Walking 4 Friendship, giving to others

Walking 4 Friendship, giving to othersThis year’s Walking 4 Friendship event on Sunday, Feb. 10, was bigger and better than ever. More than 1,000 children, teens, parents, grandparents and supporters participated in the fourth annual 3k walk and gave with their hearts to benefit the Friendship Circle.

This joyous event brings out the best of the human spirit. I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to those who volunteered, walked, raised money and donated to this worthy cause. You made a difference in the lives of others and the impact is far reaching.

I am forever grateful to our 20 corporate sponsors, including Perry Ellis International, Ruderman Family Foundation, Pinecrest Tribune and Fairholme Foundation. Local organizations such as UM-NSU CARD, Unique Me and Sprinkles magazines, School for Unique Learning and FDLRS also supported this year’s efforts with sponsorship tables at our event.

Walking 4 Friendship, giving to othersTo kick off this year’s walk, honorary volunteer Alexis Greenberg, a young adult with autism, joined Friendship Circle Director Nechama Harlig and this year’s top fundraiser Joe Roisman of Perry Ellis International to cut the ribbon. It was a moving moment and a heartwarming way to start the day.

After the walk, children and their families enjoyed the carnival rides, crafts, video games, food and live entertainment on stage. The Singing Miamians of Pinecrest, Greater Miami Youth Symphony, the Friendship Circle Guitar Group, Kia Kidz and Miami Killian Senior High’s American Sign Language Club were just a few of the groups that graced the stage and gave wonderful performances.

The children with special needs and their families were overwhelmed with the outpouring of support. The smiles on their happy faces said it all. The community response validates the tireless efforts of the teens who so generously offer the gift of their time. Through their friendship, they are able to reach children with special needs in ways that most forms of therapy cannot.

Walking 4 Friendship, giving to othersThe generous donations from community members and people throughout the country via email campaigns and website pages will continue to fuel the many Friendship Circle programs that offer friendship and recreation to children with special needs. The money raised is crucial to continuing empowering programs such as Friends at Home, Sports Circle, Music Circle and Teen Scene. Donations can be made throughout the year by contacting the Friendship Circle.

For more information or to join the Friendship Circle, call 305-234-5654, ext. 11, or visit www.friendshipcirclemiami.org

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