Started in 2010, Families United in Newtown was started as a recreation program in memory of Tyler Jones to help bring the community of special needs families together in a safe and welcoming place. At each F.U.N. meeting, families are paired with a National Honors Society student from Newtown High School who will spend time with the kids, giving the parents a much needed break.
Over the past few years, F.U.N. has increased the number of monthly events throughout the year and even hosts an annual Benefit Concert. Any and all are welcome at our meetings. Feel free to investigate the Events tab to see what is upcoming.
Scenes from a typical F.U.N. Meeting
Most F.U.N. Meetings are held locally in Newtown, CT, and often take on a theme based on the season or time of year, sometimes we even have a theme that encourages members to dress up like our Super 70's Disco Benefit Concert.
In the News
Autism Group Invites Newcomers, Regulars Back For 2018-19 Season
By John Voket
The Newtown Bee, September 07, 2018
A local grassroots support organization for families with children on the autism spectrum has scheduled its first few activities of the 2018-19 season, and it all begins with ice cream.
Families United in Newtown (FUN) founder Linda Jones established the organization in 2010 in memory of her late son, Tyler, to help bring the community of special needs families together in a safe and welcoming place.
At each FUN meeting, families are paired with a National Honors Society student from Newtown High School who will spend time with the kids, giving the parents a much needed break.
The group’s “Fall F.U.N. Sign up and Kickoff” activity is happening Saturday, September 15, from 3 to 5 pm in the lower rear activity room at the Newtown United Methodist Church (NUMC) on Church Hill Road in Sandy Hook. Kids and guests will be treated to Ferris Acres ice cream, along with live and DJ music.
The event is an opportunity for parents and caregivers to get all their FUN waivers and documents processed so kids will be set for any FUN event for the year.
Then, on Saturday, October 27, “Halloween Fun” will be had by all from 4 to 7 pm at the Newtown High School cafetorium, 12 Berkshire Road, Sandy Hook. Youths are encouraged to wear their Halloween costumes and to enjoy refreshments, DJ dancing to spooky favorites, and a trunk or treat candy dash in the parking lot (weather permitting).
On Saturday, November 10, FUN will host its popular “Respite Dinner” from 5 to 7 pm at the NUMC. This event, also featuring quiet live music, is an opportunity for parents to gather and socialize with their peers from the community.
Attendees will enjoy a full prepared meal and dessert, served by NHS Honors Society students and volunteers, who will also provide assistance and care for any children attending in a separate location at the church so parents can enjoy an hour or two of respite time together without distractions.
FUN’s final event of the calendar year will be on Saturday, December 1. The group’s “Holiday Celebration” is happening from 3 to 6 pm in the Newtown Congregational Church and is scheduled to feature a small gift giveaway of items donated by a group of partners. Previous pre-holiday gatherings have also included ornament-making crafts and a visit from a certain “jolly old elf”.
The group typically holds at least one public concert each year that features a mix of local performers from among participating FUN families as well as local musicians from the community and beyond. More information on that event, as well as the winter-spring activities, will be announced before the New Year.
To help promote FUN and the public events they sponsor, Ms Jones was recently trained by the team at Charter Communications’ Spectrum CTV-192 public access television studio on Commerce Road. As a result, Ms Jones and key FUN volunteers learned how to use the studios video cameras and production equipment.
The first project they undertook was to film the “Awesome ’80s” benefit concert that was held at the Newtown Congregational Church last June.
Ms Jones told The Newtown Bee that the entire crew at Charter/Spectrum were very gracious and kind as they worked with her and the FUN volunteers.
“When we needed video equipment to film the benefit concert in June, they trained us so we were able to capture the performance for anyone to watch,” she said. “Then they helped us to edit the recording for video on demand — which makes the performance available to watch on the station’s website for a year.”
Ms Jones said the CTV-192 crew was “helpful, professional, and supportive of our cause.”
“I started doing some of the training work at the studio and observed the crew taping Maggie the dog and Reverend Rob with the Lutheran Church comfort dog program,” she said. “It was exciting to be a part of the back room support crew and observe what actually goes on behind the scene in a cable TV shoot.”
Being in the right place at the right time put Ms Jones in a position to be invited to get out from behind the camera and to be a guest in segment of the program In Good Company with host Ron Dukenski on August 25,” she said. “This was another wonderful experience to tell our story and promote upcoming events.”
As a result, Ms Jones is encouraging those who represent other community groups looking for publicity to consider completing the next studio training course.
For Community Partners, Autism Awareness Is Not Confined To April
By John Voket
The Newtown Bee, April 22, 2017
For the local grassroots organization Families United in Newtown (FUN), as well as the established service bureau at Newtown Youth & Family Services (NYFS), focus around autism awareness happens 12 months a year. But during April — Autism Awareness Month — both organizations are exploring a new partnership that could expand opportunities for youngsters and young adults on the spectrum.
After several years building a successful partnership with student members of the Newtown High School National Honor Society, FUN founder Linda Jones has one of the largest and most active contingents of students supporting activities for kids on the spectrum, and their parents.
Meet the Founders
Linda & Duane Jones
Parents to Lindsey, Austin, and Tyler, Linda and Duane took the tragedy of Tyler's passing and turned it into a positive living memorial for their beloved son.
Linda, a local registered dietitian and advocate for the Autism community, saw a need for a community-based recreation program for families with special-needs children. She started fundraising in 2008 and hosted the first F.U.N. meeting in 2010. Since then the group has expanded and serves many families from around CT and NY.
Linda and Duane have turned this passion project into a true force for good in the community. They want to invite any and all families to join them at an upcoming F.U.N. meeting. Check out the schedule HERE.
If you are looking to get involved please contact us or Donate HERE.