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Fresh focus for Life Friends

29 November 2017 – Life Unlimited’s friendship programme Life Friends is heading to Fraser High School as part of the continuing adult education programme.

Programme coordinator Wendy van den Berg is excited by the move and says it reflects the new focus of the programme to support people to learn “lifelong skills that will enable them to develop meaningful friendships.”

The programme aims to help students identify opportunities to join social groups that match their interests so they can meet people and participate in community life. They will also learn practical skills like making introductions, remembering names and being a good host or guest.

There’s also a focus on students identifying their personal goals.

“We explore what people would like to get out of the programme. It may be being able to organise a weekend away with friends, or it might simply be gaining the confidence to talk to someone next to them in class. Everyone’s goals are different,” says Wendy.

The programme is interactive and caters to all learning styles with students encouraged to take part in practical exercises like role play and group discussion.

“There’s an opportunity for people to share their experiences meeting people and making friends – what has worked for them; what hasn’t worked so well.”

The programme concludes with a social outing at the end of the course – like a pot luck dinner or karaoke night – so students can put all their new skills into practice.

“Our last group chose to go to the movies. They had to use all the skills they’d learned, like how to negotiate with friends to decide what movie to see at a time that suits everyone. They had to figure out how to make contact with each other and choose where to meet, as well as using the social skills needed to buy a ticket and snacks.

“So people get to have fun too while they’re learning all these new skills,” says Wendy.

Life Friends is open to anyone over 16 who would like to learn more about where and how to make friends. The next programme begins on 14 February 2018 and will be held fortnightly on Wednesday, 6-7.30pm, over two school terms for a total of eight sessions.

Visit Fraser High School website to register for Life Friends in 2018, or contact [email protected] for more information.

This story appeared in the Summer 2017 issue of our free disability e-newsletter Infolink. Read or sign up to receive Infolink here.

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