Pathways to

What is a friend?

We have chemistry. We enjoy each other’s company. We trust, understand, respect, and appreciate each other. We like how we feel when we’re together. We are close even when we are apart. We look forward to being together. We commit over some time. We give to each other. We may not give in the same way, but what we give and what we receive is of great value to each of us.

Widening the Circle

Widening the Circle, which includes Pathways to Friendship, is a collaborative initiative on social inclusion between the Department of Developmental Services (DDS), The Arc of Massachusetts, and several organizations providing residential supports to persons served by DDS.

The Pathways collaboration explores the benefits of relationships between people with disabilities and people without disabilities, and provides information about resources to help interested individuals engage in and sustain those relationships.

Our partner in collecting information is the Center for Developmental Disabilities Evaluation and Research (CDDER), part of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS). A report on two years of data can be accessed here.

Friendship Stories

Jonathan and Joy: Friends Reconnected

Jonathan and Joy have known each other since the third grade. When they lost touch, Jonathan did not give up on their friendship!

Uly and Rachel: Friends in Advocacy and in Life

Uly and Rachel started as co-workers, but they bonded over their passion for advocacy work and ice cream, and became good friends!

Mark and Jack: From Fans to Friends

Mark and Jack’s friendship started from a mutual love of the Red Sox and Fenway Park and has grown from there!

Janine and Allison: Best Buddies to Great Friends

Janine and Allison were matched through a Best Buddies program at Stonehill College. Their relationship far outlasted their college years, and they have grown from buddies into wonderful friends!

Sam and Jerry: The Thrill of Friendship

Sam was 8 and Jerry was 14 when they paired up at Loon Mountain. They ended up skiing together for the rest of the day, and for the next twenty years!

Daniel and Korynn: Best Friends Forever

High schoolers Daniel and Korynn share a love of music, sports, and selfies. Their friendship endured throughout the pandemic and remains strong as they plan for life after graduation.

Get Connected

Join the Pathways to Friendship Facebook Group

Join the community to collaborate with others!

Join Now

Want to learn more about friendship?

Check out our videos on building friendships

Watch Videos

Additional Resources

Trainers Corner

Visit the Trainers Corner

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