Home Community Featured Friendship:  Jude, Dillon and Nicole

Featured Friendship:  Jude, Dillon and Nicole

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Friends meet at a playground.

By Tanya Buresh-Werby, Assistant Director, FCVA

In the heart of Virginia, a unique organization is weaving bonds of friendship and inclusivity, bringing joy to the lives of children with disabilities.

Friendship Circle of Virginia (FCVA) has been fostering connections that transcend differences, and the story of Jude, Dillon, and Nicole is a shining example of the magic that happens when hearts align.

The trio’s journey began a year ago during FCVA’s March Birthday Circle at Loving Acres Farm.

 

 

First time meeting at March 2023 Birthday Circle.

Dillon and Nicole, two teens from the community, were paired with Jude, a child with disabilities, for an afternoon of fun. Little did they know, this initial meeting would mark the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Their connection flourished through intentional pairings at FCVA’s monthly Birthday Circles going forward due to how well they had connected.

Soon, the families saw the potential for deeper bonds through the Friends@Home program. This program brings two teens from the community into the homes of children or teens with disabilities on a weekly basis, creating a more intimate setting for shared activities and experiences.

As Fall arrived, the trio began meeting regularly, exploring new avenues of fun, including trips to the playground. The impact of this friendship reached beyond the children, as the parents found common ground, turning their children’s companionship into a source of support and camaraderie for themselves.

Reflecting on the transformative experience, Dillon expressed, “I remember the first time I hung out with them at the Farm, which I believe was really fun, and honestly, I really enjoy the combination of us all.”

 

1st Friends@Home visit.

 

He added, “It gives me not only opportunities to hang out with my friend and my buddy, but also gives me chances to explore and do something new with them, which I might not usually do myself.”

Jude’s parents, Rommel and My-My, shared their heartfelt gratitude, recounting the touching moments that marked a turning point for their son.

“It was love at first sight,” they exclaimed.

“Those hands were reaching out – in a kind, gentle way showing Dillon and Nicole how he felt without saying a word. And that was the beginning of their friendship.”

Nicole also shared her perspective on the experience, saying, “I like the Friends@Home program a lot since it gives me opportunities to hang out with Jude and Dillon. They are fun to be with.”

The impact of FCVA’s initiatives extends beyond the immediate participants.

Thy Tran, Nicole’s parent, highlighted the broader benefits of the Friends@Home program, stating, “It is so nice to see the teens play together. I see that each teen gains valuable life experience in this relationship. My child looks forward to her hangout time with her teen friends. Jude’s parents are as genuine and sweet as they can be.”

She noted, “For me as a parent, I feel that I have gained my own friends.”

Dillion’s mom added “What I find so fulfilling about this friendship is seeing the beaming smile on Jude’s face when he sees Nicole and Dillon.  Likewise, I have witnessed the friendship really brought new energy to Dillon’s soul.”

She continued, “I am grateful and comforted knowing that the three of them share this incredible bond.”

Friendship Circle of Virginia continues to create ripples of positivity, demonstrating the transformative power of genuine connections and the immeasurable value of fostering friendships that go beyond societal norms.

In the heartwarming tale of Jude, Dillon, and Nicole, we witness the profound impact of inclusion, understanding, and the simple joy of companionship.

Visit FCVA.org to learn more about how Friendship Circle facilitates friendships and social opportunities for people with and without disabilities via their free programs enriching lives and building an inclusive community one friendship at a time.

Please consider joining our monthly giving circle to help support this nonprofit and the important work they are doing in our community.  friendshipcircleva.org/donate.