West BloomfieldAugust 17, 2012
Friendship Circle gets ready to step out for walk
By Eric Czarnik
C & G Staff Writer
WEST BLOOMFIELD — Thousands of metro Detroiters are expected to put their best foot forward in order to raise money for a special needs charity in West Bloomfield.
The Friendship Circle will host its 2012 Walk4Friendship fundraiser and activity day Sept. 2.
The defining element of the fundraiser will take donors and activists on a 5k trek from the Friendship Circle’s headquarters to the Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit. A one-mile family walk will also be available.
According to the organization’s director, Bassie Shemtov, organizers hope the day will bring more than 5,000 participants and raise $600,000 or more to help fund Friendship Circle programs. At press time, the event’s website stated that the effort already had raised more than $220,000.
Shemtov said she hopes people will donate to the cause if they can afford it, and she said the greater community is welcome to join the walk.
“It’s free for the whole family,” she said. “Friendship Circle is a community organization. We want everyone to feel part of the community and show support for people with special needs.”
Once the walkers make it to the JCC, they may enjoy snacks, games, entertainment and more. Shemtov said a group of African-style acrobats called Zuma Zuma, who appeared on “America’s Got Talent,” are scheduled to perform.
Home Depot is slated to host a children’s workshop during the day, and Shemtov said kids will get to use hammers and nails to make a wood project.
Shemtov explained that Friendship Circle has more than 20 weekly programs designed to assist people with special needs. The programs include winter and summer camps, as well as exercises that develop social skills.
“Lots of kids who have a very hard time with social skills pair up with (volunteer) teenagers,” she explained. “The kids with special needs can’t wait to have that special buddy.”
In the meantime, volunteers are handing out her organization’s magnets and letting people know about the walk, according to Raizel Beck, Friendship Circle team volunteer coordinator.
“Next Wednesday, I’m trying to get a group of at least 60 drivers to help put our Friendship Circle walk signs up (and) cover most of metro Detroit,” she said. “People will see them.”
The Friendship Circle will have its annual Walk4Friendship 12:30-4 p.m. Sept. 2. The walk will begin at the Meer Family Friendship Center, 6892 W. Maple Road, in West Bloomfield.
Registration starts at 11:30 a.m., with the opening ceremony starting an hour later, followed by the walk to the Jewish Community Center, 6600 W. Maple Road.
Learn more about the event at www.walk4friendship.com. For more information about the charity, visit www.friendshipcircle.org.
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