About Us

Paint Monkey

Paint Monkey

team friends® - mission

Throughout the United States, students with intellectual disabilities ages 14 – 21 are in a very social and learning environment and often with the assistance of their typical peer friends.  But upon graduation, those same social and learning opportunities are greatly reduced, and for some almost nonexistent.  Hard to imagine but true, how to help fill this need, enter Team Friends®.

Who benefits from Team Friends®?…ambulatory adults with intellectual disabilities who have graduated high school, their parents, family and their mentoring typical friends.  Through a monthly activity with a learning and / or philanthropic community service component, these life skills and public service projects create a bond for those with ID.  For parents, family and friends, in addition to enjoying a memorable event, time is spent discussing with one other issues facing the family unit.  Informational sessions with speakers and discussion forums are also planned for the family throughout the year.

It is the aim and mission of Team Friends® to create these opportunities first in the United States, then globally.

team friends® - Goals

Those with ID fourteen to twenty-one have benefited by the Inclusion laws passed in the 1990's.  However, the transition beyond High School has been written about and still today more needs done to close the huge gap between the life experienced in high school and post-graduation.

Founder Susan Cataldi is not alone in seeing this need and the necessity for the nationwide expansion of social inclusion of young adults graduatin high school with intellectual disabilities. Sarah A. Hall, University of Nebraska – Lincoln wrote her entire thesis paper around this subject. Hall stated, “When young adults with ID experienced greater social inclusion, they also experienced greater satisfaction and quality of life. Young adults with ID have a desire to be more involved in activities, have more friends, and feel like they belong. It is important for people to hear their voices, understand their experiences, and advocate for change to increase the social inclusion of young adults with ID."

Whether a young adult, mid-aged adult or older, we all were created with the need of feeling love, a sense of belonging, and the belief that our life is making a difference.  

McCabe Farm

McCabe Farm

National Aviary

National Aviary

Team Friends® Changing lives of those with ID

Metamorphosis is defined as an extraordinary change in appearance, character, or circumstances. 

  • Outwardly – Metamorphosis is happening by, Caring for the world around them, through their philanthropic events and the impressions they are making.  Actually, they are living proof of the, “Butterfly Effect”, which is the very reason why in the Team Friends® logo, they are represented by the Butterfly. 
  • Inwardly- Team Friends® members are experiencing a metamorphosis in their lives, achieved through their motto, “Caring and Sharing Life Together” by Sharing their lives together at and between monthly events.
Heinz History Center

Heinz History Center

Team Friends® changing lives of parents and family members of those with ID

Who best knows the mile another has walked... someone who has walked the same mile.  At Team Friends® events, parents, family and friends have the opportunity to both enjoy time with their loved one, and spend time discussing life's issues and learning with one another.

Who other better to explain how this happens, than the direct thoughts of a parent, Marta Fox.

“Michael and I look forward to the Team Friends events every month.  Michael so looks forward to the events and so do I, although I know Michael would be in very capable company without his mom attending these events with him, I prefer to be there as well.  I have gotten to know the kids and the parents and find there is a very special bond among us all.  We are grateful for people that really care about making this world just a bit better for our special kids and the people that love them.”

Team Friends® Start a chapter, to change more lives

Is there someone with ID in your immediate family?  Do you know a family with a loved one with an ID?  And, if you answered no to both of these, there are conservatively, over 10 million persons who you don’t know and could benefit from a Team Friends® chapter in their area.  There are many very worthwhile causes to volunteer your time or donate your money, Team Friends® is unique that it is:

  • Directly creates a bond an raises self-esteem for those with an ID.
  • Directly blesses family and friends by actively taking part in an adapted event with their loved one, while also forming friendships with others.
  • Indirectly, touching the heart and lives of others who partner with the Chapter in creating opportunities.

You will change lives and receive the blessing, maybe even more, so get involved with Team Friends® through giving your time or resources.  It truly is easy to “Luv” Team Friends® and our number is easy to remember…call, 877-LUV-TEAM (877-588-8326).


Corporations, sponsor a Team Friends® event or match donations

Corporate Sponsored Events -  Before leaving our site, view the many photos of the wide variety of Team Friends® events that have been held.  Our creative team is so creative, give us the chance! by contacting us with your monetary donation to sponsor an event, or your event idea, and we will take it from there and make it happen!

Corporate Donation Matching – Before leaving our site, view the written testimonies that will bring to life the results Team Friends® is having in people’s lives.  The adult ID population is under served, so much more needs done for these loving individuals.  Federal and States budgets to organizations that serve this population are not able to keep up with needs.  The decision to allow a matching program within your organization, promise, will never be second guessed.

Kings Family Restaurant, Thanksgiving

Kings Family Restaurant, Thanksgiving

Kings Restaurant, Thanksgiving

Kings Restaurant, Thanksgiving

Pittsburgh Pirates Game

Pittsburgh Pirates Game


In November of 2014, a group of friends were gathered as they had done on a weekly basis for the past four years, but on this night, a question was posed…” Can we do something as a group to create an activity for the students you have taught through the years”.  That question inspired a letter with a vision, and was mailed to a group of former students, their parents and peer helpers of Susan Cataldi.  Was there interest in this vision?  The response to the letter was overwhelming, and the first meeting of what we now know as Team Friends® met for the first time on January 20, 2015.  This group of parents, typical peers, and those with intellectual disabilities, had synergy as they knew one another from attending Fox Chapel Area High School in Pittsburgh, PA where Susan Cataldi taught for twenty years as the Life Skills Teacher.  What no one knew at the time is how the excitement for the vision would spread, and others began to join this original group.  Today, Team Friends® is made up of parents, family members, friends, typical peers and those with intellectual disabilities from all over the city of Pittsburgh, and that same synergy that exised with the original group, carries on today in a much larger group.  Can history repeat itself?  Absolutely it can!!!  The vision of Team Friends® today encompasses parents, family members, peers, friends and those with ID from a variety of sources besides school districts, such as Human Service Agencies, resource coordination centers and behavioral health facilities.  

The future is just beginning for Team Friends®, come be a part of it, your life will never be the same.


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