“It’s changed my life.”
300 teens were honored Sunday for not only giving their time, but for giving their friendship. The Friendship Circle is a local organization that pairs teen volunteers in the community with children with special needs. And on Sunday, the group hosted an evening of appreciation at the Stamford Hilton to recognize its members.
“They go and visit a child once a week and provide friendship, respit for the parents, or an opportunity to be with other siblings,” says Nancy Heller, a parent involved in the Friendship Circle.
“It’s just a great feeling when we see a kid smiling in our presence and knowing we did that,” says teen volunteer Chase Kirshner.
Heller is the parent of both a teen volunteer and a child with special needs in the program.
“You spend a lot of time with therapists, you spend a lot of time getting support for your kids, but it’s hard to find friends to spend time with them,” says Heller. “My son has really learned the meaning of friendship through his Friendship Circle friends; they’ve stayed with him, they come back and visit him, they come and visit and it’s unconditional love and acceptance.”
Heller says the Stamford-based organization serves families all throughout Fairfield County. Over 1,000 community members attended Sunday to show their support.
“When you join the Friendship Circle, you’re part of a really large community and you feel that you’re not alone, and you feel supported and loved,” says Heller. “I think it’s all about making the world a kinder place that’s more accepting of diversity and it happens one person at a time.”
For more information about the Friendship Circle, visit http://www.friendshipct.com