Exceptional Peers

What are "Exceptional Peers"

"Words can't describe how much I love my Zoe! She has touched my heart in a way no one else ever could"
Sarah, Exceptional Peer

"We've been extremely blessed with our Exceptional Peers in the past. His last one... is FAMILY to us... Your program has been absolutely wonderful for Cody."
Cody's Mom

Building relationships between our children with special needs and their "typical" peers is one of our goals as "Exceptional Moms". By integrating our children more often into the community at large, we help build a greater sense of belonging for our children. But we also believe this integration plays a tremendously positive role in impacting our greater community in terms of awareness, empathy, understanding, patience and acceptance.  
Parents of children with special needs often watch as other children receive invitations to play dates and birthday parties, while their own child receives none. They watch children on playgrounds engaged in playful behavior with one another, while their own child wanders alone. They see the great divide that exists in our own Lake Norman community.
All children struggle to find their place. All children struggle to fit in.  So we believe that by fostering these special relationships, all will benefit, and that parents of both "typical" and "atypical" children will witness an improvement in confidence and self-esteem in their children.
Our children have a tremendous amount to offer and as parents we are in awe of what our children teach us each and every day. They carry within them the ability to impact the lives of all who take the time to know them.
So, one of our goals is to enlist a group of "typical peers" who are willing to join us in our efforts of better integration.  

"Exceptional Peers"... the Program

What is "Exceptional Peers"?
Exceptional Peers is a program that helps foster friendships between children with special needs in the Lake Norman area and exceptional "typical" peers. These "exceptional" peers can be any age... same age as the participating child... a little older... or even a high school student can be paired with a younger child. Angels in Need's sole role is to match the children with an "Exceptional Peer" and play dates then take place in the home or in the community, with parental supervision.


How does it work?
Volunteers sign up for the program.  We let our members know as volunteers become available. If a family is interested and thinks the volunteer is a good match for their child we contact the volunteer to let them know a little about the child. Once this potential match is made a meeting is held with the volunteer, the volunteer's parent, the parent of the exceptional child and an AiN representative; procedures and policies are reviewed; a potential schedule is determined; waivers are signed and then... let the playing begin!

Can I receive volunteer hours?
We are sorry but we are no longer able to award volunteer hours for participation in this program. Because of the nature of the Exceptional Peers program and the importance the child places on their new friendship we are seeking young people whose hearts are in it purely for the purpose of enriching the life of the child with whom they are matched. We do have other ways to share your time and receive volunteer hours. If you are interested in these opportunities please contact us at info@angelsinneed.org.

What is the time commitment?

The official Exceptional Peers program is three months in duration. However the goal of the program is to foster friendships that will last well beyond this three month periodWe ask that all parties involved set aside at least 4 hours per month in which to participate during the first three months. We need dedicated, passionate volunteers. Once a match is made it is up to the participants to make it a success so a commitment to the program by all parties involved is imperative. It can be very disappointing to a child to learn they have a new friend only to have the volunteer not follow through. Likewise, we do not want to leave a volunteer hanging. So please consider all of this before moving forward with any match.

How can I help?
If you want to participate OR if you know of a "typical peer" (any age) who would be a good fit for this program and who might be willing to volunteer their time to be a freind, please let them know about this program.

Join our "Exceptional Peers"

If you are interested in being considered for the Exceptional Peers program, please take a moment to read the program requirements above carefully. If you are still interested we'd love to hear from you! Please CLICK HERE and sign up to be considered.
Rest assured it will impact the lives of all involved!