Taking a look back: Wisdom from our alumni

Monday, 30 August, 2021 - 4:21 pm

The Friendship Circle positively impacts the lives of children with special needs in the Greater Seattle area. Our programs and services, from music at our weekly Sunday Circle to our annual Summer Carnival, spark joy in the lives and hearts of our participants, their families, and our teen volunteers. Our impact is immeasurable, which often leaves us wondering how these special moments and friendships continue to influence the lives of our alumni. In order to find out, we spoke with two of our rock star volunteer alumnus about their experiences with FC and the lessons they took with them into adulthood.

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Sophie Cohen

Sophie was a dedicated volunteer. She started as an 8th grader in our MVP program and continued to participate until she graduated high school. After a family friend’s son with special needs joined FC, Sophie was excited to get involved. She is extremely grateful for her time volunteering, as FC taught her some key life lessons. As President of our Leadership Board, she gained invaluable experience that sparked her “love for leadership and collaboration.” Sophie says this will stay with her for the rest of her life. She also tells us that she learned the “importance of kindness and acceptance and how much difference you can make in other’s lives by leading with these values.”

Sophie is still in contact with her FC buddy Kate. They stay in touch mostly on social media now that Sophie lives in New York City. Even though Sophie has lived far from home for years, she will never forget the valuable lessons Kate taught her back home. One lesson that she is reminded of anywhere she goes is that “no matter how different we may be we are still able to connect through the power of friendship."

Now that Sophie is a young professional and once again taking on leadership roles, she especially notices the impact that FC has on her leadership style. Sophie strives to lead with love and appreciation for all backgrounds and gifts. She now works at Bloomingdale's in NYC after graduating from Tulane University last year.

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Hannah Kaminsky

Hannah began volunteering with FC when she was 15. At the time, she was looking for a way to give back to her community. Hannah’s friend who volunteered at a Friendship Circle in a different state encouraged her to sign up. Soon after she began volunteering, Hannah “met so many amazing families, kids, and other volunteers.” She was grateful “to be a part of this compassionate and supportive community, and to see the impact it has on families throughout the Seattle area.”

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In addition to the friendships gained, Hannah also acquired perspective. The biggest lesson she learned during her time as a volunteer was “to recognize and appreciate everyone’s unique strengths and the qualities that make them who they are.”

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Now in nursing school in Nashville pursuing a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner degree, Hannah graduates next August. She says that her time volunteering with FC inspired her to pursue a career in healthcare. In college, she decided to study Child Development because of how much she loved spending time with her FC buddies. Even though her focus shifted to women’s health, she still constantly thinks about the importance of family-centered care in medicine. As a nurse, Hannah hopes to connect her patients to community organizations like FC.


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