Laughter, smiles, and companionship; that is what friendship is all about. For some children with special needs, however, making friends can become difficult at times.
Rabbi Avraham Mintz of the Chabad of South Metro Denver began receiving requests last year from parents of special needs children to provide programs for them. Rabbi Mintz acknowledged the issue and began to research what he could do to help these kids.
What he found was an international organization called Friendship Circle.
Friendship Circle focuses on creating connections and breaking down the barrier between children with special needs and their peers. After learning about special needs and additional training, volunteers are matched with a child with special needs and meet weekly to play, enjoy each other’s company and, most importantly, to just be kids.
With teenagers being the primary volunteers in the program, Friendship Circle encompasses much more than just helping out a child with special needs. It generates a true bond with a friend and a real sense of belonging. Often, children and teens feel uncomfortable around kids with special needs. This feeling can lead children and teens alike to stay within their comfort zone, never making an effort to connect with kid with special needs. continue...