I had the great pleasure of attending "An Evening of Recognition" honoring the volunteers for the Circle of Friends and benefitting The Circle of Friends on Sunday, May 5, 2013. Held at Beth Israel of Westport/Norwalk, it was a beautiful evening with a delicious buffet dinner, a Chinese auction with fabulous prizes and an inspiring awards ceremony.

What a truly wonderful organization! Circle of Friends provides a wide array of innovative programming, all aimed at promoting a greater awareness and understanding of the unique needs and gifts of individuals with special needs. The 130 volunteers, primarily teenagers, give their valuable time, over 6,000 hours annually, to the numerous programs sponsored by Circle of Friends.

After dinner and having an opportunity to bid on the many items up for auction, we all gathered in the sanctuary for the awards ceremony. There were many inspiring speeches, from volunteers and from parents, as well as an inspiring video titled "My Friend." Also present were several of our elected officials, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Norwalk Mayor Richard A. Moccia and Weston First Selectman Gail Weinstein. All praised the inspirational work done by Circle of Friends. Blumenthal presented a certificate to each volunteer and posed for photographs.

This year, we celebrated nine years of friendship from The Circle of Friends. Please consider join us next year when we celebrate a milestone, 10 years of friendship.

Circle of Friends is a 501(C)(3) organization. For more information, visit their website at circleoffriendsct.org or email to circlefriendsct@gmail.com.

Fran Rackson

Westport