FRIENDS was started in 1998 by a handful of parents wanting a better life for their children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Founder and CEO Gina Coufal was one of those parents and her son Josh was one of those kids.
We are proud to say that this year FRIENDS celebrates 25 years of diligent advocacy, community education and program development for an often overlooked population. Many of those children with special needs, are now living fulfilling lives as adults, because of FRIENDS.
FRIENDS has grown from that small parent network to a thriving organization with a simple mission. To EXPLORE POSSIBILITIES and PROVIDE OPPORTUNITIES. Since its inception, FRIENDS has served over 400 individuals. Currently FRIENDS has about 230 individuals receiving services through the Day, Residential, Supported Employment, Social & Travel programs. FRIENDS’ approach is innovative and person centered. Our programs ensure our Friends will acquire the skills necessary to become more independent with activities of daily living, building social networks, pursuing and obtaining meaningful employment, and someday living in a home of their own.
"I am truly grateful for FRIENDS and the role they play in the Broomfield community. Broomfield is a wonderful community to grow up in and raise a family in. FRIENDS has made our community even better by filling a gap we had in the area of services to our DD citizens. This has had a very big impact on our community by creating awareness about people with disabilities. It's so good to see they are people just like everyone else with a desire to belong and be accepted exactly how they are. It's such an important thing for everybody and FRIENDS is building more and more bridges of acceptance and understanding. When an establishment provides a job for someone with special needs, another bridge is formed and it has a positive impact on employees as well as patrons. When our adult DD citizens can enter a place of business and be treated just like any other person, then a bridge of respect has been built. The reason FRIENDS has had a positive impact on our community is because of the dedication to provide whatever it takes to help our participants access the community. Many supports are needed in the areas of planning, transportation, supervision, guidance, money and many more. I also really like how FRIENDS has provided opportunities for their participants to volunteer and give back to the community. My son really likes being a volunteer and ARC is his favorite place to work."
- Mother of participant
"FRIENDS is an awesome place to come to. The activities are fantastic and we get to choose them. I feel like everyone has super powers. I like to be different and I love that we have a wonderful place to come to."
- Day Program participant
"I am incredibly thankful for FRIENDS. I have peace of mind knowing the programs are staffed and supervised with caring people. I love that activities are modified and that M has fun. Thank you for the scholarships too, especially for those with limited family funds. You make sure he participates."
- Host Home Provider for program participant.
"I like FRIENDS for all things. FRIENDS is my life and my heart and my world. I like dance and sing."
- Program Participant
"I like FRIENDS because everybody is good to me."
- Program Participant
"I don't know what our family would do without FRIENDS. It's the only time I get to have some "off" time without feeling guilty because I know they are active, learning and happy."
- Parent of program participant
"The partnership between FRIENDS and Broomfield High School is so important. I am proud to tell families about the opportunities that will follow as their students become adults. It's a glimmer of hope."
- Teacher at BHS
"Dedicated to enhancing communities by creating opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities through an innovative and person centered approach"
For individuals with developmental disabilities, we will insure they have a voice in the community, and access to person centered supports that promote independence and choice.
For our families, we will serve as a support and informational network, and work cooperatively to ensure lifelong supports for their loved ones.
For our community, we will promote acceptance and understanding through education, and enhance our community through opportunities for inclusive living.
F.R.I.E.N.D.S. of Broomfield, Inc. began in 1998 as a grass-roots parent network, which wanted to better the lives of their children with developmental disabilities. The name of the organization was chosen because it reflected the values of the organization. F.R.I.E.N.D.S. is an acronym for Fun, Recreation, Inclusive Experiences, Networking and Discovering the Spirit. The initial goal of the organization was to develop recreational opportunities in the Broomfield area for adults with developmental disabilities. This was achieved by establishing a Broomfield Special Olympic program in the fall of 1998, and in 2000, a Therapeutic Recreation program that offered activities through the city's recreation department.
F.R.I.E.N.D.S. became a recognized 5-1(c)(3) charitable organization in 2002 with the mission to "Enrich the lives of our F.R.I.E.N.D.S. with developmental disabilities and their families by creating opportunities for participation in every aspect of community life.". October, 2005, F.R.I.E.N.D.S. officially began with F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Unlimited program, a community access/day program serving 6 adults. In addition to the day program, F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Night Out, a twice monthly evening social event, was initiated. In May 2008, F.R.I.E.N.D.S. established F.R.I.E.N.D.S. On My Own, an interactive independent apartment living program, and in 2010 expanded services to include comprehensive residential supports through various models within the F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Independent Living Program. In 2015 F.R.I.E.N.D.S. established its first Supported Employment program assisting participants with skills assessments, interviewing, job development and one on one job coaching and support. To date F.R.I.E.N.D.S. has successfully employed over a twenty two individuals in meaningful and gainful jobs in the community. Most recently, in 2018, F.R.I.E.N.D.S. acquired another non-profit organization providing extended travel, further expanding the popular Social program offerings.
Since its inception, F.R.I.E.N.D.S. has served over 250 individuals across all its programs; each providing opportunities for participants to create new or enhance existing life skills, making their life as fulfilling as possible, while also developing a social network of peers and natural community supports.
F.R.I.E.N.D.S. of Broomfield, Inc. continues to contribute to the greater community through involvement with City Council and the establishment of a new county and a single community centered board agency for Broomfield, local high school transitions, local churches, civic projects (sensory parks, affordable housing and emergency response efforts) as well as volunteerism. F.R.I.E.N.D.S. receives continuous support from the City and County of Broomfield, the Broomfield Community Foundation, the Broomfield Rotary Clubs, the Nativity Knights of Columbus, various businesses, and generous donors throughout the community. With this support and state funding, F.R.I.E.N.D.S. of Broomfield is able to continue to serve adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and create more opportunities for participation and contribution to the greater community.
FRIENDS of Broomfield, Inc
Fun Recreation Inclusive Experience Networking Discovering the Spirit