Summer did not end quietly at the Friendship Circle, and that’s just how we like it. The campus was bustling with children and volunteers enjoying the last week of summer and making beautiful music together.
At the Friendship Circle summer camp for children with special needs, we launched an exciting new music program to teach children the fundamentals of playing guitar. During Music Circle, each child had their own electric guitar to play, while receiving instruction from guitar instructor Llew Pearce and assistant Albert Fortes.
The children learned how to hold the guitar, move their fingers to achieve different notes and strum the chords. Friendship Circle teen volunteers helped their special friends properly hold the guitars, and they often worked together to play songs. At the end of each daily lesson, the amps were turned on and the jam session began. It was a beautiful sound.
Music can be a motivating and fun way to teach all children, particularly children who have special learning needs. Music strategies have been shown to be an effective way to stimulate speech development, provide organization for cognitive and motor development, and create a meaningful environment for socialization. Music, combined with the gift of friendship, is a powerful way to reach children with special needs.
Our instructors and volunteers always remember that flexibility, fun and patience are key when exploring new musical ventures. Music Circle will again be offered in the fall, winter and spring. The eight-week programs will be held Oct. 17-Dec. 19, Jan. 9-March 20, and April 10-May 22.
The generous donation of the guitars and equipment has made this Friendship Circle program possible. This program, as well as other Friendship Circle programs such as Children’s Circle, Teen Scene, Sports Circle, Cooking Circle and Friends at Home, would not be possible without the tireless efforts of our teen volunteers. These teens spent the last week of their summer playing games, singing songs, cooking and going on adventurous field trips with their special friends. Together, they made memories that will last a lifetime.
This final week of summer camp also greatly helped the parents of our participants. In fact, many parents requested we host a camp during this week, as most summer camps were not in session. As parents busily prepared for back-to-school, they had peace of mind knowing their children were having fun and learning in a nurturing and accepting environment.
Teens who would like to volunteer or families needing services for a child or teen with special needs should call Heather Utset at the Friendship Circle, 305-234- 5654, ext. 14, or go online to www.FriendshipCircleMiami.org