Zachary with his buddies Sari (right) and Shelby (left).

Nine-year-old Zachary Brown has been an enthusiastic member of Friendship Circle for the last three years, joining shortly after his family moved to the East Brunswick area. The program has not only been beneficial to Zachary, but also to the whole

Brown family. As newcomers to the area, Friendship Circle was a bridge to new friends, activities, and a community that welcomed them with open arms. Friendship Circle has helped Zachary thrive! He’s a natural comedian, bringing comic relief to the group along with his other passions: reading, learning, and music. Just like his favorite book series, I Survived, Zach is proving he can survive change. His family credits Friendship Circle in helping nurture his success—he loves the Sunday program and the availability of activities. Zach has learned to shine when faced with creative challenges, such as designing ‘newspaper couture’ in a recent fashion show project, as well as during more vigorous activities like soccer and gymnastics.

In addition, Zachary has two buddies, Sari and Shelby, who have hour-long playdates with him each week in the ‘friends at home’ program.  Sari, who is also from East Brunswick and got involved with FC when she did the MVP program in 6th/7th grade. According to Sari,

“Friendship Circle has definitely made me a more patient and understanding person. I’ve learned a lot about compassion and the importance of friendship through my buddies! FC has definitely helped me recognize the value of being there for anyone and everyone in my community”

Shelby also from East Brunswick, says, Friendship Circle has made me a lot more patient and understanding of everyone’s individual needs. It has made me a better listener and more helpful overall. FC has shown me time and time again that everyone deserves to feel loved and wanted, and I think that’s exactly what FC does.”  Shelby is considering a career in psychology or special education. 

For Zachary’s parents, Friendship Circle is a way to connect with other families who may face similar challenges and have access to events and activities they know their son with love. They call Friendship Circle a

“…great experience for kids to socialize, especially in the wintertime. And for the parents to meet other people and to learn about other activities.” In addition, they have seen friendships bloom between Zach and his teen buddies.

It’s a pleasure for everyone to see Zach happy, active, and thriving!