a community of purpose

New Friends

New Friends is a Christian-based friendship network connecting young adults in high school and college with families of children with special needs. This program is part of our Jesus Cares Ministries (JCM) which is a national outreach ministry to people with developmental disabilities, their families and communities. 


Its purpose is to build relationships by focusing on our abilities, not our disabilities, while creating a fun-filled atmosphere where the entire family feels safe, relaxed and happy!


New Friends PaulManitowoc Lutheran High School started a New Friends program and the program has been blessed with 18 families and nearly 50 teens who regularly attend the events. All participants have been positively affected by the experience.

The families have found a safe, welcoming environment where they can be themselves. The children don’t have to worry about being singled out or called a name. The parents can relax and socialize. All who come find fun, comfort and God’s love shared abundantly!

Brandon Glaeser, a volunteer teen, said about New Friends, I have made a whole lot of new friends. And it can be emotional. I can reach out to people and make a difference. I didn’t know I could before”. It’s results like this that push us forward. Children helping each other. Teens learning about differences, acceptance and most importantly, sharing the Word of God.

Rebecca Lindeman, another volunteer teen, had the opportunity to share the Gospel with someone who was unsure about God. The other teen asked Rebecca about her faith and her God, opening the door for Rebecca to testify. It’s because of experiences like this that we host New Friends events and want to expand the program. We can reach out to those in need – offering both emotional and spiritual support.

If you are interested in starting a New Friends program, please contact Jackie Mayer at jnmayer@tlha.org.