When her son Khoury, now 10, started in the Friendship Circle program two-and-a-half years ago, his mother Kelly did not know what to expect.
“Before, it was like other kids were just putting up with him,” says Kelly, admitting that it can be challenging at times for Khoury to make friends due to his Asperger’s and ADHD.
Through Friendship Circle’s unique mentorship program that pairs children with disabilities with local high school and college volunteers, Khoury has formed deep friendships with several mentors. Whether the mentors have visited Khoury at home or accompanied the family on trips to the zoo, bowling, or out for pizza, there was always plenty of fun to be had.
“It’s been a phenomenal experience for the whole family,” says Kelly, describing how the mentors have also embraced her daughter, Katelyn. “It’s like the mentors have become a part of our family.”
Kelly and her husband Kevin also appreciate that Friendship Circle is available to their family free of charge. While Kelly and Kevin earn a modest living as schoolteachers, their income sometimes disqualifies them from programs that would benefit Khoury. “We’re often told we earn too much to participate in certain programs,” says Kelly. “Thank goodness Friendship Circle allows Khoury to have such a positive experience!”