The FRIENDS Program is an after-school social skills group for school-age boys and girls (2nd through 6th graders) who are struggling to be successful at school, on the playground, with peers, or at home. Children in our program are those who try very hard to make friends or keep friends but often find themselves unsuccessful in doing so for a variety of reasons. Often, due to impulsivity, attention deficit, or simply not identifying and responding to the social cues of their peers, these children fail at something they desperately want, much to the disappointment and discouragement of themselves and their parents, coaches, or teachers.
FRIENDS helps children succeed - through practice and feedback in naturally occurring social situations. It's a terrific program that has helped many children make and keep lasting friendships, some for the very first time.
FRIENDS is an experiential social skills program. We use games and discussions to facilitate social skills in the moment as situations occur and feelings arise. Our counselors lead structured and unstructured activities which provide the children with opportunities to give and receive peer feedback in a supportive and fun manner. They learn to handle frustration and articulate their feelings more clearly, helping them in turn to experience more success in difficult situations.
FRIENDS is FUN! We play lots of camp games: scavenger hunts, dodge ball, relay races, & many other outdoor activities. We enjoy indoor games as well including board games, partner games, group challenges and more. Role plays sharing circles are also a part of the afternoon. Children are placed with partners, small groups and large groups throughout the day, which provides them with many varied opportunities to learn effective skills in different types of social situations.
FRIENDS is held at Park Village Elementary School in Rancho Penasquitos on Monday and Thursday afternoons from 4:00 to 5:30PM. The FRIENDS session is approximately 8 weeks long. Park Village Elementary School is located at 7930 Park Village Rd 92129, just off of Black Mountain Rd and the 56 freeway.
Each session of FRIENDS typically has 10-12 children and 4 staff (including the program director), creating a child to counselor ratio of 3:1. Several of the three additional social skills counselors have served at Outpost Summer Camps and in other local child development settings as directors and counselors.
As of Fall 2017, the FRIENDS Program is on hold indefinitely. If you are interested in learning more about the program and joining a potential waitlist, please contact Dr. Kelly Jones.
Dr. Kelly Jones holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and is currently accruing postdoctoral hours toward her licensure under the supervision of Dr. Adria O'Donnell. Dr. Jones has worked in a variety of settings with children, adolescents, adults, and families including providing individual therapy, family therapy, and couples therapy. She also provides behavioral consultation services at Outpost Summer Camps. Dr. Jones completed her doctoral dissertation on peer conflict among young children. She has directed FRIENDS for six years, and previously co-facilitated the BLAST Social Skills program in Pasadena, CA, a similar program serving children who need assistance experiencing success in social settings.
Dr. Jones completed her predoctoral internship at Palomar Outpatient Behavioral Health and worked as a therapist at the San Diego Vet Center for 2 years. In addition to her work with children, adolescents, and families, she has experience working with the severely mentally ill population, veterans, victims of trauma, and issues related to spirituality.
Dr. Jones received her Bachelor's Degree from the University of San Diego in Psychology, studied at Syracuse University in Madrid, Spain, and earned her Doctorate from Fuller Graduate School of Psychology in Pasadena, CA.
Dr. Adria O'Donnell is a licensed clinical psychologist practicing in San Diego. For the past fifteen years, she worked with children and adolescents, with a specialization in teen and pre-teen girls. Her foci are on anxiety and stress management, conflict resolution skills, learning disabilities, tech-aggression and relational aggression, a more covert form of bullying often used by girls.
Dr. O'Donnell has a full-time private practice in Carmel Valley. She works with Outpost Summer Camps in Poway and worked at both Excelsior Academy, a small private school for learning disabled children 8-18 and at New Bridge Academy in Poway, California. Before she received her doctorate, she cut her teeth working with kids as the Assistant Director for Tom Sawyer Camps Inc., Pasadena.
Dr. O'Donnell earned her Bachelor's Degree at the University of San Diego in Communication and Hispanic Studies, attended the University of Granada, Spain, and earned her Doctorate from the California School of Professional Psychology, San Diego. Visit her professional website here.
Please note: As of Fall 2017 the FRIENDS Program is on hold. For future sessions, your child must be accepted into the FRIENDS program by the FRIENDS Director. We work hard to create an age-appropriate "mix" of kids and if one session is not appropriate for your child, another session might be.
We encourage interested families to email us to schedule a free phone consultation regarding the program and its appropriateness for your child. Contact Dr. Kelly Jones, Director, at email@example.com.
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