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 Friendship Wheel-A-Thon: Smiles, Laughter Say It All

Laura Alvarado, son Jorge at Friendship Wheel-A-ThonMore than 30 volunteers turned out April 20 to go the extra mile for 30 Friendship School students, along with teachers and staff members, for the ninth annual Wheel-A-Thon.

Volunteers wheeled a whopping 80.5 miles around the Imperial Beach campus to raise funds for the purchase of assistive technology that enhances the students’ learning experience. Friendship School provides specialized instruction for students ages 3 to 22 who are medically fragile with multiple disabilities.

Volunteers came from several San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) departments; Sweetwater Union High School District; South Bay Union, Chula Vista Elementary, and National school districts; Mater Dei Catholic High School; as well as parents, grandparents, and other friends of Friendship School.

Laura Alvarado of Bonita, whose 19-year-old son has attended Friendship School since 7th grade, shared her Wheel-A-Thon experience with SDCOE.

“I have always loved the Wheel-A-Thon, and I make it a priority to participate every year if Jorge’s health permits. I see how all of the students love it. The smiles and laughter say it all, as well as seeing the new, much-needed adaptive equipment, devices, and other features in the school that are only made possible by the funds raised. This event is important to me because it makes my son happy and because it raises funds for his school.

“The principal, teachers and staff are like a family. My son loves this school, and his best interest as well as the best interest of the other students are a priority to everyone at Friendship.

“I think it's important that others, particularly those who really do not have a lot of experience with those with different abilities, participate in events like the Wheel-A-Thon and really get to know a few of the students as well as the parents. It is a different world, full of unconditional love, challenges, and exhaustion.

“I go away from events like this with the satisfaction that my son was happy and had fun, as well as the other students. I am hoping that others take with them a new outlook on life and a thankfulness for the small, simple things in life. 

“I am grateful for the devotion and endless effort that Principal Diana Lynn and the staff put into our children. As parents, we are truly blessed to have our children attend Friendship School.”

​It's not too late to support the Wheel-A-Thon fundraiser. Contact Friendship School at 619-628-5645.