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What is Making Authentic Friendships?
Making Authentic Friendships LLC is currently a web application that enables individuals with special needs, ages 13+, to make friends. It matches individuals based upon their geographic location, diagnosis, age and interests. I believe that the odds are high of there being people in neighboring towns that have a similar diagnosis and need friends but would not necessarily have the means of connecting with or meeting one another, otherwise.
Who Am I?
My name is Juliana Fetherman and I am a recent graduate of Sacred Heart University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Science and a Business minor. I immediately continued with my education also at Sacred Heart University, where I pursued a Masters of Business Administration in Marketing. During my tenure at the university, I held various leadership positions including the President of the Are You Autism Aware Club for two (2) years. In that position, I had the opportunity to raise and donate tens of thousands of dollars to various autism and special needs organizations. In doing this, I knew that this is to what I want to dedicate my life.
Why I care and why you should too!
Advocating for those who cannot advocate for themselves is my passion. My brother, who is 21 years old, was diagnosed with autism and ADHD but is high functioning and verbal. Since he is very aware of his differences, he wants nothing more than to be "normal". Not having friends, makes him lonely, depressed and makes him feel “abnormal”. That is why it is no coincidence that the application's initials are MAF, which are also my brothers initials. There are millions of people out there who face the same struggles daily. This breaks my heart, which is why I am going to change it for my loved one and for yours.
Our app is fun and interactive!
Making Authentic Friendships will be very user friendly, for it will work like a game. We want individuals of all abilities to be able to use it comfortably. Users will generate an avatar of themselves that will look like them. It will be displayed on a map where you can see possible friends. We launched our web app in August and have seen much success. We have also continuously used user feedback to make changes.
We currently serve users in 45 states, 22 countries and 6 continents, a number that is growing daily.
Is it safe?
The safety of our users is our number one priority. There are several safety precautions taken on our platform. First, you have to signs terms and conditions in order to make a profile. Second, we monitor the chats from the back-end. Any bad or inappropriate words aren't even allowed to be typed on the platform. If something is typed that is threatening, it is flagged in our system. Additionally, any user can report another user and is encouraged to do so if they ever feel threatened or uncomfortable in any way. In both these cases, we will be able to read the conversations and decide whether the behavior warrants a warning or a ban from the platform.
Where will your contribution go?
Your contribution will provide us with seed money to help us transition from the web app to the actual app on both ios and Andriod platforms. This will ensure the most user-friendly experience for our users. Finding friends and keeping social contact is more important than ever.
Not only is your contribution going to a great cause that's going to help a lot of people, we also have some great rewards to offer. You can earn awesome apparel with our motto "Everyone Deserves Someone" on it, or even better, you can get Instagram management by yours truly! As a social media addict (guilty), I know all the best tips and tricks, not to mention that social media management is much more expensive through an agency, it's a win-win!
If you've made it this far, THANK YOU! :)
For people who already have many struggles in life, “Making Authentic Friendships” should not be one of them, especially when there are other people out there going through the same thing. I want to continue changing this for my brother and the millions of others out there like him. If you know anyone who has special needs, please support this app for them because “Everyone Deserves Someone”.