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Friends and Mentor (FAM) Program

Connecting individuals with disabilities with friends and mentors to make the world a little brighter.


Our Mission

Our FAM program has been created as an extension to our platform in an effort to reduce at-home isolation for individuals with cognitive and/or physical disabilities. Forming friendships can be especially hard during these isolating times, and we want to change that. We hope that by our FAM members and volunteers sharing their stories, creating new memories and forming friendships over video chats, we can make those young smiles, a little bigger.


Who can join

  • FAM Family MemberAny child or young adult having a cognitive or physical disability can join as a FAM member.
  • FAM VolunteerWe welcome volunteers of all ages 10-25 years old. We want our volunteers and youth members to be able to connect on a generational basis and share their similar experiences.

How It Works





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Step 01

Fill out an interest form

What we need: A name, contact information, availability and a few fun facts to get to know you. It’s that simple.

Sign me up
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Step 02

Get Matched & Meet Your FAM-ily

Each FAM-ily will consist of one FAM member and two FAM volunteers (unless a FAM member requests otherwise). Once the interest form is completed, all you have to do is sit back and wait. We’ll set up the weekly 40 minute video chats for you and your FAM-ily to tell stories, play games, read books etc. Parents are always welcome to supervise chats!

Additional Information for Parents

Safety

The safety of our young FAM members is of utmost importance to us. We’ve implemented protective measures, such as having each child paired with two volunteers, limiting the age of our volunteers and allowing parents to supervise video chats, in order to keep our FAM members safe and comfortable.

Benefits of FAM

FAM was created to bring smiles and friendship into young lives and that continues to be our greatest mission. In addition to building confidence and social skills, our FAM members can work with volunteers to develop other skills of interest as requested by parents and/or the FAM member.

Additional Information for Volunteers

Requirements

  1. Volunteers must be able to commit to at least 1 (40 minute) video call per week.
  2. Volunteers must be between the ages of 10-25.

Not sure What to do or Say in a Video Chat?

No worries! We will send you a document containing activity ideas and some guidlines to help you throughout the chat. You will also have another volunteer in the chat who can help you. You can always reach out to us if you need any additional help or guidance.

Thank you for volunteering! This program wouldn’t be possible without our amazing volunteers.



Contact FAM

For questions and concerns regarding FAM, please email: clv10305@utexas.edu