriented, were not age-appropriate for teenagers, or did not assist in forming long-lasting friendships. There was a need for better integration and support for teenagers with special needs. Sophia then initiated a small social group that allowed for teens both, with and without special needs, to meet and spend time together. As interest in our program vastly increased, Friends Connect Foundation incorporated a New Jersey nonprofit corporation in Spring of 2018 to accommodate the increasing demand. FCF later became recognized by the IRS as a charitable 501(c)(3) organization in June 2018. Friends Connect Foundation’s mission is to provide social opportunities designed for individuals with special needs. Our age-appropriate programs assist participants in forming new friendships, improving their self-esteem and increasing their sense of belonging in the community. We believe that all of our volunteers and participants with special needs have the potential to create a lasting impact in the community, learn new skills, form new friendships and celebrate each other’s differences.
Michael had a great time! On the ride home he said “friends” and had the biggest smile on his face that I have ever seen. The volunteers were enthusiastic and the activities were appropriate and fun. As a former special education teacher, I was very impressed with the ease with which everyone interacted with our children.