Walk4Friendship raises funds and awareness for people with special needs – The Oakland Press

A local nonprofit with a mission to create a support system for people with special needs and their families in metro Detroit will hold its biggest fundraising event of the year on Sunday, August 28.

Now in its 17th year, the annual Walk4Friendship event raised $600,000 for Friendship Circle last year, a record amount for the organization. This year’s fundraising goal is $650,000. The funds raised during the event are crucial to the organization’s ability to support more than 3,000 people with special needs by providing them with recreational, social, educational and professional programs. The theme for this year’s Walk4Friendship is “Building on Friendship”.

In addition to the boardwalk, there will be plenty of activities for the whole family, from the bouncy house ride to a photo booth, art projects and more. (Photo courtesy of Cercle de l’Amitié)

“Friendship Circle, really at its core, is about friendship,” said co-founder Bassie Shemtov. “It’s about connecting that teenager or that adult with that person with special needs or their family or anyone who is isolated. It’s about seeing a person for their soul and seeing each person as a unique and special person with a lot of potential.

Walk4Friendship is Friendship Circle’s biggest event, not only from a fundraising perspective, but also because it serves as an important vehicle to raise awareness for the organization and the world of special needs.

“One of our goals is to educate society about the beauty of people with special needs,” says Shemtov. “When you actually have that experience, person to person, with a person with special needs, you learn how people with special needs can teach us, and you experience this unconditional love that people with special needs can give. “

The two-mile family walk will begin at 11:45 a.m. at the Farber Center, 5586 Drake Road, West Bloomfield. Registration and t-shirt pick-up day will begin at 10:30 a.m., and the walk will be preceded by an opening ceremony at 11:30 a.m. The free event will also offer a variety of fun activities between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. at the Meer Center, includes a photo booth, art project, interactive activities, free food, entertainment, bouncy house, rides, bubble station and more.

The annual Walk4Friendship event serves as an important vehicle to raise awareness of the organization and the world about special needs.  (Photo courtesy of Cercle de l'Amitié)
The annual Walk4Friendship event serves as an important vehicle to raise awareness of the organization and the world about special needs. (Photo courtesy of Cercle de l’Amitié)

“It’s all free, but the goal is to raise funds,” says Shemtov. “So if you can’t afford to pay, we want everyone to be part of this supportive and appreciative family unit and want that connection to be part of the special needs community.”

Friendship Circle does a lot for the local community. “It’s a family, so once a family joins, we’re not just there for the kids but for the family, because they should never feel alone,” Shemtov says.

Shemtov’s favorite thing about being involved with the organization and the march ahead is seeing that “aha moment.”

“I love watching people who don’t realize what they stand to gain from people with special needs and seeing them have that ‘aha moment’ and seeing them become a part of their lives.”

Registration for Walk4Friendship is now open. To register online or to donate to an individual walker or team of walkers, visit walk4friendship.org. For more information on the Circle of Friendship, visit friendshipcircle.org.

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