By Andrew Soong
The Friendship Circle hosted the Trevor Williams Kids Foundation [TWKF] in a basket ball tournament to the delight of participants and their parents at the Friendship Circle building in Snowden Thursday evening.
“The game is guaranteed to put smiles on the faces of the [special needs] kids,” said TWKF co-founder Dean Smith. “The basketball game gives great confidence and it’s rewarding to see their eyes light up when they make a basket.”
The Friendship Circle puts teenage volunteers together with special needs children to integrate into society. Both groups participate in a wide range of programs and activities including the basketball tournament held Thursday. According to Friendship Circle program director Chaya Marozov the organization is a place where “kids bond with special needs children.”
“Events like this have a positive impact on kids some of who were initially afraid of their own shadow,” said Marozov about some of the various success stories of the Friendship Circle.
“The circle is a place where the kids feel safe and are not judged and encouraged to strive for success.”
Kids from both organizations trained for several weeks for the event in conjunction with the TWKF’s program of community service. Many kids from St. Georges High School regularly volunteer in conjunction with their school curriculum involving community service that includes sports and tutoring. According to St. Georges student Mark Savard “it’s a very rewarding experience.”
“Because of this program I get to see what these kids go through,” said the 15-year-old Savard who decided to volunteer at the Friendship Circle. “It’s great to see them getting active and having fun.”
Many of the volunteer teens came from the Trevor Williams Kids Foundation a non-profit organization aimed at teaching life skills to youth. The foundation is grounded on the motto “academics plus athletics equals a perfect education” and is partnered with member high schools such as St. Georges whose students participated in the event.
According to Frances Szeto participating students are “members of school teams and learn how to give back to the community.”