Arlene’s Story

Good evening. My name is Arlene Raya and my daughter, Caroline, has been in Friendship Circle for about 10 years. The first few years that she was a member we were in the converted garage, which was the old Chabad House. It is so wonderful to now be in this gorgeous new building and looking forward to everything that Friendship Circle has to offer.

Friendship Circle has been a regular part of Caroline’s life since she was in middle school. She has not only had the best of special buddies, but has been able to participate in most all of the activities–bowling, basketball, culinary class, spa day, holiday programs, and so, so much more. Several of her friends from school and Special Olympics have now joined Friendship Circle, too, and she looks forward to seeing them at the activities. Several times they have even gone out together after a Friendship Circle event with their special buddies.

With her buddy, Caroline has been able to do many extra special, age appropriate activities–from shopping together at Easton, hanging out together on the OSU campus, and even sleeping over her buddy’s campus apartment after Shabbat dinner at OSU Chabad together.

But, Friendship Circle isn’t just fun for Caroline. I look forward to the events, too. That is because while the kids are occupied I get to hang out with the other moms, who are some of my best friends. We get to spend an hour or more chatting and having fun together–almost like a girls’ night out!

In sum, Friendship Circle is a huge part of Caroline’s social life and mine, too! I want to thank Esther, Una, and Ari, and all the others who have brought their special talents to various activities to make this group so caring, so excellent, and so much fun!

Arlene spoke at the Volunteer Recognition Dinner May 22, 2011