After years of planning, developing, and constructing, Friendship Circle is excited to announce and invite the community to the Grand Opening of its Inclusive Fun Zone. This 6,000 sq. ft. indoor play space, the first one of its kind the area, offers fun, recreational, therapeutic, educational, and social opportunities for children, teens, and young adults with special needs to enjoy alongside their typically developing friends.
Boasting a music and movement studio, art and creativity spot, multi-sensory dream room, indoor sensory-friendly park, “Please Touch” hallway, parent lounge, and teen leadership hub, this adventurous place has come to life thanks to the partnership of many generous supporters in the community who will be celebrated at the Grand Opening. Among those supporters, we are grateful to the Selkin family for making the first major funding commitment in 2018, which kicked off the vision for this project and the Sklut family, who dedicated the Friendship Loft and Play Space in honor of their children, Bashia and Mason Sklut.
This Inclusive Fun Zone is a game-changer for our community. For most children and teens with special needs, friendships with peers who don’t have special needs is not just uncommon, it’s almost unheard of, but this type of friendship and inclusion builds confidence and offers the opportunity to interact and become a valued member of the community. For the typically developing teen, the opportunity to develop authentic friendships that are not based on social media presence or a “coolness” factor can be just as elusive. However, these kinds of authentic friendships give them the confidence to stand up to peer pressure, recognize their own value, and see beyond fads to build meaningful and healthy relationships.
Friendship Circle brings together these two groups of teens, referred to as Special Friends and Teen Friends, with the Friends Together program. Through one-on-one weekly playdates, these friendships are formed and nurtured. The Inclusive Fun Zone will not only host these playdates but it will enable Friendship Circle to expand programming to include after-school clubs and other weekly group activities.
Please join us at the ribbon cutting to celebrate the highly-anticipated Grand Opening of the Fun Zone on January 8 at the entrance of the Selkin Family Friendship Circle Center, 6619 Sardis Road. To learn more and to RSVP visit FriendshipCircleNC.org/NewCenter
Friendship Circle is a beneficiary agency of the Jewish Federation of Greater Charlotte.