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What is TIES?

Together Including Every Student (TIES), developed in 1997 by two parents of children who have disabilities, promotes the participation of students and young adults who have developmental disabilities in inclusive, organized extracurricular and community activities through the support of trained student volunteers.

Participants who have developmental disabilities join activities where they can develop recreational interests, learn about their community, and have fun with peers.

Peer volunteers learn how to support participants according to their individual needs, gain more understanding of disabilities and diversity, and make a positive difference in a peer’s life.

Activity leaders create an experience where all individuals and talents are included, and promote community awareness and inclusion.

Contact Kathy Costello, TIES Program Director, today at kcostello@starbridgeinc.org or (585) 546-1700.


Is TIES in my child's school district?

All the districts currently offering TIES are listed in the chart "TIES Coordinators and School Districts" below. If your child's district isn't listed, contact Kathy Costello to see what we can do together with you to connect with your district team.

TIES Coordinators and School Districts

Kathy Costello – TIES Program Director - (585) 546-1700 - kcostello@starbridgeinc.org

School District TIES Coordinator District mailing address

Cher Kiel


Allegany-Limestone Central School District
3131 Five Mile Line Rd
Allegany, NY 14706

Mike Gasiorowski


Baldwinsville Central School District
29 East Oneida Street
Baldwinsville, NY 13027
Bloomfield   Bloomfield Central School District
45 Maple Avenue, Ste A
Bloomfield, NY 14469

Kathleen DeGoey


Brighton Central School District
2035 Monroe Avenue
Rochester, NY 14618

 Maddison Egloff-Luce


Brockport Central School District
40 Allen Street
Brockport, NY 14420

Erin Freberg


Canisteo-Greenwood Central School District
84 Greenwood Street
Canisteo, NY 14823
Cattaraugus-Little Valley

Sheryl Williams


Cattaraugus-Little Valley Central School District
25 N. Franklin Street
Cattaraugus, NY 14719

Amanda Hilyard


Dansville Central School
282 Main Street
Dansville, NY 14437
Elmira Heights

Kelley Groome


Elmira Heights
2083 College Avenue
Elmira Heights, NY 14903

Kristen Lopez


Fairport Central School District
38 West Church Street
Fairport, NY 14450
Florence One Schools (SC)

Erika Chapman


Florence One Schools
319 S Dargan St
Florence, SC 29501

Karly Williams


Geneseo Central School District
4050 Avon Road
Geneseo, NY 14454
Grand Island

Jaime Beitz


Grand Island
1100 Ransom Rd
Grand Island, NY 14072
Greece   Greece Central School District
750 Maiden Lane
Rochester NY 14615

Nancy Hawes


Hamburg Central School District
5305 Abbott Road
Hamburg, NY 14075


Amber Kossow


Hornell City School District
134 Seneca Street
Hornell, NY 14843


Kelly Adams


Kendall Central School District
1932 Kendall Road
Kendall, NY 14476

Denine Nowicki


Livonia Central School District
P.O. Box E
Livonia, NY 14487

Carrie Fick


Lockport City School District
130 Beattie Ave
Lockport, NY 14094
New Paltz   New Paltz Central School District
196 Main Street
New Paltz, NY 12561

Tracy Larson


Newark Central School District
100 East Miller Street
Newark, NY 14513
Orchard Park

Laura Kasprzak


Orchard Park Central School District
2240 Southwestern Boulevard
West Seneca, NY 14224

Dale Cameron-Kody


Pittsford Central School District
75 Barker Rd
Pittsford, NY 14534
Rush-Henrietta   Rush-Henrietta School District
2034 Lehigh Station Road
Henrietta, NY 14467
Springville-Griffith Institute

Karen Polizzi


Springville-Griffith Institute CSD
267 Newman Street
Springville, NY 14141

Kimberly Burrows


4363 Mapleton Road
Lockport, NY 14094


Erin O'Brien


Victor Central School District
953 High Street
Victor, NY 14564

Watkins Glen

Nancy St. Julien


Watkins Glen
301 12th Street
Watkins Glen, NY 14891

Carolyn Maciag


Webster Central School District
119 South Avenue
Webster, NY 14580
West Seneca   West Seneca Central Schools
675 Potters Road
West Seneca, NY 14224

Sarah Salamone


Wheatland-Chili Central School District
13 Beckwith Avenue
Scottsville, NY 14546

Tracey Peterson


Williamsville Central School District
105 Casey Road
East Amherst, NY 14051

Karly Williams


York Central School District
2578 Genesee Street
Retsof, NY 14539

How does TIES work?

TIES Coordinators work closely with the school districts to identify eligible participants, recruit and train peer volunteers, communicate with activity leaders, and make necessary arrangements for each activity.

Activities can be –

  • A single event, such as a school dance or after-school football game.
  • An ongoing class, such as cooking, dance, martial arts, music, or gymnastics.
  • Ongoing participation in a community organization, such as Scouts.
  • A Drumming Circle.

Participants are children and young adults between the ages of 8 and 21 who have developmental disabilities. Individuals receive an application from the TIES Coordinator that asks about interests and what support is needed to be successful. Support is individualized and can be in physical, social/behavioral, or language areas. Participants list the activities they would like to join or request information about desired activities. The Coordinator discusses the chosen activities and needed support with the participant and parents. An individualized plan is developed that guides the peer volunteer’s support. The Coordinator also communicates with the activity leader to introduce the TIES program and assess what individual accommodations may be needed.

What does an activity look like?

ties track edit

It can be any organized recreational or extracurricular school activity in which students typically take part. TIES arranges a trained student partner for each participant to facilitate a successful experience for all members of the group.

How long is each activity?

An activity may be one event, such as attending a school dance or after school football game, or an ongoing class (dance, martial arts, music, gymnastics) or continuing participation in a community organization such as Scouts. If an activity is ongoing, two or more peer volunteers may share the commitment.

Peer volunteers are students within the school district in grades 8 to 12 who want to support the participant to experience the learning and fun of the activity. After completing an application form and training, volunteers are paired with participants based on mutual interests, personal attributes, and availability. The Coordinator develops and explains the participant’s support plan and provides ongoing assistance.

How do you apply to be a peer volunteer?

Please complete the Application for Peer Volunteers and follow the instructions on the application. Individuals whose applications are approved must attend a TIES training workshop prior to being matched with a participant.

What is the role of the TIES Coordinator?

The TIES Coordinator is selected by the school district and TIES Program Director and is ideally the parent of a child who has a disability. The Coordinator is responsible for –

  • Marketing TIES in the school and community.
  • Recruiting participants and peer volunteers.
  • Training peer volunteers and activity leaders through the training workshop.
  • Developing a support plan for each participant and sharing it with the peer volunteer.
  • Evaluating the experiences of the participants, peer volunteers and activity leaders.

TIES is a program of Starbridge, and is funded by the Finger Lakes Developmental Disabilities Regional Office and the Western NY Developmental Disabilities Regional Office.