On Sunday, bright and early, thousands walked in unity in The Skechers Pier-to-Pier Friendship Walk. The community of friends raised $1,358,653 in support of children with special needs, and for education across the South Bay.
The walk began at the Manhattan Beach Pier for a 3.5-mile round trip to the Hermosa Beach Pier under a pleasant cloud cover, shielding walkers from the October heat. The waves crashed and the sand glistened as supporters walked the boardwalk as one, large mass of friends, enjoying a morning of cohesive support of one another. Music was playing, cheerleaders were cheering, bands were playing, Tommy Lasorda and Sugar Ray Leonard ignited the crowd, and everyone was literally dancing in the streets. They were all one, special needs kids and all, walking simply as friends.
This magical event was sponsored by Skechers and co-produced by The Friendship Circle, and all proceeds went to The Friendship Circle, El Segundo Ed Foundation, Hermosa Beach Ed Foundation, Palos Verdes Ed Foundation, Redondo Beach Ed Foundation, and Torrance Ed Foundation.
The Friendship Circle is a South Bay organization that “exists to bring happiness and companionship to children and young adults with special needs by celebrating their uniqueness and individuality.” The Friendship Circle operates in elementary, middle, and high schools throughout the South Bay, from El Segundo down to Palos Verdes, as well as through a plethora of activities outside of school for children with special needs.
In school, general and special education students eat lunch together once a week; at our club we play games and laugh during our special hour together. This program encourages awareness for general education students and creates an environment in which friendships can develop with students in special education. In addition, students in special education now see familiar, friendly faces at school. Through Friendship Circle, individuals with special needs have made friends throughout the school!
In addition to supporting the Friendship Circle, the Skechers Walk also raised funds for schools throughout the South Bay. With budget cuts in throughout California, these dollars are critical to essential programs for our schools.
It is awe-inspiring to see so many people come out and support the South Bay community, to care enough to give a morning to friends and to South Bay schools.
As a Friendship Circle President and a member of the Skechers Teen Advisory Board, I have had the first hand honor of developing the richest, most endearing connections with my Friendship Circle buddies. When I started out, I had no idea how important these friends would become to me. I cherish their smiles, their happiness, and their acceptance of me. This year, we walked together for the second time as a group, kids and parents, general and special needs, walking, talking, laughing. I am so proud of our bond- I have learned so much from my friends and it is my honor to support the Skechers Pier to Pier Friendship Walk.
Here’s more information on Got Friends
Here’s more information on the Sketchers Friendship Walk