The 2K (1.25-mile) walk is new to Atlanta but has been used by other Friendship Circles for more than a decade. Rickelle New, the director of Friendship Circle of Atlanta, said the biggest walks draw 5,000 people, and “one day that will definitely be our goal.”
For the Atlanta walk’s debut, New said she expects about 350 people of all ages. The event also has eight organizational and 22 corporate sponsors.
Friendship Circle is a worldwide program started by Chabad to ensure friendship and inclusion for children and adults with special needs. The walk is raising money for programming and is itself inclusive, starting with the short length of 2 kilometers. New said stations throughout the route will offer activities to keep children entertained and interested.
The walk, starting at 1:30 p.m., will be followed by a carnival until 4 p.m. It will feature music, food for sale, a petting zoo, face painting, inflatables, a caricaturist, pony rides and other activities. Because Rosh Hashanah is only two weeks later, JCrafts’ shofar factory will operate at registration, which opens at 12:30 p.m.
“The event itself is essentially free. You can walk, participate in the carnival, all free of charge; however, we obviously are encouraging everybody when they register to set themselves a small fundraising goal,” New said.
The goal for the event is to raise $75,000; by Sept. 8, it had brought in about $50,000 toward that total, New said.
Friendship Circle is giving T-shirts to walk participants, but to be sure you get a shirt, you must register in advance at atlantafriendshipwalk.com, New said. Every member of a walking family should register, not just the parents.
“It’s really, really just about coming out and celebrating friendship and inclusion,” she said, “so we figure anyone who believes in that should be there.”
What: Walk4Friendship 2K
When: Sunday, Sept. 18, with registration at 12:30 p.m. and the walk at 1:30
Where: Brook Run Park, 4770 N. Peachtree Road, Dunwoody
Registration: Free (donations and fundraising requested); atlantafriendshipwalk.com