August 29, 2023 | Equity and Advocacy

A Day at Friendship Circle Montreal

On August 23rd, 2023, the Spunt & Carin team volunteered at Friendship Circle Montreal to join children and young adults with special needs in a day filled with fun. Me Sheri Spunt and her law students, Rome, Liana and Stephanos, were welcomed as volunteers and were each paired up with a “buddy” for the day. They had the opportunity to accompany participants to a bowling alley where they developed meaningful friendships and experiences with the children and the staff. In addition to the outing at the bowling alley, the staff at Friendship Circle planned a scavenger hunt, arts and crafts and other fun activities for everyone involved.

Friendship Circle is a non-profit organization whose goal is to provide individual support to those with special needs. Equipped with a full kitchen, dance studio, sensory/tactile rooms, a gym, and more, through their programming, Friendship Circle aims to promote an inclusive community that values all individuals regardless of the challenges they face. In addition to helping those in need, Friendship Circle enriches its vast community of volunteers by enabling them to reap the rewards of selfless giving.

The Spunt & Carin team had the pleasure of being part of this inclusive community where they shared special moments that they will cherish.

Here are a few testimonials from our volunteers:

I have been a friend to Friendship Circle for quite a few years now. However, every time I go, I am just as touched and learn something new. During my time this week at camp, my buddy taught me about openness and boundaries. I am very talkative by nature, and at one point during my visit, my buddy turned and looked at me and said, “I don’t want to talk right now”. I thought that was amazing, articulate and it made me think: if only we could all be as open. I learnt about the power of communication and honesty, and being true to yourself and our feelings.

I also participated in a fascinating conversation with Stephanos, and my new friend Kyle. Kyle explained to me the rationale behind his love for video-games. The notion that it is fine to make mistakes, as your character will fall down and simply get back up and start over. It takes him to a place where mistakes, falls have no real consequence.

I am grateful for our new friends and the trust they gave us, who instantly opened their hearts.” – Sheri

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“Volunteering at Friendship Circle was an enriching and fulfilling experience. Never having volunteered with those with special needs, it was definitely an enlightening opportunity. I was paired with Victoria, who was happy to greet me from the second I walked through the door. We bowled, did some colouring, and made friendship bracelets. I loved the opportunity to give back to a community in need, and develop a meaningful friendship with those at Friendship Circle.” – Rome

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“It was my first time volunteering at Friendship Circle; however, it will not be my last. The enriching experience and memories I have created with my buddy Rochelle and the staff will remain in my heart moving forward. I feel very grateful to have had this opportunity to contribute to the community.” – Liana

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“The Friendship Circle was an incredible hub of love and community. I had previously worked at summer camps with children of all ages but this was my first experience volunteering at a daycamp with neurodiverse people. The Friendship Circle is a beautiful place where neurodiverse individuals can build long lasting friendships with each other while also having polite and fun interactions with neurotypical individuals. My interactions with Kyle and Alex were amazing and interesting. Kyle and I spent the entire bus ride to the bowling alley speaking about Marvel and he taught me many fun facts about different superheroes.

On a personal note, my young cousin was recently diagnosed with Spectrum Disorder. My experience this week has led me to want to accompany him to the Friendship Circle to give him the opportunity to engage with other neurodiverse children in a supportive and enjoyable environment.” – Stephanos

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Needless to say, our experience at Friendship Circle was enriching and meaningful. We would like to thank everyone at Friendship Circle for welcoming us into their community this week!