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Gone Fishing

Gone Fishing

A Friends @ Home Visit


It’s a sunny day here in Charlotte but I'm feeling anything but calm. I’m on the way to observe Adam’s second visit, as he is a new volunteer. Adam has agreed to push up the visit so he can still make his basketball game tonight and Steven’s Mom (Steven is Adam’s special friend) has postponed their Aquarium trip till later this afternoon. I just got off the phone with Adam to make sure he has the directions straight, as I’d hate for any of the carefully scheduled hour and a half visit to be wasted in a car!

But now that I’m on my way, I’m thinking, “Is this really helping? Are they just doing me a favor?” I usually only go to the first visit and then for a check-in later on but last week I had two visits scheduled for the same time and obviously couldn’t be at both. Not wanting to cancel, I told Adam and Steven that I’d come for the second visit instead. Now though, I feel bad I didn’t go last time. What if the schedule conflicts were because they didn’t have a good time last week? Ok, I know that’s not true, they told me it was fine and Steven had a good time, but still….

Steven is an 8 year old boy with autism, but in Friendship Circle’s world, that just means he’s unique, like all of us, and that his special talents and abilities make him outstanding. I turn into the neighborhood, and pull up to the house. Adam’s car is already there! As I’m about to turn off the car I see something which makes me stop. I suddenly regret all my previous thoughts and thank G‑d for giving me the chance to see this myself. There’s Steven, running ahead of his new friend Adam, with a fishing rod in hand and a smile from ear to ear.

Not wanting to miss anything, I drive around to the other side of the neighborhood pond (I’m kicking myself that I didn’t bring my camera). I park and get out of the car to watch as Adam casually and comfortably introduces Steven to the world of fishing. From where I’m standing I can see them but they can’t see me and frankly, I’m glad because I have tears in my eyes. I stand there for a bit just watching the two of them talk and laugh, and cast the fishing rod. One thing is clear, to Adam, Steven isn’t a “disabled” child who needs sympathy, Steven is a friend with plenty to offer!

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Karen O. Omaha, NE/USA January 20, 2010

Friendship Circle story Thank you for sharing! I've been learning this month just how many people at my synagogue enjoy being with my son. (He's 11 and autistic.) It has been an eye opener after previous years filled with people who struggled to endure being around him.
Our kids truly are blessings! (That's also a good mantra when you've heard the same script for the 5,346,243, 142,901st time.) ;-) Reply

Mariashi Groner Charlotte, NC January 17, 2010

Friendship Circle Blog Wow, Rochel, you write beautifully. I actually feel like I was there. Reply

Friendship Circle is today's fastest growing Jewish organization for children with special needs. With over 76 locations worldwide Friendship Circle has cultivated friendships between 5,000 special children and close to 11,000 teen volunteers.

The unique vision of the Rebbe that "none of us are complete unless all of us are included" provides our motivation to bridge the gap between families of children with special needs and the general community while providing today’s teens with a productive and enjoyable focus.

Window To Our World, presented by Friendship Circle International, will share with you the inside perspective of special children, their families, volunteers, community members and Friendship Circle coordinators who bring them together.

For more information, please visit the Friendship Circle website.

Click here for an insightful video about special needs children.

Moderated by Rochel Groner, Friendship Circle International
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