Nicole Kahan

Nicole Kahan started out volunteering with the Friends at Home Program in seventh grade, and as a college student, she now leads Sunday Circle each week.

Sponsored by Friendship Circle

Photography by Brett Mountain

Nicole Kahan was a seventh grader at Hillel Day School in Farmington Hills when she heard about a place where she could volunteer to befriend children with special needs. Her first experience volunteering with Friendship Circle was with the Friends at Home program offering families respite and friendship for their children with special needs.

“I will never forget that first day being dropped off to meet my Buddy,” Kahan says. “I was nervous at first. But then, all I needed to do was spend time with her and be a friend. That visit changed everything for me.”

Kahan was so committed to the impact she was able to have on each Buddy’s life that she began volunteering weekly. In high school, she was a regular, volunteering almost every day after school and on the weekends at Friendship Circle. She is also one of the first board members for Friendship Circle’s UMatter program.

“I started coming any time I could,” Kahan says. “I was here after school for Social Circle on Tuesdays, Life Skills on Wednesdays and Sunday Circle, too. I worked with different Buddies all the time and learned so much about how to find a way to connect with even the most difficult kids to help them feel like they had a place to have fun here.”

Now a sophomore at Wayne State University, Kahan is studying psychology with an emphasis on Applied Behavior Analysis. Her decision to study psychology is due in large part to her work at Friendship Circle. Kahan drives back every Sunday to work as a leader at Sunday Circle.

“Honestly, without Friendship Circle, I’d be so sad. When people ask me where I see myself in 10 years, I tell them, I hope it’s working at Friendship Circle,” Kahan says. “Everyone should volunteer here at least once to see this place and all that happens from this one space.”

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Read more: A Friendship That Changes Lives

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