At Connecting Circles, we believe that by unlocking the individual’s potential with regard to Social, Organizational and Public Transportational skills, factors of quality of life will increase. These factors include, but are not limited to: Satisfaction of Life, Independence, and Happiness and Healthy Wellbeing.
With the experience of Mentors who have worked with kids with developmental disabilities, a full program based on social development and skill acquisition for community functioning has been developed and is the core of what Connecting Circles offers.
Luke (CEO and Founder) began his journey in 2013 as a Mentor for two 14-year-old boys diagnosed with Austism. After a few months of providing support in after-school curriculum courses, he immediately shifted his focus to life and social skills. He saw an opportunity in improving point-of-sale decision making, familiarity with public transportation, social integration, and goals realization for the boys.
Luke believes that everyone should be a contributor to society and have a purpose. His lack of experience and education in Social Work lead him to an outside-the-box approach on mentoring individuals with developmental disabilities. He helped the two boys build their own Vision Boards, purchase goods, find employment, learn Public Transportation, and realize that their goals are achievable.
Luke started attending conferences and workshops, and enrolling in Geneva courses to expand his knowledge in the Austism field. He slowly realized that there were a lot more young adults on the spectrum who seek independence and the need to be part of a social group. As a result, in November of 2016, Luke founded Connecting Circles – a not-for-profit that integrates Mentors and Mentees, building friendships and adding purpose to the lives of others.
Luke has worked with kids his whole life, whether as a camp counselor at a hockey academy, or as a tutor with Montessori. Luke has the patience, vision and drive to help young adults with developmental disabilities reach independence and self-worth.
Since its inception, Luke has expanded the Mentor/Mentee roster and seeks to further expand the services of Connecting Circles.
The Connecting Circles Community is a controlled, safe, monitored online community of circles (groups) of friends who share similar interests and encourage positive, meaningful communication. Members of the community vote on activities for the group to participate in out in the public, as well as post pictures, ideas, interests and stories for the group to comment on and share. Our community prides itself on integration – for every individual with a developmental disability (Mentee), there is a Mentor. As the Connecting Circles Community grows, members will naturally evolve into other circles with individuals that share the same interest and level of learning.
If you are interested in having your child enter our program, would like to join our team, or would like to get more information on what Connecting Circles does, please contact us at:
Another way of becoming involved with Connecting Circles is by helping fund our program through donations – whether personal or corporate. If interested, please contact us at the email address above.
“Connecting Circles has provided Ryan with the chance to meet others with similar challenges while providing the opportunity to explore events and venues throughout Toronto with his new friends. The support system in place has provided Ryan with exposure to using public transit to travel in and around Toronto and has included life skills training for independent living, such as budgeting, tracking his spending at events, safety awareness when out in public and using technology to find his way around. The structured, weekly hangout sessions with his mentor have helped improve his computer skills and encouraged him to use available technology to organize his time.
Connecting Circles also provides online monitoring to ensure that he is using technology safely. We are very happy that we became involved with Luke at the early stages of the development of the Connecting Circles program. Luke and his growing number of mentors will be able to provide an increasing level of service for children and young adults to encourage them to become as independent and productive as they can be.”
~ John Broomer
“Giulio has been enrolled in the Connecting Circles program for about 6 months. His mentor has been an exceptional help and friend to Giulio in many respects through their many activities. Giulio has become more familiar with budgeting skills, transit safety as well as geographical awareness. He works on a weekly basis with his mentor to enhance his computer skills. For example, he has learned both computer and social skills via apps like Google Hangout.
It is important to note, too, that Luke and the Connecting Circles program provide a progress report including specific improvement recommendations every three months.
These reports are helpful to both Giulio and his family. Based on our experience with the program, we would most definitely recommend it to others.
Connecting Circles has become a big part of Giulio’s life and he looks forward to all of their interactions, particularly their routine outings.”
~ Fannie DeCaria