In 1989, Ellijay Lions Club saw the need for a recreational program targeted towards the mentally and physically challenged young adults in Gilmer County. The Special Friends program started with three individuals, one girl and two boys. Today, the program has to thirty six members.
Special Friends meets the fourth Thursday of every month at six o’clock in the evening. An average of 75% – 80% of the members are in attendance at each meeting. There are currently three members in wheel chairs and two blind members. Activities are planned that everyone can enjoy. Some of the activities are horseback riding, bowling, and attending movies. Special Friends has visited the Bill Elliott Museum, the Pearson Llama Farm, the Atlanta Zoo, the Georgia State Capitol, Stone Mountain, the Chattanooga Aquarium and the Tennessee River Boat ride. Special Friends also participates in the July 4th Parade, attends the Gilmer County Fair, and attends the Shrine Circus each year. .
Sometimes Special Friends meets at the Lions Den and serves food, invites cloggers, has live musicians, celebrates birthdays, or enjoys puppets. A Christmas Party is planned each year and all Special Friends and their families are invited. There are gifts for each Special Friend and Santa always makes a visit to deliver the presents.
Current activities -- visit to Build An Ark Animal sanctuary, live music, in house games like hockey, Halloween costume party, Gilmer County fair and Christmas party and always food.
Anyone interested in joining the Special Friends group should call Jane Weaver at 706-273-4563, or contact any Ellijay Lions Club member .
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