We Love Our Volunteers

Friendship Circle’s LifeTown got a little love from Mercedes-Benz Financial Services employees this week – and the special-needs children exploring the facility warmed their hearts in return.

Eight volunteers of the Daimler subsidiary traded their day jobs for morning shifts as police women, manicurists and librarians as part of the company’s Volunteer Day.

The day is voluntary and the employees get to choose where they’d like to donate their time, said Lorraine Paoletti, one of the visiting volunteers.

“It’s so cool,” she said. “(LifeTown) teaches kids life skills, which are so important.”

She and colleague Jana Seidel were all smiles as they played the role of police officers, patrolling the sidewalks and helping kids safely navigate their way around – and across — the winding road.

“I didn’t know what to expect because it was my first time here,” Seidel said, “but the kids are taking (the rules) very seriously and I’m impressed by that.”

The LifeTown experience was a first for most – if not all – of the volunteers, who learned of the facility during a visit to Friendship Circle’s Soul Center.

Across town, fellow volunteer Taleen Newlin took a break from her nail salon receptionist post to visit with co-workers running the library.

“It’s been awesome helping out children with special needs (and) seeing the smiles on their faces,” she said.
Colleague Ashley Beck agreed: “It’s just amazing – all of the real-experiences and the things that (the kids) have to do just to learn … to function in the real world.”

Days like this – and volunteerism, in general — serve as a good reminder of things most people take for granted, the women said.

“I think it is important to do,” Newlin said. “It’s hard to do sometimes because we are all so busy with life so this is a good reminder of the difference this really makes in the community.”

Interested in volunteering with Friendship Circle? We could use help in our Soul Studio, an art program and exhibition space dedicated to the creative growth and expression of adults with special needs. Our program runs Monday through Thursday from 10 am to 3 pm. Click here to complete the volunteer application form or contact our volunteer coordinator Maggie Egrin or (248) 788-8600.

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