USC Brothers Provide Safe Space for Children With Special Needs Through Work With Friendship Foundation

Chapter brothers with children from The Friendship Foundation

Alex Kogan knew that he was not quite ready to let go of his  California home, so when the time came to choose a college, the decision to attend the University of Southern California (USC) was fairly simple. In similar fashion, the choice to join Lambda Chi Alpha was a no-brainer.

While Kogan loved the idea of becoming part of a new brotherhood (leaving behind two siblings at home), he was pleasantly surprised to find that becoming a member of Lambda Chi meant more than just a good time.

For the past few years, the Zeta-Delta chapter at USC has partnered with The Friendship Foundation. Beginning as The Friendship Circle, the organization provided a safe place for Jewish children with mental disabilities  Today, the branch of The Friendship Foundation with whom the Zeta-Delta chapter works welcomes all children with special needs in the South Bay area of Los Angeles.

Barbecues are one of many activities brothers host for the children of The Friendship Foundation.

Kogan and his fellow brothers are dedicated to the mission of providing children with special needs a place to be themselves. Examples of events held at the chapter’s house include barbecues, basketball games, dance-offs and many more bonding activities. All members of the chapter aim to create a space for the children where they feel safe and welcome, while receiving the chance to be social with brothers who care deeply about them.

“For a lot of them, being social isn’t the easiest task, so providing them a place where there are other kids with the same disabilities allows them to develop,” said Kogan. “I think our role in that is also pivotal because when they come to the fraternity, there are typically tons of brothers there.”

Kogan describes his bond with the children he meets from The Friendship Foundation as so much more than a service event, but a chance to connect with the community that has become a part of him.

“Being philanthropic is entirely necessary and helpful, but there is something much more impactful on a personal level from getting involved with the community,” stated Kogan. “We develop bonds with the kids and really see the difference we make in their lives as well as the difference they make in ours.

“Being a part of Lambda Chi is being a part of something bigger than yourself, it is about growing as an individual and giving back when you can.”

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