Goal: $200k

Teams and Walkers

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Friendship Walk/Run

Sunday, March 27 at 8am
Willow Elementary School

About Friendship Circle

Not least among the struggles facing children with special needs such as Down's syndrome, autism, ADD or other emotional and/or physical challenges of this nature is a profound sense of loneliness. Being different or misunderstood deprives hundreds of special children in our community of the most basic necessities of childhood: friendships, play-dates and outlets for youthful recreation and expression. The Friendship Circle addresses these challenges in a way that celebrates, rather than laments, the uniqueness and individuality of children with special needs.

Founded in 2003, the centerpiece of the Friendship Circle program is the pairing of local teenagers for weekly home visits with the children, and extends from there to a full range of activities and events including: Hang'n With Friends (for 17+), Sunday Circle, Fitness Programs, Winter Camp, Summer Camp, Miracle Sports League, Rock Climbing, Mom's Night Out and Sib-shop support groups — all catering to special needs children and their families.

By integrating the wisdom of professionals and the energetic spirit of teenagers, the Friendship Circle brings out the best from within all of those involved. Through the gifts and joys of friendship, the young volunteers are able to reach the children in ways that most forms of therapy can not. Furthermore, the program has had a profound effect on the teenagers themselves instilling within them the values of giving and gratitude.

The underlying philosophy of the Friendship Circle is that every child is an entire world worthy of love, laughter, nurturing and connection. A child with special needs can feel the pain of loneliness and the euphoria of friendship like any other child. The real beauty of the Friendship Circle is that it has so many winners: The special-needs children, their families, the teenage volunteers, the staff members and the benevolent supporters. All are part of a seamless circle of giving and sharing.

The Friendship Circle is nonsectarian and nondenominational. Programs are open to all and are offered free of charge to qualifying families. Funding comes primarily from charitable donations from throughout the community.

What can be more satisfying and worthwhile than transforming an entire world that is the life of a child?

For further information, please visit the Friendship Circle website at: www.friendshipcircleca.org