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The purpose of the Friendship Circle is to bring together teen volunteers and children with special needs in fun and constructive ways, thereby providing meaningful and empowering interactions for the children and much needed respite and support for their families. In the process, Friendship Circle volunteers learn the priceless value of giving, the curative value of friendship, and the vital importance of integrating children with special needs into our community
According to the National Health Interview Service (NHIS), there are 4 million children in the United States with disabilities - some 6.1% of the population under 18. Children with special needs can range from severe mentally impaired, emotionally impaired, physically impaired, developmentally delayed, autistic, or kids with learning disabilities, ADD or ADHD. The Friendship Circle does not offer medical or therapeutic assistance. It does however offer love and friendship. a helping hand, and a understanding shoulder to lean on. It does so in a most unique and innovative manner, utilizing one of our most energetic, yet mostly untapped resource - our teenagers. The Friendship Circle thus provides a most needed social assistance to the child with a special need, a weekly respite for the parents of children with special needs and opportunities for teens to make the world a more loving and caring world through a growing circle of friendship.
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