Elkton High senior starts group for teens with special needs
— An Elkton High School senior has started a local chapter of Fantastic Friends, a nonprofit organization that gives teens with special needs the opportunity to attend monthly social events.
Ashley Silverman, 17, re-
cently moved to the area from Voorhees, N.J., and started Fantastic Friends of North East Maryland in August. Silverman participated in Fantastic Friends while living in New Jersey along with her sister, who has special needs, and her brother.
The organization holds monthly social events that allow those with special needs to socialize with each other as well as with volunteer friends, Silverman said.
“I think it’s important for (teens with special needs) to have a place to socialize in a non-judgmental zone,” she said.
Silverman began planning to start the chapter shortly after moving to Elkton over the summer and since then has been working on completing the necessary paperwork and spreading the word about the organization. Silverman hopes to hold the group’s first event in November, which will likely consist of a pizza party with arts and crafts.
Future events might include bowling or picnics, Silverman added.
Everyone with special needs who attends will be paired up with a buddy who stays with them throughout the event, Silverman said. From her previous experience with Fantastic Friends, Silverman said she has seen the difference the organization has made not only for her sister and others with special needs, but in her own life as well.
“It’s made me a better per- son,” she said. “It’s good to give back to people.”
While the group has no formal membership, those looking to get involved or attend future events can contact Silverman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 609233-7584 or follow the Fantastic Friends of North East Maryland Facebook page.
Members of the South Jersey chapter of Fantastic Friends pose for a photo. After being involved with the group there, Ashley Silverman has started a chapter of the organization in Cecil County.