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Peaceful Living’s mission is to create belonging for persons with disabilities within a faith-based community, The driving force behind that mission is our belonging model. We believe that true belonging is composed of 4 important parts. The first part is companionship in the form of a sincere relationship built upon mutual trust and admiration. Membership in a welcoming community gives individuals an opportunity to thrive. A sincere appreciation for the enthusiasms individuals we serve offer to their community help them feel that they’re contributing in their own special way. And finally Peaceful Living believes in caring for the whole individual by helping them live a life balanced in body, mind and spirit.
The Friendship Connection pairs volunteers from the community with an individual with special needs looking for companionship. Extensive interest inventories are used to try and introduce individuals to potential friends that share many common interests and activities. Participants in this program have the opportunity to develop new friendships and connections in the community. We fully expect that these newly established relationships develop into strong, mutual friendships that provide great benefits to both parties. As one of the volunteer friends put it, "I came into the program thinking I was doing this as a way to help someone. As it turns out, I receive more than I give and that is why I still continue with it today."
Peaceful Living assures that each volunteer recruited is thoroughly vetted by obtaining drug screening results, criminal reference checks as well as making sure they have a driver’s license and valid insurance. Once these volunteers are cleared to be paired with an individual they spend at least 2 hours a month, although it’s usually more than that. There is one scheduled Friendship Connection activity a month that ranges from Christmas parties to kickball games and each year there is a "Friendship Banquet" that brings all of the friends and individuals served together to celebrate their life in the community.
- Nicole Sparango
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