Friendship: The Heart of Friends Life Community

How much value do you place on your friendships? Can you imagine life without your closest friends? Who do you turn to in times of joy and sorrow? These questions are at the core of what we stand for at Friends Life Community (FLC).

A Vision of Lifelong Friendships

When FLC was founded, Jack Herndon penned a heartfelt letter as Board President on behalf of the founders. In that letter, he expressed a profound vision, stating that their reward would be the Friends saying, “We are best friends – we are one family.”

FLC proudly celebrates 15 years of transforming that vision into reality this year. We could enumerate countless accomplishments, from overcoming obstacles to breaking through community barriers and witnessing incredible personal growth. Our annual reports are filled with quantifiable celebrations that speak volumes.

The Fundamental Human Need: Friendship

However, at the core of it all, FLC was founded on the essence of friendship, a fundamental human need that transcends any quantifiable metric. True success is best observed from our front porch.

Front Porch Moments:

A crowd of people in colorful clothing sits on the front steps of a large porch

On our front porch, you witness Friends arriving without hesitation, greeted by familiar faces, warm smiles, and the sweet sound of their names being called. Lunch often unfolds on this porch, with Friends choosing their seats, engaging in genuine conversations, and occasionally even bickering, as true friends do.

Moments of Shared Joy:

Two woman seated a table, each with a plate that holds a cupcake or cookie with a lit birthday candle.

Birthdays, Halloween, and Christmas are some of the happiest occasions at FLC. Our front porch witnesses the excitement of shared sugary goodness, heartfelt praises, and encouragement. Birthdays here are a celebration of life itself, where hugs, cheers, and cake are mandatory.

Celebrating Life Together:

But it’s not just birthdays; every day is a celebration of life at FLC. The Friends constantly uplift each other, finding joy in each other’s company.

A Family Bond:

Three young women together outside, each wearing different shades of pink jackets. The woman in the middle is seated in a wheelchair.

Recently, we faced the heartache of losing one of our own. A Friend who had been part of our community from the beginning passed away. While she couldn’t attend FLC regularly, the Friends would visit her at home, performing songs and plays for her. She was known and cherished here.

Friendship Through Grief:

I was deeply moved when I attended her funeral. Many of our Friends attended, dressed up and hugging each other. Michael put his arm around another Friend and said, “We are a family.” It echoed Jack’s original letter, “We are best friends – we are one family.”

Friendship extends to moments of grief, reminding us that it’s an essential part of the human experience. Shielding adults with disabilities from heartache denies them the dignity of meaningful friendships. Celebrating life with someone also means experiencing the grief of loss.

Authentic Friendships:

Friendship isn’t just about the joyful, fun moments; it’s also about navigating the messy, challenging times. Often, individuals with disabilities are sheltered from the full spectrum of true friendships. While wanting our loved ones to experience only the positive side is natural, a complete friendship encompasses joy and sorrow. At FLC, our Friends live authentically, embracing friendship’s fullness.

This year, we proudly celebrate 15 years of Friendship. Fifteen years of being known by name, sharing laughter and tears, and forging bonds that last a lifetime. It’s a monumental reward for our Friends and their families. Through friendship, we will continue to nurture this community, ensuring our Friends always have a front porch where they can gather, celebrate, and enjoy the beauty of shared life together.

#FriendshipMatters #Inclusion #15YearsStrong #15YearsOfFriendship