Walk supports kids with special needs

The Walk4Friendship event raises money for a Montreal-based non-profit organization that helps young people with special needs build friendships and feel more connected to their communities

Photo Credit: Rocha Studios

People of all ages will be tying up their laces to raise money at the 11th annual Walk4Friendship fundraiser, which will be held on Nov. 3 at the Old Port.

This event is an annual two- and five-kilometre walk to help raise money for the Friendship Circle foundation, a Montreal-based non-profit organization that helps young people with special needs build friendships and feel more connected to their communities.

Participants are asked to meet at the Old Port’s Clock Tower Pier at 11 a.m. for registration and T-shirt collection. The walk will start at 11:40 a.m. From 12:15 p.m. to 2 p.m. families can enjoy a wide variety of festivities, including carnival games, face-painting, drummers, live music, and complimentary hot cider, maple taffy, soups, pretzels, and more. An on-site dog grooming booth will also be available during the event.

Last year’s event raised $600,000. More than 1,000 people are expected to participate in this year’s event. To help raise money for the cause, registered participants can set up a donation page on the Walk4Friendship website. La Grande Roue will be providing a free ticket to ride the wheel to all walk participants (and their family) who raises or donates $100 or more.

Racheli Edelkopf, the Program Director of Friendship Circle, says the organization’s goal is to create opportunities to build relationships by pairing special needs kids with peers of the same age to do activities such as karate, dance, drama and cooking.

“People with special needs are very often isolated from typical peers, because they’re in special schools, and they have their special therapy and they’re not necessarily welcomed in mainstream activities,” she said. “We want people with and without special needs to accept each other and to become friends and develop meaningful relationships.”

Shuttle buses to the Old Port on the day of the event will be available, for free, from Walmart on Decarie Blvd., at 10:30 a.m. Buses will leave the Old Port at 2 p.m. Parking will also be available on site.

For more information, visit walk4friendship.ca.

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