One day, Mussia Federman was playing in the park when she saw another girl there who she thought looked lonely. The girl was sitting in a wheelchair and couldn’t play on the swings or go down the slide. Mussia says, “I had so much fun playing store with her. When my mother told me about how important it is to include others, I started thinking about what else I could do.” She began talking to her class at school about the value of including and welcoming all children, and she also began hanging out with the Friendship Circle of Miami Beach and North Dade (FCMiami), a group of like-minded folks whose motto is, “Be a friend.”
The heart of FCMiami is their Friends at Home program, which pairs teen volunteers and kids with special needs for weekly home visits. The visits—which use board games, stories, music, crafts, and age-appropriate play to build meaningful bonds—provide a respite to caregiving families while simultaneously establishing true friendships among the participants.
In fact, FCMiami pairs teen volunteers and kids with special needs to share many experiences. As a result, friendships steeped in shared interests and abilities develop naturally. The events that are organized encourage everyone to gather together for fun and relationship-building, and they range from summer camps to sports groups to baking teams. To keep expanding their non-profit organization’s offerings and to help young people remain service-minded, FCMiami also runs a Mitzvah Project, which supports youth becoming Bar/Bat Mitzvah in creating new projects that will benefit the entire community.
Our PLAE-it-Forward ambassador Mussia was clearly on to something that day at the park. She has some good advice for us, too: “Reach out to anyone who looks like they need a friend!” To help friendship continue to blossom in Miami, use checkout code GIVE225 and 10% of your PLAE purchase price will be donated to Friendship Circle. Shop now to earn a donation.