To address the needs gap that exists after high school for adults with developmental disabilities, GAAP provides staffing, leadership, and expansion support for the “Me & My Friends” program using local churches and business properties. The primary objectives of this program are:
1) To encourage and nurture the development of healthy, loving, and meaningful peer relationships with and among adults with developmental disabilities, and with their staff, families, friends, families, and with God. This is done through a variety of community-based social, cultural, and recreational activities such as going out to dinner, movies, celebrating birthdays, dancing, bingo and game nights, bowling, miniature golf, attending and/or participating in local events and activities, etc.
2) To help members understand who God is, and encourage them to develop a personal relationship with Him. This is done through a variety of faith-based activities and worship experiences such as listening to and acting out Bible stories, participating in “Joyful Noise” worship services, praising, singing, and signing, sharing praises and concerns, praying, creating faith-related arts and crafts, participating in service projects, enjoying fellowship and break times together, etc.
3) To help members discover their unique gifts and talents and assist them in finding out how and where they can best use them, whether in their own families, in their church, in their work, and in their communities. This is done through testing and talking with members about their self-perceived interests, skills and abilities, activities they enjoy, things they value and are important to them, etc.
4) To help members discover, develop, and promote a greater sense of self-determination, independence, productivity, and inclusion and integration into the community in all facets of their lives (per the DD Act of 2000). This is done through the above objectives as well as a variety of other ways. For example, members are encouraged to offer suggestions for different activities that are of interest to them. This ensures that the activities planned are desirable, and while not all suggestions can be accommodated, members have a sense of ownership and participation in what takes place in the ministry.