Samantha Murray – Testimonial

Samantha Murray is currently a paraprofessional educator of an ASD (autism spectrum disorder) classroom. She credits Friendship Circle with helping her to find her passion in life. “I was around the age of thirteen when I was introduced to Friendship Circle. I was having a difficult time figuring out who I was, and where I belonged. I was processing my own trauma and struggling to find a purpose. My mom encouraged me to volunteer one Sunday, and I have been hooked ever since. I found my purpose, my passion, and a whole new view on life. Working with children has since become my career. I have worked with hundreds of special needs children and many siblings that also need special attention.” Samantha’s open-minded spirit made her a perfect volunteer and an even better friend. “The first time I volunteered for a winter break camp, I was paired with a particular boy. He was non-verbal and everyone warned me to be careful because he was known to have some aggressive behaviors. I was around thirteen years old and he was twelve. I went to sit with him in the back of the bus on the way to a field trip. I started talking to him like a friend like nothing was different about him. To everyone’s surprise, he was listening to me, not pinching or scratching me or himself. I felt proud that I was able to connect with him. I felt that he must have seen something in me that made him react so well when he hadn’t with others. My connection with him is so strong that I still visit him to this day!” Samantha expressed to us the difficulty of encompassing the immense impact that Friendship Circle had on her within one interview. “It is impossible for me to put into words how meaningful Friendship Circle was to me when I needed somewhere to fit in. I was going through some emotionally challenging times during those years, and walking into a place where I felt accepted by everyone. It was so important to me. It guided me to healthy friendships and learning more about myself. I continue to have lasting relationships with the families and friends I have worked with over the years.” We asked Samantha if you could tell people one thing about Friendship Circle what would it be? She replied, “ I would say that Friendship Circle is an amazing and welcoming organization. Their fabulous programs and events benefit people with all abilities, and they often end up providing forever friendships and forever memories for both the volunteers and participants. Friendship Circle is authentically Fun, Diverse, and Accepting.”

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