February NOTS Live Q&A

Online Only

Title: Friendship: A Community Development Model

Presenters: Dr. Laura Marshak, Rivkee Rudolph, Clayton Hirsh, Colton Vazquez

Description: This session focuses on concepts, principles and strategies pertinent to developing a community-based friendship program that includes persons with IDD. The model developed at Friendship Circle of Pittsburgh will be shared for illustration and discussed by the professional advisor, executive director and two long-term members. Content includes factors that facilitate friendship  formation, an inclusion  checklist for use at programs, and unique elements that  promote inclusion in the larger community. 

About the Presenters:

In  addition to being the advisor of Friendship Circle of Pittsburgh, Dr. Marshak is a professor emeritus  at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of 8 books on various aspects of quality of life for persons with disabilities and their families. Dr. Marshak is a licensed psychologist at North Hills Psychological Services. Rivkee Rudolph founded the Friendship Circle of Pittsburgh with her husband in 2006.  She has served as the director for the past 16 years and has the led growth of this community  organization from about 50 members to nearly 500. She has won several awards for her community work. Both Clayton and Colton are long-term members of Friendship Circle of Pittsburgh.

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify 4 factors that facilitate friendships
  • Describe  3 elements of the Friendship  Circle  of Pittsburgh program  that were designed to facilitate community inclusion.
  • Explain why  friendship programs that match volunteers with members with disabilities may have unintended negative consequences.

The START National Online Training Series is designed to build capacity of IDD-MH professionals by providing innovative, evidence-based online training. This training series is a benefit for all national START Programs and their community partners.

Disclaimer: Speakers and presenters participating in sessions are encouraged to express their findings, experiences, and conclusions on specific topics. They are selected for their areas of expertise and personal and professional knowledge. Therefore, points of view or opinions of our speakers and presenters do not officially represent the National Center for START Services, the Institute on Disability, or the University of New Hampshire.

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