In the true spirit of community, over 1,500 people of all ages gathered under sunny skies for the seventh annual Walk4Friends on May 3rd at Vonage Corporate Center in Holmdel, NJ. The goal of the walk was to raise funds and awareness for the Friendship Circle, a program that provides friendship for children with special needs, but it accomplished much more than its primary mission.
“So many parents came over to us during the event to thank us for dedicating a special day to their children,” said Chanale Wolosow, director of The Friendship Circle in Central NJ. “Imagine over 1,500 people coming to show their support for your child and your family. The parents were beaming with pride, and the children with special needs were the spotlight of the event.”
As Scott Tepper, a parent of a Friendship Circle child living in Manalapan NJ, shared, The few hours each week when I know that Ari is in a safe place, having fun, just lets you relax… The money raised here today is very important. But it pales in comparison to the contributions of the staff and volunteers of FC. Their dedication, compassion, enthusiasm and love for what they do and whom they serve is second to none.
Walk4Friends kicked off with an opening ceremony and special presentation by some of our participants, followed by a warm up by MAXX Fitness. The one-mile walk around the Vonage campus was led by the Israel Family, whose daughter Eliza and mom Carla cut the ribbon. After the walk, participants enjoyed great food, rides, games, and an incredible featured show by “Flippenout Production Trampoline Show”. Among the guests were Manalapan Mayor Jack McNaboe, Committeewoman Susan Cohen, and Holmdel Mayor Patrick Impreveduto.
“The outpouring of love from the community to support the Friendship Circle was truly amazing” said the Mayor. “So many volunteers give of their time to make this program possible and so many more were responsible for the success of this important event.”
Volunteer Monica Pustylnik, a student of Marlboro High School who spoke during the opening ceremony shared “I think I speak on behalf of my fellow volunteers when I say that these kids have taught us more then we could ever imagine teaching them… Through Friendship Circle, I have learned and continue to learn that we are all truly ‘better together’ “.
Walk4Friends has raised over $147,000 towards their goal of $175,000 needed for Friendship Circle programming. Monies raised go directly to fund the social and recreational programs for children with special needs. You can still make a donation at www.walk4friends.com and help Walk4Friends reach their goal.
To learn more about the Friendship Circle visit www.friendsnj.com or call 732-536-2319.