Friendship Circle to celebrate 10th annual Walk4Friendship

By: Cari DeLamielleure-Scott | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published August 30, 2015

 The theme for the 2015 Walk4Friendship is "pure friendship." The walk will kick off at 11:30 a.m. Sept. 6.

The theme for the 2015 Walk4Friendship is "pure friendship." The walk will kick off at 11:30 a.m. Sept. 6.

File photo by Sean Work


WEST BLOOMFIELD — Labor Day is right around the corner, which means it’s time for Friendship Circle’s annual Walk4Friendship, which will take place Sept. 6.

The Walk4Friendship will kick off with registration at 11:30 a.m., followed by an opening ceremony and a 5K and 1-mile walk. Immediately after the walk and 5K, participants can enjoy free food and family-friendly activities, including Michigan’s famous Dan Dan the Choo Choo Man, the Cincinnati Circus, pony rides, zip lines, a foam pit, inflatable bouncers, and arts and crafts. Former news anchor Diana Lewis and Charlie Langton, of WWJ Newsradio 950, will emcee the event. Food will be provided by Detroit Popcorn and Jerusalem Pizza.

Though the Walk4Friendship is a free event, donations to Friendship Circle are welcome and can be made at Bassie Shemtov, director of Friendship Circle, said the Walk4Friendship is Friendship Circle’s main fundraiser, and one-third of the organization’s budget is used to throw the event.

One reason why the event is free is that it makes participants feel like they are part of the Friendship Circle family, Shemtov said.

“When you have family, you don’t charge them to come for dinner,” Shemtov said, adding that the Walk4Friendship has become a staple event in the township at which all “negative vibes go away.”

Friendship Circle is a nonprofit organization that provides assistance and support to families of children with special needs across southeast Michigan. The organization offers over 30 weekly and seasonal programs.

Organizers selected “pure friendship” as the 10th anniversary theme, and Shemtov said they wanted to find words that best describe the organization’s vision.

“When we say ‘pure friendship,’ it’s very powerful, and hopefully people will get it,” Shemtov said. “The friendship that goes on here between every different kind of teen, as long as they give it time to build, they are having something that probably doesn’t exist too often. … Pure friendship is Friendship Circle.”

Artwork created by The Farber Soul Center artists will be available for purchase, and the walk and 5K will pass the Soul Center building, which is slated to open in early 2016. The Farber Soul Center will feature a café and a fine arts studio, at which programs will be offered for adults with special needs to experience independence and learn job skills in the community.

All parking will be located at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital’s employee parking lot.  Shuttles will run from the hospital to Friendship Circle 11:15 a.m.-1 p.m. Shuttles will cease during the walk and will resume at 1:45 p.m. Wheelchair-accessible parking will be available at the Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit’s east lot, near Drake Road.

“I recently had the opportunity to tour Friendship Circle,” Lynn Torossian, president and CEO of Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital, said in an emailed statement. “It is truly amazing to see what this organization does for individuals with special needs, funded primarily through philanthropy, over one-third of which is raised at this walk. Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital is honored to be a partner and longtime supporter of the Friendship Circle.”

To receive a free Walk4Friendship T-shirt, participants must register at Walk4Friendship yard signs are available at Friendship Circle.