Our Mission Statement
Supporting, empowering and bringing inclusion to adults with physical and/or developmental disabilities.
Circle of Friends Ministry is a Lake Wales-based, non-profit Christian organization that provides support, friendship and a day training program to “Special Needs” children and young adults – those with physical and / or developmental disabilities – and their families.
People with disabilities need to be seen first as a person and not their disabilities. Neighbors and community members are often unsure how to respond to these needs, so children and young adults with disabilities and their families are left to feel abandoned behind walls of isolation and prejudice.
Circle of Friends was founded by Lake Wales resident Mertice Fehringer who, after failing to find support for her own special needs family, decided to take a stand and become an advocate for her daughter; she was determined to make a difference in their lives and in her community
for her daughter who was developmentally challenged and other children with disabilities she had come to know and love.
The campaign to address the barriers of fear and prejudice that separate our special friends families from their communities began in a small Sunday school class in 1995. Since then Circle of Friends Ministry has blazed a trail through barred doors, helping people with disabilities discover the same opportunities that others enjoy.
Within these pages you will find children with all types of disabilities and ages along with their Non-disabled friends. Sending out a message to our community that children – all adults – need love, acceptance, and the feeling of belonging. They need to know they are valuable for who they are and what they can give.