What is TIES?
Together Including Every Student (TIES), developed in 1997 by two parents of children who have disabilities, promotes the participation of students and young adults who have developmental disabilities in inclusive, organized extracurricular and community activities through the support of trained student volunteers.
Participants who have developmental disabilities join activities where they can develop recreational interests, learn about their community, and have fun with peers.
Peer volunteers learn how to support participants according to their individual needs, gain more understanding of disabilities and diversity, and make a positive difference in a peer’s life.
Activity leaders create an experience where all individuals and talents are included, and promote community awareness and inclusion.
Contact Kathy Costello, TIES Program Director, today at firstname.lastname@example.org or (585) 546-1700.
Is TIES in my child’s school district?
All the districts currently offering TIES are listed in the chart “TIES Coordinators and School Districts” below. If your child’s district isn’t listed, contact Kathy Costello to see what we can do together with you to connect with your district team.
How does TIES work?
TIES Coordinators work closely with the school districts to identify eligible participants, recruit and train peer volunteers, communicate with activity leaders, and make necessary arrangements for each activity.
Activities can be –
- A single event, such as a school dance or after-school football game.
- An ongoing class, such as cooking, dance, martial arts, music, or gymnastics.
- Ongoing participation in a community organization, such as Scouts.
- A Drumming Circle.
Participants are children and young adults between the ages of 8 and 21 who have developmental disabilities. Individuals receive an application from the TIES Coordinator that asks about interests and what support is needed to be successful. Support is individualized and can be in physical, social/behavioral, or language areas. Participants list the activities they would like to join or request information about desired activities. The Coordinator discusses the chosen activities and needed support with the participant and parents. An individualized plan is developed that guides the peer volunteer’s support. The Coordinator also communicates with the activity leader to introduce the TIES program and assess what individual accommodations may be needed.
What does an activity look like?
It can be any organized recreational or extracurricular school activity in which students typically take part. TIES arranges a trained student partner for each participant to facilitate a successful experience for all members of the group.
How long is each activity?
An activity may be one event, such as attending a school dance or after school football game, or an ongoing class (dance, martial arts, music, gymnastics) or continuing participation in a community organization such as Scouts. If an activity is ongoing, two or more peer volunteers may share the commitment.
Peer volunteers are students within the school district in grades 8 to 12 who want to support the participant to experience the learning and fun of the activity. After completing an application form and training, volunteers are paired with participants based on mutual interests, personal attributes, and availability. The Coordinator develops and explains the participant’s support plan and provides ongoing assistance.
How do you apply to be a peer volunteer?
Please complete the Application for Peer Volunteers and follow the instructions on the application. Individuals whose applications are approved must attend a TIES training workshop prior to being matched with a participant.
What is the role of the TIES Coordinator?
The TIES Coordinator is selected by the school district and TIES Program Director and is ideally the parent of a child who has a disability. The Coordinator is responsible for –
- Marketing TIES in the school and community.
- Recruiting participants and peer volunteers.
- Training peer volunteers and activity leaders through the training workshop.
- Developing a support plan for each participant and sharing it with the peer volunteer.
- Evaluating the experiences of the participants, peer volunteers and activity leaders.
TIES is a program of Starbridge, and is funded by the Finger Lakes Developmental Disabilities Regional Office and the Western NY Developmental Disabilities Regional Office.