Valley Friendship Club (VFC) is looking for a new website that is professional, polished and easy to access for all abilities (ease of use, visibility, navigability). As well as have a look that will attract new members, volunteers, community partners, supporters and donors. VFC is a new grassroots nonprofit desiring the website to tell our humble beginnings, vision & mission. We would like to be able to connect to events with a calendar, RSVP capabilities, an interest/sign-up function, blogging and links to our community partners. We currently have forms on the site, but it would be nice for members & volunteers to be able to complete the form online instead of having to download and mail. Also, a site that can easily be added to and updated with events and photos by our volunteers with links to GiveMN, Facebook, Twitter and possibly video.
Paired with Sleep-Deprivation Research Team #4
Valley Friendship Club (VFC) was founded in April 2010 by a group of Washington County Parents who saw a need for fun educational & social opportunities for children, teens & young adults with developmental and/or intellectual disabilities, but also to fulfill a crucial need; to create an inclusive partnership and sense of belonging within the community at large. VFC holds approximately 4 events a month, with yearly attendance averaging over 800 (majority having disabilities) at these events. Since inception VFC has been member driven and all volunteer run. The success VFC has experience in its short history speak volumes to the need for such a Club. VFC has had members connect at events that had no real peer to peer friendships before (due to disabilities). Now members are building wonderful supporting friendships & gaining social skills, with the added bonus of parents/guardians finding a network that continues to support each other!
A new website will allow Valley Friendship Club (VFC) to reach out to as many people in the fastest way and fulfill our vision statement (*1). VFCâ€™s founders wrote and received a 2 year start up grant and are now fundraising/grant writing to sustain & grow further. A new website that reflects our mission & values with professional refinement will help attract new supporters, volunteers and funders as well as, most importantly, new members. VFC is looking to think big, grow relationships with peers, volunteers, community and potential philanthropic funding sources. VFC is about all persons belonging to the greater community at large. A new website can help us project that belief; our site is the â€œugly ducklingâ€! VFC wanted to get started and get a simple site up, now it is time to look at the VFC site through the eyes of others to create even more connections.
(*1) Vision Statement:
The vision Statement: Valley Friendship Club vision is to create the opportunity for every person with and without a developmental and/or intellectual disability to build enduring friendships and embrace community connections while enhancing the lives of all individuals involved: members, families and volunteers!!
This group is awesome and very needed for activities for people living with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the Stillwater area. They operate on a small budget and really need this support.
The Valley Friendship Club is an AMAZING resource for kids, teens and young adults in the Stillwater area! It is a place where all can come and feel welcome, have social experiences, maybe learn something, have a little fun, and connect with FRIENDS. Led by an all-volunteer crew, with a teen advisory board (made up of young people with and without a disability diagnoses), VFC provides boundless creativity and opportunity to our community.
VFC embodies the idea of friendship, independence and community connection. Qualities we all need and want to have! Pick them, they are soooooo worth it (plus they are fun)!!!!!!!!!
Valley Friendship Club is a wonderful organization that needs our support. Having the opportunity to attend events where you feel welcomed and valued is a desire we all share. For children and young adults with disabilities, finding these places can be challenging. The volunteer staff of Valley Friendship Club saw the need in the Stillwater area and is providing a wide range of activities that are fun and provide opportunities to make new friendships. Please pick Valley Friendship Club!
Valley Friendship Club is what I consider to be a miracle organization. It provides a place for my daughter to have social interactions with her peers so I don't have to provide entertainment for her - especially on weekends when teens and adults are supposed to go out and party. Valley Friendship Club has been a huge help for me to redirect her to their activities instead of her sitting home lonely and disappointed. I am very grateful that Valley Friendship Club is in existence.
Valley Friendship Club is an opportunity for people of all ages and abilities to create and grow friendships. On a Friday night when typical kids are hanging out, there are activities for those who are not welcome in other places. Everyone is welcome to hang out, watch a movie or play some games. I have seen amazing friendships begin and blossom where there was loneliness. The cost for activities is very low so there is not much money for things like a website. This opportunity would help spread the word so many more people can hear about this group!
Imagine a world that prevented you from being " a part of " because of your mental or physical condition. How many mentally handicapped individuals were at your last birthday party? How many autistic kids are in your childs Sunday school group? When is the last time you interacted with a physically disabled person? If you can recall being at events attended by special needs people I applaud you.
Unfortunately much of our society is unaware of the urgent need for social and recreational outlets for our special children. Our ten year old grandson has never been invited to a schoolmates party or a playover. Our 28 year old son has never driven a car or fallen in love.
The Valley Friendship Club provides an outlet for our two special kids. They understand the challenges inherent with special kids and provide a welcoming and caring venue free of judgement and filled with acceptance. They make a difference and deserve support.
This program is an amazing way, not only for volunteers to become more involved in their community, but for kids to form social connections which would otherwise be very difficult. Everyone I've met there has been friendly, helpful, and enthusiastic; and the kids who are a part of the club seem to have the time of their lives! Valley Friendship Club is provides a profoundly valuable experience for all.
Valley Friendship Club is an organization completely developed and run by volunteers. Their dedication, resourcefulness and creativity have built an amazing resource for the St. Croix Valley. Making friendships is important to all of us, for kids with disabilities there are very limited opportunities. The events and activities that are offered include movie nights, swimming parties, dances and bowling. They also have events where the kids have made blankets and cards that have been donated to other non-profits in the area, they â€œgive backâ€. Having a new website would allow this amazing group of people, kids and their families, to reach out and to connect in new ways.
The Valley Friendship Club is an important communication tool to keep families of children with special needs in the St. Croix Valley area connected. It is a vital and useful resource. With hundreds of hours of volunteer time devoted to this organization, they deserve the added help of designing a user friendly web page- one that self advocates can easily manage. Please consider the organization for a full make over and use the children/recipients of the club in your usability evaluation.
The Valley Friendship Club has become an amazing resource for our children with special needs and their families. Families are given an opportunity to connect with each other, and children are given opportunities to socialize and develop long-lasting friendships in a positive and supportive environment. This club has been an inspiration to me as a special education teacher and I cannot speak enough to the advocacy this club provides our children with special needs in our community.
"It's really really a fun place. I like to create art and see my FRIENDS! I like to sing and I meet new friends too. I'm great there!!"
As parents of 5 kids (our 2nd child was born with Down syndrome) it's wonderful to have Friendship club where all kids are welcome. So many times our other 4 kids feel left out being our daughter has so many opportunities being she has a disability. So we love that this club welcome ALL kids with ALL abilities. It's wonderful for all kids just to come together and be kids.
Also this club keeps their activities costs down for families. Having a family max really helps us too! They are all for the kids!!
Thank you Valley Friendship club for all you do and continue to do for kids and families!!
Valley Friendship Club has been great for our 11 year old daughter with Down syndrome! We worried about our daughter making friends as she got older. Friendships with typical peers are harder as the kids get older and the gap in abilities widens. Our daughter is making friendships that will hopefully last a long time through Valley Friendship Club! Valley Friendship Club is primarily run by busy parents of kids with disabilities and they would really appreciate help with their website!
I like to hang out with my friends! Thank you Valley Friendship Club!
Valley Friendship Club is a place our 14 year old daughter can increase her independence and build relationships with her peers.
VFC members have the opportunity to participate in activities without family members if they choose. Family can hang around if they want, but the club is designed to allow the option of just being a kid with your friends...
Kids with disabilities have very few options to just "hang out with friends". Social invitations just don't happen as much (if at all) for kids with disabilities. Valley Friendship Club fills that void!
As the busy parent of a child with a disability, a fully functional, user-friendly website would be a wonderful addition to the opportunities VFC provides.
Thank you for considering Valley Friendship Club as your Overnight Website Challenge Recipient!
This organization has been a blessing for our daughter and the community. This is a dedicated organization of Mom's that created the organization so that our children with you unique abilities can have a place and a group to belong to. They have created many many events and hundreds of children have participated in, and done so in a very short time. Plesae choose this organization so that others can find them on the web and participate in these great activities. The kids are also learning about giving back, and they have organized activities for our special kids to contribute to other causes/non profits.
As the parent of a young man who has Autism and is also non-verbal, it can be heart breaking to see him miss out on nights out with friends, dates and having fun. When Alex attends Valley Friendship events, he is in an exciting environment with peers who know him, enjoy him and let him be him. Alex gets the chance to be a guy out with friends, something that most teens and young adults (thankfully) take for granted, but is not always an option for people with communication disorders. Furthermore, Valley Friendship Club prevents Alex's world from constricting down to the "typical" 15 significant people in his life, like most adults with disabilities unfortunately experience. Instead, he has a cohort of friends that he will likely maintain relationships with for the rest of his life. And while few things in life are certain, we all know that with friends, they are certainly more fun!
My son has difficulty making friends on his own. He is bright, funny, and enjoys being with people but finds it hard to understand social cues. We heard about Valley Friendship Group through our school and tried it out for the first time last Halloween. He did not want to wear a costume and our deal was to say hello to at least three people and we had to stay for at least 15 minutes. Two plus hours later, he had five buddies, a costume, was dancing to the music, and said it was the best Halloween he had ever had! Through the non-pressure activities, he has developed some friendships with other boys who have similar interests. Since the volunteers and other parents are familiar with the issues of autism, they can help guide the interaction as needed. However, the beautiful thing about Valley Friendship Club is he hasn't needed it. He gets the other boys, and the other boys get him. It a wonderful experience to see him now rush into the building to find his friends and see what the activity is going to be. It would be wonderful to have a stronger website to connect to the Club, to each other, and learn more about activities and opportunities. Autism can be very isolating but the Club is helping to break down some of those barriers.
Valley Friendship Club has provided a place for us to join in with other families, friends, and kids of all ages and abilities. Since our daughter is older, she has come to events for grade-school age as a volunteer helper, and particiated in events for the teens and up and enjoyed the activities herself. This organization gets it so right in working to be inclusive, not just with our friends with disabilities, but offering a safe place and an encouraging atmosphere for family members and friends who know what it's like to come from a dynamic that includes some challenges.
As a volunteer driven organization, supporters have worked countless unpaid hours on a shoestring budget and have provided programming that includes art,music,fishing, photography, geo-caching, movie nights, pizza baking and disco dances. They deserve some help to create a vibrant interactive media program that could benefit those who might not yet know about the variety of events and activities available.
There just are not enough words to express how we feel about the wonderful people who make the Valley Friendship Club possible. As the parents of a young daughter, we were very pleased and impressed to find an organization in our community like this for kids and young adults who may otherwise not have an opportunity for a full social life and may find social and play skills more tricky than others... Through the Valley Friendship Club, our daughter has developed friendships and learned social, play and even leadership skills. We are always very impressed with the quality and content of the fun and learning activities organized by the Valley Friendship Club.
All the hard work in organizing and hosting events and warm and welcoming personalities contribute so much to everyone's enjoyment. We really appreciate the time, dedication and work that all the volunteers do to make the Valley Friendship Club - it is what se it apart from the others - it is quite simply the best. Thank you!
The true measure of a society is how we treat those who need the most assistance. Valley Friendship Club, through volunteers have worked with vigor and love to include those longing to be included in a sharing joyful group, that most of us with average abilities take for granted. The joy recieved in giving to these wonderful people is the reward of their honest loving glee and their ability to just be individuals. Please help the VFC message to reach all those inclined to share the joy.
I cannot say enough about how the Valley Friendship Club of Stillwater, MN has made such a difference in our community and in the lives of those children, teens and young adults with disabilites. They are a well run organization with amazing resources. They allow our children to have an enviorment that is supportive and fosters life long friendships. This club is truly an inpiration to all!
Valley Friendship Club is a testimony to the power of volunteers and the impact they can have on people's lives. In addition to the meaningful experiences they're providing to children, teens and young adults with disabilities, they are helping build a community of support for families and caregivers. Please help them widen their reach with a new website!
The Valley Friendship Club is a valuable resource for families in the St. Croix Valley. My daughter has volunteered for VFC and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The most efficient method of communication is via the web and a user-friendly attractive website would make it easier for them to spread their message and engage their constituents. Operating on a shoe string budget with many volunteers, resources to pay to have a website redesigned are simply not an option. Please give this worthy organization a second, third and fourth look as you consider all the worthwhile organizations that could benefit from this challenge. VFC is one of the most deserving!
My niece has been involved in Vally Friendship club since it's inception. Before Valley friendship club she did not have many social skills or opportunities to socialize. She now has events to attend several times a week. She has made new friends and her language skills have advanced considerably. Valley friendship club has done amazing things with a limited budget. They deserve to have a web site that will truly represent what they have to offer. Please give Valley Friendship Club the opportunity to grow and reach out to others who will benefit from their services.
Valley Friendship Club is the gold standard for social activities for the special kids in our community. A new, easy to use web site will enrich the VFC experience, and may inspire other communities to form similar Friendship Clubs.
Valley Friendship Club has been a wonderful addition to the community. It amazes me how much time and effort the volunteers have put into this valuable resource for people with disabilities and their families. They do such a great job of providing a broad range of activities and events. Their is really something for everyone from arts to sports; from self advocate events to parent events; from age specific events to all age events. For all the time that is put into creating these wonderful opportunities, it certainly would be wonderful for the website to be more useful for them as well as for us when we register for events and follow the calendar.
Valley Friendship Club offers more than we realize. Friendships that may otherwise be hard to obtain for some children is just what we see on the surface. Our community has an amazing organization in Valley Friendship Club that offers resources in every area of raising children with developmental delays. This program is just what the doctor, teacher, or anyone involved with these kids would 'order' if they knew what an incredible service it offers!
To be able to access organizations such as Valley Friendship Club is an extraordinary privilege. Our niece with special needs has had that very opportunity. The friends she has made and the relationships that have been fostered are and will be invaluable to her and her family for a lifetime. Finding a safe and supportive environment that offers hands on learning and social activities is a great plus. We very much appreciate your considering VFC as a recipient for the Overnight Website Challenge!
The Valley Friendship Club gives a much needed outlet to young adults with and without disabilities who are faced with very few social and recreational opportunities outside of attending events as guests or siblings. VFC creates lasting and meaningful friendships through its programming by offering social events that bring people of all abilities together for the common purpose of having fun! As a Special Educator working with people with Developmental and Cognitive disabilities, I see first-hand how having social outlets can change lives!!
I love getting together with my friends and swimming or hiking or whatever valley friendship has planned! It is soooooo fun!
VFC is a wonderful social experience for those with developmental disabilities, their families and their friends. The well-trained volunteers help facilitate social interactions while providing a safe, encouraging environment. They work hard to accommodate everyone whether it is a sensory issue, diet allergy, or another requesst. We drive from over 30 min. away to participate because there is nothing my son would rather do than hang out â€œwith his friends.â€ My son has participated in a variety of events including game nights, parties, drama, geocaching and movie night. Valley Friendship Club is very deserving of a new website.
Valley Friendship Club is a wonderful organization that fills a much-needed void in the community. The motto is, "Making friends, having fun." My girls love the activities. They get to swim, do crafts, watch movies, go to dances, among other things. We are very grateful for these opportunities!
Valley Friendship Club offers a service that is not found anywhere else in the area. They offer high quality programming for these children and young adults. They have even found professionals to volunteer. My daughter is still talking about the drama class. It did more for her self-esteem than years and years of social skills classes. The St Croix Valley is so fortunate to have the Valley Friendship Club and really deserves your support.
Working as an educator for the last 14 years I have learned that inclusion for all children regardless of ability/skill level is such an important component of their growth and development. Valley Friendship Club provides a much needed community connection for ALL participants and their families. Whether it's an organized activity or just hanging out together, sharing and being together is what makes Valley Friendship Club unique and important to our community.
The volunteers that put countless hours into organizing events and managing the day to day operations should be commended and recognized for their efforts. They are providing opportunities for children
to feel included, make friends and feel valued. Let's support them in ways that will allow them to continue to make a difference for kids.
This group is amazing. They do everything to promote their children's
education with many wonderful and varied experiences. It is difficult
for parents without special needs children to comprehend the love, energy,
and time that it takes to meet these children's needs. The Valley
Friendship Club is the best example I have seen of how to meet these
children's needs. They deserve everyone's support. I am a retired
elementary teacher who has worked with many groups of special needs
children and this group just makes me smile.
I like Valley Friendship Club cuz now I get to hang out with Friends! Valley Friendship Club is cool & so fun.
I am a PCA for a few girls with disabilities that attend VFC events regularly. I never see them beeing so social and giggly anywhere else! They're able to meet new friends and be themselves. Just this past weekend they had a swimming night and all the kids in attendance were socializing and had smiles on their faces. I even had a good time myself. :) Before VFC, it was difficult to get even a small group of kids together to just hang out and have fun. Most members were limited to just the kids they knew from school. Now they have all these fun events to choose from and are able to expand their social networks. VFC also provides volunteer opportunities for college students, parents with a network of support, and fun experiences for all! VFC is awesome!!
SO grateful to have Valley Friendship Club in town! My son is 16 and he's had a fun time at the events he's attended. We like that the gatherings are specified for "Graders" or "Teens!" As a parent, Susan Kane knows which events are of interest - and she leaves no detail uncovered. With the tremendous good this club does for local youth, they deserve a new website!
THis amazing "mom started" group fills a niche for so many wonderful young people who want to enjoy what every other child enjoys: friendship, activities, dressing up and dancing, and sharing laughs with peers. This group is what so many parents need for their kids and themselves: other family systems that understand some unique challenges, supporting eachother in "life's not the way I pictured it"...while working together to provide their kids a more normal social experience.
Way to go guys....
Sky and Mom
The Valley Friendship Club is such an amazing organization. Having volunteered in the past I have been able to see first hand the excitement and smiles of all members at many of their events. The creators of Valley Friendship Club strive to come up with new ideas, experiences and outings for all to enjoy. Valley Friendship Club, you have done wonderful things for our community and I know you will continue to do so for many years to come.
Wahoo! Adventures has provided outdoor, active events for the Valley Friendship Club. The kids and their parents are always fun, respectful, and appreciative. We always look forward to the days that they join us.
As a board member for Community Thread in Stillwater as well, these kids have also made 100's of homemade cards for our own fundraising events.
This is a TRUE - Pay it Forward Organization!
Valley Friendship Club is a breath of fresh air. Having only volunteered for a short amount of time, I can see how amazing and important this club is not only for the children but the parents as well. Seeing all members interact is extraordinary. This non-profit gives a safe and friendly environment for children and young adults with or without disabilities the opportunities to grow socially and make lasting friendships. To have VFC be able to participate in the overnight website challenge would just be a blessing.
I have been privileged to work with Valley Friendship Club since it was an idea in the founders minds. This group meets such a unique need in the community and does it all from a passion for seeing all children succeed. Valley Friendship Club is well organized, well run, and has worked hard at every step of their development to be a transparent, trustworthy, and honest organization. The events and activities they coordinate so that all kids can have the sense of excitement and anticipation that comes with so many milemarkers in a child's life are perfect to aid in their development. All efforts of the Valley Friendship Club are designed to give every participant the very most and best possibilities for establishing healthy and beneficial social relationships. I love what they do, am happy to have had a hand in helping them launch their dream and I can think of no greater reward than a website makeover. This extraordinary organization is doing extraordinary things on their own. I am giddy with possiblities at what they could do with a new and improved website!
Something really amazing happened in the Summer of 2010. One day in June, we dropped our 13 year old son off to watch a movie with some friends, then, and this was the real amazing part, we left. A few weeks later he again was dropped off to hang out at this new club. The kids were planning to play pool, wii, listen to music, nothing uncommon for teens, but than again we left!
See, our son has Cerebral Palsy. He has had a lot of â€œplay datesâ€ in the past. But that summer, at 13, not so shocking, he was very interested in our not being there. We were thrilled that he wanted this independence. Doing things on his own has always taken him longer than most kids. To see this desire, just at the right time was wonderful. However, how would we do it?
Then, like a gift, came Valley Friendship Club. It was new and promised opportunities for our son that we could find no where else. A Club with activities that any child, teen, young adult with or without disabilities, desires. They get together and have fun! But for our son, it also offered a chance to grow in independence. He enjoys contributing to the service projects, he not given a pass because it is harder for him, but encouraged to take his time even if it may take more time, with help always there if he needs. Now, he is being asked to take a leadership role to help plan the events for the upcoming months! He is so proud of this opportunity and as his parents we are thrilled!
Valley Friendship Club is a fresh, much needed organization. Our community needs this safe, enthusiastic organization to help those with and without disabilities to see the possibilities we all have to be an independent contributors to a bigger picture.
Please strongly consider Valley Friendship Club for the Website Challenge. A new website will aide their mission and help them grow!
Valley Friendship Club has proven to be an outstanding program for my son. They provide a safe, social setting for children and young adults with disabilities who are in need of a social outlet. The variety of events at VFC, provide my son with an opportunity to explore, learn, and be creative with kids that share his interests. The staff is very welcoming and is sensitive to the varying needs of its members. My son has gained friends and, in turn, has gained much needed confidence. It has provided him with a sense of belonging which is so important to any childâ€™s development. I am very thankful to have this program available to us. Thank you VFC!
Valley Friendship Club is an awesome organization! They have well planned events and activities! Thank you to all the parents and volunteers and staff that make it work! I can't wait until my son is older and in school so he can enjoy the benefits of all their hard work! Thank you for making everyone feel included!
Valley Friendship Club is an awesome place where children with disabilities can socialize with each other and their typical siblings side by side. It is an inclusive environment and a much needed one. Kids with special needs are no different than typical kids. They want to have FRIENDS! VFC sets up an environment where that can happen. They provide varied and well organized activities where it does happen. VFC deserve the support so that they can carry on and expand their mission to reach more people in the community. There is nothing else like it in the east metro.
While many students were off studying, I was interning at Valley Friendship Club. With each event, I helped Autistic children build their own community and make lasting friendships. VFC could really use a "website makeover" to continue the growth of their community and allow for the community to grow!
Our 13 year old son has so enjoyed all the activities and events at Valley Friendship Club - he is always excited about going to the different activities and spending time with his friends. As a parent of a child with a disability I so appreciate the opportunities and activities that Valley Friendship Club has brought to my son. It has been a great asset to the community and has filled a void for many people. Thanks again!
Valley Friendship Club is the small nonprofit in this challenged, and the â€œugly ducklingâ€, I mean really really â€œugly ducklingâ€ in the Nerdery Website challenge! The sky is the limit on what VFC could do if we have a new professional website! If the point of this web challenge is truly to give help to a worthy non-profit that is DESPERATE, we are the ones! Check out the web page that a few sleep deprived Moms, destitute of any tech clue whatsoever, were able to come up with (Itâ€™s not..that..bad consideringâ€¦) Please look no further for the nonprofit in greatest need of tech savvy help, Valley Friendship Club is the one! Please and Quickly, the orange is burning my eyes! :) :) :)
Anything that can help someone feel like they "fit in", and give them something to do to add more meaning to their lives is very worthwhile. Valley Friendship Club is a wonderful non profit that is working for this purpose. They are small and funds are needed to help more people learn about all that they do.
Valley Friendship Club is a wonderful community resource for young people with developmental disabilities, their families and their friends. The volunteers are wonderful and help the participants get involved in the community. The VFC needs help with their website to take things to the next level.
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