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 unique 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 events 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 to navigate future experiences more effectively.
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 partner games, group challenges, board games, and more. Role plays and 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 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 January 2019, 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 is a licensed clinical psychologist (PSY 29726) and has worked in a variety of settings with children, adolescents, adults, and families including providing individual therapy, family therapy, and group therapy. She is also the Executive Director of Outpost Summer Camps, especially focusing on training staff in child development and supporting campers who need extra assistance adjusting to and succeeding at camp. Dr. Jones completed her doctoral dissertation on the relationship between marital conflict and peer conflict among young children, including how conflict impacts children's emotional security. She has directed FRIENDS since 2010 and previously co-facilitated the BLAST Social Skills program in Pasadena, CA, a similar program run by Dr. Peter Gero serving children who need assistance experiencing success in social settings.
Dr. Kelly has worked as a licensed clinical psychologist, therapist, and researcher respectively at several hospitals throughout the county including Palomar Behavioral Health, the VA Hospital, and Rady Children's Hospital. In addition to her work with children and families, she has worked with the severely mentally ill population, veterans, victims of trauma, and issues related to spirituality. Dr. Kelly's clinical passion is group therapy due to it being most easily translated to real life because of its dynamic and spontaneous nature, helping participants not only remember information they learned but recall the way it felt to experience it in the moment.
Dr. Kelly received her Bachelor's Degree from the University of San Diego, studied at Syracuse University in Madrid, Spain, and earned her Doctorate from Fuller Graduate School of Psychology in Pasadena, CA.
Please note: As of January 2019, the FRIENDS Program is on hold indefinitely. To check on the status of the program or join a waitlist for future sessions, you are welcome to contact Dr. Kelly Jones, Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For future sessions, your child must be accepted into the FRIENDS program by the FRIENDS Director following a free phone consultation. 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.
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