3-12-2019 – by Floridalma Diaz, Friendship Circle Intern
Friendship Circle of San Diego enriches the lives of children, teens, and adults with special needs through social and recreational experiences, and inspires volunteers to participate in building a stronger and more inclusive community. Friendship Circle’s success is mainly due to the practice of pairing individuals with disabilities one-on-one with volunteer high school and college students, and adult volunteers, at each event. Friendship Circle believes this companionship provides extraordinary bonds between peers and enables isolated individuals to become more confident and included in typical society.
Friendship Circle also gives teens meaningful ways to give back to their community and to feel a sense of pride and value. Fostering volunteerism among local teenagers is an important part of Friendship Circle’s mission. Teens receive training in how to interact with populations with special needs, and how to engage with both individuals and their families. Inclusion implies much more than just placing a child with special needs among typically developing children, it means modifying recreational and social activities, so that those with disabilities can be part of a community. Friendship Circle creates a safe space for many families to spend a great time with their family and friends.