My name is Hayley Tyson and I have volunteered at Friendship Circle for the past 4 years. When I first started volunteering at Friendship Circle, I did the Friends at Home Program. Every Sunday I would go to my buddy Andy’s house. Andy is such a creative, energetic, compassionate, and smart boy. He always showed me his Thomas the Train collection and would tell me the names of every train he had. We would go swimming, play different board games, and do arts and crafts. After my freshman year, I decided to volunteer for the Sunday circle program. I always looked forward to seeing Andy every Sunday afternoon after a hectic week of work and school. We would go to music class, engage in creative art projects, play catch in the gym, and Andy’s favorite activity was going on the swing on a nice sunny day.
I never expected to have such a special connection and friendship with my buddies over the years. I love being able to put a smile on Andy’s face and making him laugh. I learned so much about his likes and dislikes. He loves the color red and loves going to Six Flags on all the rollercoasters.
When I first signed up for Friendship Circle, I was so excited to help kids experience the true meaning of friendship and feel included. But after this experience, I feel that this program has benefitted me more than I could have ever expected. This program has enriched me as a person. Every time I left Sunday circle, I felt so much gratitude and appreciation for what I have in life. I felt so full of love and life every time I interacted with my buddy.
Friendship Circle has led me to finding my passion in life: helping others. I am going to the University of Pittsburgh with an intended major in Nutrition and Dietetics. My goal is to help people overcome chronic disease through the power of food. I am also intrigued in a research opportunity at the University of Pittsburgh about how to alleviate certain types of autism through certain diets.
I am so grateful for my experience at the Friendship Circler these past four years. I am thankful for the amazing leadership in this program. Moushkie, Chanale, Liz, and Muka dedicate so much of their time to make this program possible. They spread so much love and positive energy to make sure everyone feels included and is having fun. I am truly going to miss them so much.
Although I am so excited to start a new chapter in my life, I am going to miss the bonds I have made these past four years. I can’t believe how fast time flew by. I can’t wait to visit and volunteer at the Winter Break camps and make even more friendships next year.
Hayley Tyson, Friendship Circle Graduate 2018