Spending time with people with special needs has such a purity to it. They get to the basics of life which is…. all I want from you is to see me, listen to me, be my friend.
Russell Eckert, Chief Development Officer for Friendship Circle Miami today announced that Luz Perez-Iturbe, a dedicated community volunteer, has been named co-chair of the organization’s Champions Circle.
Mrs. Perez-Iturbe, a mother of two, has been actively involved with Friendship Circle for close to nine years. Her son Inaki, 14, has autism and has been a program participant since he was five years old. “Back then the program was so small. But incredibly warm and full of potential, it felt like home,” she recalls.
Friendship Circle Miami has been a beacon of hope for individuals with disabilities. The organization has been helping forge remarkable friendships for the past 15 years. What starts out to be a friendship, where a teen volunteer spends quality time with a young person with autism, Down syndrome or cerebral palsy, becomes a deeply rooted friendship that lasts a lifetime.
The Champions Circle is a group of compassionate individuals who support the organization’s mission and work to identify new individuals to advocate for the non-profit.
“When asked to co-chair, I was honored. In this capacity I will be helping Champions Circle Chair Monica Cantera-Serralta with the recruitment of new champions and mostly fostering new fellowships with the members. I come from a science background and my love for Friendship Circle and its mission is greater than any challenge,” Perez-Iturbe states.
Volunteering has always been a passion for Mrs. Perez-Iturbe “I have been volunteering since I was 14 years old. It was one of the most nourishing experiences of my teenage years and I am so happy to be returning back to that space,” she added.
“Friendship Circle has played an important role in my family’s life. It has given us a place where we feel we truly belong and has done wonders for my son’s self-confidence. Inaki is visibly happy from the moment he walks in and this is so heartwarming to see not just for my own son but with every child I see,” she says.
Today, Friendship Circle serves more than 300 families at their Kendall campus. A groundbreaking for a new, one of a kind, multi-million dollar facility is scheduled for early 2021.
Mrs. Perez-Iturbe is looking forward to the building of the new facility. “Having seen the evolution of Friendship Circle, I want them to have the most beautiful space, the most beautiful building we can build for them. I can only imagine what the new center will be like. I see the need and the need is dire,” she notes.