follow us


February 28, 2012

Fund for Santa Barbara’s Youth Making Change

Program Provides Grant to PeerBuddies

Santa Barbara, CA February 28, 2012 – The Fund for Santa Barbara’s Youth Making Change (YMC) program has provided PeerBuddies with a grant in the amount of $1,680.00 to fund scholarships and program materials. Five low-income families will experience the program at no cost, and the remaining monies will be used to fund program materials and field trip costs.

“We are thrilled to be able to provide this service for families who otherwise would not have this opportunity,” stated Elika Shahrestani, Executive Director.

Youth Making Change awards grants through a competitive application and review process. Stated Cristina Gonzalez, Program Manager of the Fund for Santa Barbara, “The YMC board members take the grant making process very seriously. They spend over sixty hours throughout the year outreaching, reviewing, granting, and conducting follow-ups. The board believes PeerBuddies serves a population that is important to recognize in our community.”

Youth Making Change Grant

February 1, 2012

One of our very own buddies writes about PeerBuddies in San Marcos High School’s newspaper!

Thanks Megan!


PeerBuddies in the King’s Page

March 2, 2012

Elika Shahrestani, PeerBuddies Director, presents six months of PeerBuddies data to special education teachers and administrators at the CalTASH conference in Oakland, California.

If you’d like to receive a copy of the presentation, please Contact Us.


PeerBuddies presents at the CalTASH conference in Oakland, California

PeerBuddies featured in the Independent

October 31, 2011

PeerBuddies was featured in Santa Barbara’s own Independent newspaper!

“A learning aide is great...but nothing beats a buddy.”

-- Cathy Abarca, Parent, Advocate, Member of Autism Society of America

View Full Article


December 6, 2013

PeerBuddies is re-launching Social Skills Groups for individuals with special needs, set to launch in February 2013!  Your child will enjoy fun, “theme-based” activities such as sports, theater, arts & crafts, cooking, and more while learning essential social skills from a peer!  Dyads are overseen by trained UCSB and Westmont Facilitators, and the entire program is supervised by PeerBuddies founder, Elika Shahrestani, M.S., B.C.B.A.


February 23rd - May 4th, 2014.  8 sessions total (skipping 3/23, 3/30, and 4/20).


Group 5-A (ages 12-19): Sundays, 1:00-2:30pm

Group 5-B (ages 4-11): Sundays, 3:00-4:30pm


Tucker’s Grove Park (corner of Turnpike/Cathedral Oaks); Last session at Zodo’s Bowling & Beyond (5925 Calle Real, Goleta).

PeerBuddies Social Skills Groups

July 18, 2012

Summer Sports: UCSB and Elings Park Offer Physical Activities for Differently Abled Kids

The abundance of camps makes it hard for kids to experience summer boredom in Santa Barbara. Children with cerebral palsy, spinal injuries, or autism do not have to sit the season out on the disabled list. They are able to enjoy such opportunities as the Junior Wheelchair Sports Camp at UCSB or the Elings Park Inclusion Camp...

View Full Article


PeerBuddies in the Independent

April 9, 2012

Local Program Helps Kids Build Interactive Skills

The Fund for Santa Barbara donated $1,680 to the local organization PeerBuddies to help give special-needs children the opportunity to develop their social skills through interactions with other children their age....

View Full Article


PeerBuddies in Daily Nexus

April 15, 2012

Elings Park has partnered with PeerBuddies in launching an Inclusive Summer Camp!

July 9th-13th and July 23rd-27th, Monday-Friday, 1:00-4:00pm

For the first time in Elings Park history, their Summer Camp program has opened its doors to children with special needs.

Providing professional and dedicated support, including:

  1. Pairing with same aged or slightly older Peer Buddy

  2. 4:1 camper to adult ratio

  3. Trained Facilitators

  4. Adaptive PE Camp Counselors

  5. Supervision by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst

Up to of 30 hours of tailored educational fun for only $295/week

Activities Include hiking, tag, relay races, basketball, soccer, arts and crafts and much more!

Plus, children will learn about safety from the SB Fire Department and animal appreciation from the Humane Society through special presentations.

Click here for more information.

Elings Park Inclusion Camp

May 2012


SBUSD City Council Meeting

May 21, 2012

Crane Country Day School Hosts Supporting Success Forum

...The day continued with a remarkable local resource introduced by Elika Shahrestani, M.S, B.C.B.A, and founder of PeerBuddies. Shahrestani’s presentation, “Peer-Mediated Strategies for Social Skills Support,” offered valuable insight and strategies for successfully building social-emotional awareness and peer skills for students with developmental delays, as well as those on the autism spectrum...

View Full Article


PeerBuddies in Noozhawk

Helpful LinksResources.html


Follow Us





PeerBuddies in Action

Photo Gallery

Video Gallery