May 30, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
May 30, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Friendship Circle Fun Walk and Carnival to Support Families of Special Needs Children

TEANECK—Bergen County residents are invited to the Friendship Circle of Bergen County’s annual Friendship Walk on Sunday, September 20, 2015, at Votee Park, Queen Anne Road and Court Street in Teaneck, N.J. Children and adults are welcome to enjoy fun activities and show their support for families of special needs children, a hallmark of Friendship Circle’s work. Registration and pre-walk activities are at 10:00 a.m. and the walk will go from 11:00-11:30 a.m. The post-walk celebration and carnival will run until 1:00 p.m. and will include games, rides, concessions, and a comedic and stunt-filled performance by the Harlem Wizards basketball team.

Registration for the event is free and all those who pre-register will receive a free NJ Friendship Walk t-shirt. Online registration is available at www.NJFriendshipWalk.com. Participants are encouraged to raise funds for the non-profit organization but event coordinator Zeesy Grossbaum said the focus of the day is raising awareness of the powerful difference Friendship Circle’s volunteers make in the lives of the children and families they help.

“This is a beautiful way to usher in the Jewish New Year,” said Grossbaum. “The presence of those who participate means so very much to our clients, who appreciate the feeling of unity and inclusion the Friendship Walk—and all our programs—provides.” The event falls during the High Holy Day period at the start of the Jewish New Year.

Friendship Circle is a Jewish non-profit organization that provides outreach, programs and support to families of special needs children. Through its unique approach to inclusion, it brings together teenage volunteers and children with a variety of disabilities for fun and friendship, and creates an enriching experience for all involved. The Bergen County chapter helps more than 200 families through programs for younger children and teens through age 21.

Its broad program offerings provide socialization and enrichment for clients, respite and support for parents or caregivers, and inspires area teens to share their talents and experiences with differently abled children. Approximately 700 teens volunteer with the Friendship Circle of Bergen County.

Although the walk and fun day are free and open to the public, Grossbaum said participants are encouraged to make a monetary donation in any amount to support Friendship Circle’s many programs. She stressed, however, that the walk is more of a community-building event that offers emotional sustenance to the nonprofit’s clients.

“So many of these families often feel marginalized because of their children’s issues, be they emotional, cognitive, physical, social or developmental disabilities,” said Grossbaum. “The Friendship Walk helps to break down those barriers, enables children to meet others who are differently abled, and it’s a wonderful way to show these families that they are truly part of the wider community.”

Area high school, religious school or day school students who are seeking a community service project are encouraged to walk on September 20 or get involved with the organization. Friendship Circle accepts teen volunteers from seventh grade and up, and volunteer opportunities are available for adults as well. Grossbaum noted that the personal rewards of volunteering far exceed people’s expectations.

“Our volunteers often tell us that they derive as much benefit out of working with our clients as the families get from our programs,” said Grossbaum.

Participants can create a team, join a team, or register as an individual; they may also solicit donations from friends and family to benefit the organization, which provides 150 days a year of programming for special needs families.

For more information about Friendship Circle of Bergen County’s programs and volunteer opportunities, or to make a tax-deductible contribution, visit www.BCFriendship.com; to register for the fun walk on September 20, go to www.NJFriendshipWalk.com.

By Caryn Starr-Gates

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles