Pathways to

The Arc of Massachusetts’ Pathways to Friendship, in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services (DDS), announces the availability of Community Bridging grants for FY2025.

The grants are intended for Community Organizations to demonstrate creative, intentional activities to advance relationships between people with and without developmental/intellectual disabilities. Proposals will be accepted at any time from the date of this announcement but no later than 5 P.M. on August 2nd, 2024, to The Arc of Massachusetts.

Learn More Here

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) and The Arc of Massachusetts.

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


Held the 2nd Wednesday of every other month from 10:00 – 11:30AM.

Meeting ID: 869 1467 2732

Passcode: 174902

2024 Dates:

  • 2/14/24
  • 4/10/24
  • 6/12/24
  • 8/14/24
  • 10/9/24
  • 12/11/24

Contact: Katie Driscoll at

Attend Meeting


Held the 1st Thursday of every other month from 10:00 – 11:30AM.

Meeting ID: 811 4911 0266

Passcode: 908968

2024 Dates:

  • 2/1/24
  • 4/4/24
  • *6/13/24*-The 2nd Thursday of the month due to a scheduling conflict
  • 8/1/24
  • 10/3/24
  • 12/5/24


Phoebe Goodman at

Rachel Hayward at

Attend Meeting


Held the 2nd Thursday of every other month from 10:00 – 11:30AM.

Meeting ID: 863 9773 7679

Passcode: 626290

2024 Dates:

  • 1/11/24
  • 3/14/24
  • 5/9/24
  • 7/11/24
  • 9/12/24
  • 11/14/24


Meg Gaydos at

Rachel Hayward at

Attend Meeting

Friendship Stories

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!

Norma Y Phoebe: De Personal Y Cliente A Amigas

Norma y Phoebe comenzaron como personal y cliente, pero con el paso de los años, su relación se convirtió en una hermosa amistad.

Norma and Phoebe: From Staff and Client to Friends

Norma and Phoebe started off as staff and client, but over the years their relationship grew into a beautiful friendship!

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!

Bob and Erik: Intergenerational Friends

Bob and Erik’s connection grew out of walking and talking at Achilles International events. Their relationship spotlights the importance of intergenerational friendships.

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.

Jordan and Laura: Actors and Friends

Jordan and Laura’s bond stemmed from a mutual love of acting. It has now grown into a beautiful 12-year friendship.

Lilly and Sydney: Unified in Friendship:

Lilly and Sydney originally became friends in preschool but then went off to different schools. They reconnected when both joined Unified Sports teams at the start of 9th grade.

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.

Browse Video Library

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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