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.
Join Our Regional Inclusion Networks
These virtual meetings focus on furthering inclusion within organizations and communities. They are a forum to share best practices, to network, and to learn from short presentations. All are welcome to join! There are currently three Regional Inclusion Network Meetings.
Warren and Velvet: Like Peanut Butter and Jelly
Warren and Velvet have been friends for over 20 years. They have weathered life’s ups and downs together and have developed a bond deeper than friendship…they are family.
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.
Pathways Video Library
View friendship stories, trainings, webinars, and more on demand.
The Pathways to Friendship team and partners have chronicled incredible stories of inclusion and modeled examples for you to learn from. All of this and more can be found in the on demand Video Library.
- How to Facilitate Friendships for Kids (0-13)
- How to Facilitate Friendships for Transition Aged Youth (14-22)
- How to Facilitate Friendships for Adults (22+)
- Pathways to Friendship’s Guide to Socially Distanced Activities
- Pathways to Friendship’s Lessons Learned During COVID-19
- Friends: Connecting People with Disabilities and Community Members – Angela Novak Amado, PhD
- Friendships and the IEP
- How to Use Person Centered Planning to Promote Connections
- Strategies For Direct Support
- Summer 2016 – Friendship and the ISP
- 75 Things Handout
- Tale of Two Bridges
- DDS Social Inclusion
- Friends: Activity work sheets
- The Integrated Friendship Star
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