Fifteen years ago, my son Ruben and I and my daughter Jillie started the Circle of Friendship. The goal was to integrate the Very Specially Abled into the churches of Orange County. The youth of the church came once a week for dinner with the Very Specially Abled clients, had a small project with them, and then music and activities were planned. This was one of Jillie’s favorite events every week.
I have a special fund, called the “Jill Joanne Goodsell Fund for Loveliness & Beauty,” which will provide for the clients who have a need that arises in their life that might make a meaningful difference in the quality of their lives. The Studio gives concerts during the year for the Very Specially Abled clients. It is a highlight of their experience as well as mine. You will see some of my students performing in all of their magnificence, as well as me.
The clients of Circle of Friendship range from age 17 to 75. Special needs range from autism to profound retardation to Down Syndrome and every variation of special needs.