October 30 2015 -
In the community: CPG donates to The Friendship Circle
NSW Friendship Circle is a registered charity, established in Australia eight years ago. It is based on a successful formula that has been in operation in America for almost twenty years.
The Friendship Circle brings together young people with special needs and teenage volunteers in various social situations, both one on one and in group settings. The programs aim to enable young people with special needs to experience friendship and to learn social skills that they would not otherwise have the opportunity to develop.
The children’s’ disabilities include Autism, Downs syndrome, Global Delay and a range of other intellectual and developmental disorders which make it difficult for these children to maintain relationships outside their immediate families. The children can be taught to dress and feed themselves, but only through regular contact with peers can they hope to fit in, be accepted and learn social skills.
The benefits of the programmes are immeasurable. The children’s communication skills improve, and their parents report that they look forward to their weekly special visits as a great treat.
The teens also benefit. They learn patience and kindness towards children with special needs and many children and teens develop a real friendship, staying in touch after their volunteer time has ended.