Every Sunday at 3 o’clock I pause my homework and leisure, get in the car, and make my way to Robertsville elementary school where I dedicate my time to children from all ages with mental and physical disabilities. I arrive by myself and sign into the Sunday Friendship Circle program, surrounded by kids with contagious smiles, jovial attitudes, and hearts filled with the unconditional passion to learn and grow with their dedicated volunteer buddies. Over the past two years I’ve made a family at friendship circle, and the comfort I feel at each and every program is indescribable and heartwarming to say the least. Few kids my age are privileged enough to work with the FC team and experience the benefits of giving back. Not only do the children that need assistance feel like they have made a substantial friend, but the volunteers that do the assisting are exposed to a rewarding feeling of love and gratitude.
The Friendship Circle consists of numerous programs (one being Sunday Circle as I previously mentioned), that typically involve a buddy and volunteer, if not multiple buddies. The volunteers focus on their specific buddy and preoccupy her/him with educational, but exciting activities. Each volunteer finds a way to channel their own buddy’s personality in the chosen activity, which engages the child and ultimately establishes a true connection and friendship. Each buddy has multiple likes, dislikes, and general preferences that the volunteer will find useful when deciding ways to make their buddy content throughout the program. For instance, I work with a 14-year-old boy during Sunday circle who absolutely adores the color green. Whenever we do an art project, I know to select a green crayon for my buddy to use because I am aware of his preference and how excited he becomes when his favorite color is included in any activity. Evidently, it’s the little things that have significance in the FC community, and although they may seem small, they make a massive difference.
Ultimately, The Friendship Circle changes the lives of everyone within the organization, and each program is a perfect opportunity for inclusion, newfound friendship, and unconditional fun surrounded by those who care.
Alexandra Seidler, FC Volunteer