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New Program for Special Needs Adults Receives $5,000 Grant

Connection of Friends, an organization that provides programming for teens and adults with special needs received a $5,000 grant to reduce the obesity trend in DuPage County.

Connection of Friends, a 501c3 organization that provides a place for social gathering and an opportunity for young adults with special needs to participate within their community, received a mini-grant of $5,000 from FORWARD (Fighting Obesity to Reach healthy Weight Among Residents of DuPage) to reduce the obesity trend in DuPage County, the DuPage County Health Department announced Monday.

The funds will be used to develop and expand healthy living programming on a daily basis for special needs teens and adults. The estimated impact is 65 teens and adults, according to a release from the health department.

Connection of Friends opened in September at Hope Presbyterian Church 1771 S. Wiesbrook Rd. in Wheaton, offering 12-week sessions with special programming that heavily emphasizes routine.

FORWARD awarded 19 mini-grants totaling $65,000 to groups that have identified strategies to create healthier environments within their communities to bring about a reversal of childhood obesity in DuPage County. 

Through a broad-based network of more than 600 committed partners, FORWARD’s goal is to implement changes in all 32 DuPage municipalities by identifying resources, harnessing expertise, promoting education and advancing opportunities for policy, system, and environmental change. FORWARD is a public-private partnership with the DCHD as FORWARD’s fiduciary agent.

The Connection of Friends program is for adults 22 and older and young adults ages 16 and older who are currently enrolled in high school or in a transitional program. Participants engage in social, life skill, volunteer and recreational activities on a daily basis, including preparation for a daily meal, volunteering in the community, art and music therapy, gardening, fitness and weekly Saturday night socials.

For additional information on FORWARD, visit www.forwarddupage.org.

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