Friends University receives Helping Hand for Friendship Fields Program

Friends University is giving people with cognitive disabilities a chance to enjoy the college experience.
Published: Jun. 27, 2022 at 10:51 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) -Friends University is giving people with cognitive disabilities a chance to enjoy the college experience. Graduate, Alexis Armstrong, said it’s a dream come true.

“I was able to accomplish something that, before this program, none of us were able to accomplish.” She said.

Alexis and two other graduates, couldn’t wait to try on their cap and gown and practice their stroll across the stage.

“I like it. It’s a really good program,” said Kaitlyn Eads.

“My favorite classes were Foods 1 and 2, because I love to cook,” said Lauren Herron.

The director of Friendship Fields, Valerie Wall said finishing the program is a big accomplishment for the students.

“They want to go to college and do the things that everybody else gets to do,” she said.

Alexis, Lauren and Kaitlyn are the first graduates from Friendship Fields Academy, a four year program that includes college classes modified for students with cognitive disabilities.

Now director, Valerie Wall is working to expand Friendship Fields, offering programing tailored to students on the autism spectrum.

“It’s absolutely about inclusion, they have a right to do all the things that everybody else does,” she said.

Part of making the program inclusive is keeping tuition as low as possible, but wall said some students still can’t afford to come.

Now they have a $1,200 Helping Hand from KWCH and Devaughn James Injury Lawyers.

“Oh my gosh, thank you! Yeah, thank you so much! That’s awesome. Thank you, said Wall.

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