On Sunday, October 18th, under sunny skies and among colorful rustling leaves, over 350 individuals gathered proudly together, to express solidarity on behalf of those with special needs, at the Friendship Circle of Illinois’ (FCIL’s) First Annual Chicagoland Walk4Friendship, held at Field Middle School in Northbrook.
The Walk4Friendship got underway, as participants released multi-colored balloons, in unison, to honor their individual uniqueness and collective diversity. Some walked, and others propelled wheelchairs, each at their own pace, but unified in purpose.
According to Rabbi Zelik Moscowitz, FCIL Director, “We had many aspirations in organizing the Walk4Friendship. In bringing together the many teen volunteers, special needs children and families, program staff and community supporters, we celebrated the seamless circle of friendship each share through FCIL’s many programs.
“Through our public expression of unity, we made strides in fostering greater acceptance and inclusion of individuals with special needs. And, by enabling supporters to contribute to our cause, we strengthened our ability to reach out to and serve increasing numbers of children and families with special needs.”
After completing the 3K walk along Landwehr Road, Floral Drive, Pfingsten and Techny Roads, participants had the opportunity to enjoy a variety of interesting activities, including, performances by the Deerfield High School Marching Band and the Jessie White Tumblers, face painting, prize raffles, and delicious food.
A fire truck and mobile lending library were also on site for participants to explore. Additionally, a series of inflatables enabled much fun and laughter.
Secretary of State Jessie White made a special appearance to thank and encourage the Friendship Circle volunteers to continue helping such an important part of our communities. He made a head stand in support of The Friendship Circle’s children with special needs.
According to Bassie Moscowitz, Volunteer and Family Coordinator for FCIL, “The Walk4Friendship was an enormous success, and we hope to hold a 2nd Annual Walk4Friendship next year.”
The Walk Event sponsors included; Integrated DNA Technologies, Mizrahi Grill, Mi Clinica De Los Pies, Photography by Yakov, J. F. Wagner Printing Company, Shelle Jewelers, Clowning Around Entertainment and refreshments sponsored by Costso (Glenview), Garden Fresh Market, Sunset Foods. More than $23,000 was raised through this event.
The Friendship Circle of Illinois (FCIL), founded in June 2006, is modeled after a highly successful program in West Bloomfield, Michigan, and is part of a large network of Friendship Circle programs in over 20 states and 7 countries and an affiliate of Lubavitch Chabad of Illinois.
FCIL involves and enriches the lives of children and young adults with special needs, their families, and teenage volunteers in a full range of innovative and ongoing social and Judaic programs, including: [email protected]; Children’s Circle; Young Adult Circle; Mom’s Night Out; Holiday and Arts Themed Events; Teen Volunteer Club; etc. FCIL serves a diverse group of special needs children and young adults, representing a wide range of disabilities. Families and teen volunteers come from many different religious, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds throughout the Chicago North Shore. These qualities make FCIL a truly inclusive organization.
For more information about the Friendship Circle of Illinois, or to participate as a teen volunteer or special needs family in its programs, please call (847) 943-9770 or contact FCIL through its website – www.fcil.org.