FRIENDS of Broomfield goes above and beyond what’s expected of most programs that support adults with developmental disabilities. Because of the rotating, person-centered programs that FRIENDS offers, participants are constantly sharpening life skills and expanding their abilities. At FRIENDS, everyone is accepted, respected and loved.

FRIENDS is an acronym: Fun, Recreation, Inclusive, Experiences, Networking and Discovery the Spirit.

FRIENDS offers engaging classes to 45 participants every week; everything from adaptive yoga to cooking, gardening and computer instruction. There are also social activities at night.. yes, even a Girl’ Night Out and Guys’ Night Out.

FRIENDS participants are involved in weekly volunteer opportunities some are also relied upon at paying jobs, secured through the FRIENDS supported employment program. For those adults who can live independently, FRIENDS connects its participants with host home providers in the Broomfield area.

As soon as I met the Founder/Executive Director of FRIENDS, Gina Coufal, it was clear what makes FRIENDS extraordinary. Gina’s ‘why’ for starting FRIENDS is personal.  When her son Joshua aged out of programs provided within the public school system, she couldn’t find a perfect ‘what’s next’ for him. So, she started FRIENDS of Broomfield in 1998.

“I wasn’t prepared to start a non-profit or to become an executive director of an agency,” Gina Coufal said.  “I realized there was a need and when there’s a need, you just step up and figure out how to meet it.”

The connections FRIENDS has developed and nurtured over the last 20 years (almost) run deep. There are also new partnerships emerging with  businesses in the Broomfield area that wish to be a part of such a profound organization.

I produced two stories for FRIENDS of Broomfield, one of them is described as a ‘trailer.’ It was shown at a GirlsFRIENDS luncheon in April 2017 as a way to promote the premiere of the more in-depth story that debuted at a successful FRIENDSraiser event in July 2017.

When I think of FRIENDS of Broomfield, I can’t help but be happy. It was such a pleasure to capture and share this organization’s story.

I’m wow’d how Gina Coufal’s love for her son ignited a fire in her to start this non-profit organization. Her staff is proud how baby steps in lessons lead to big gains in the lives of the participants.

I’m touched by the happiness and joy of the participants.

I am impressed by the organizations that want to partner with FRIENDS, realizing they have a lot to learn and gain by building relationships with adults with developmental disabilities.

“The people we serve want the same things everybody else wants,” Gina said.  “They want to be included and loved.  They want to learn.”