Friendship Circle turns friends into family
The Friendship Circle exists to bring happiness and companionship to children and young adults with special needs by celebrating their individuality, as well as bringing energy, support, and peace of mind to their families.
To do this, we focus on developing the values of altruism, compassion, and acceptance in our teen volunteers as we heighten community awareness and sensitivity and encourage a sense of responsibility and involvement.
How We See It
Everyone in this world has a unique purpose. When we focus on abilities instead of disabilities, those with special needs can be part of the strongest friendships and influence people in positive ways that others can’t. Unwavering acceptance, positive thinking, honesty, and commitment are just a few of the important lessons these individuals teach by example.
What We Do
Friendship Circle chapters in local communities create meaningful relationships and friendships between teen volunteers and children with special needs, increasing confidence, igniting dreams, and redefining worldviews for both parties.
Friendship Circle International has more than 80 regional chapters around the world and counting.
The Rebbe Our Inspiration
Lovingly known as “The Rebbe,” Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of blessed memory, had an unconditional love for people that knew no bounds. He made everyone feel that they belonged, that they were at home. With a warm smile that would heal every aching heart, the Rebbe was always there, offering counsel and blessings, comfort and hope, and even material help, as well.
The core of the Rebbe’s teachings is that none of us is complete unless all of us are included. It is this concept that motivates the Friendship Circle.
Zalman and Toba Grossbaum
Yossi and Estie Marozov
Levi and Bassie Shemtov
Devorah Leah Rubenstein
Every week, pairs of trained teenage volunteers visit children with special needs at home. These one- or two-hour visits go a long way to curing loneliness through board games, stories, music, and play.
The Friendship winter and summer camps for children with special needs offer a brief respite to parents and siblings, while providing campers with the time of their lives. Campers have a blast and gain new skills through songs, stories, crafts, and other activities.
Holidays are a time for family. The Friendship Circle’s innovative activities enable the whole family to participate, each at his or her own level. This educational and entertaining approach helps families to connect with their Jewish heritage and the Jewish community at large.
Children’s Torah Circle
This program helps to teach children everything from gross motor and cognitive techniques to communication and language skills. Music, stories, arts and crafts, and socializing provide children with special needs varied ways to learn about their beautiful Jewish heritage.
Sports are a great way to build friendships, confidence, and physical health. Volunteers help kids to shoot hoops, kick goals, throw and catch under the watchful eyes of a professional instructor.
Sibling Support Programs
Siblings of children with special needs often need support for their emotions. Sibling support programs provide opportunities for brothers and sisters of children with special needs learn and share with their peers. Thanks to creative discussions and fun activities, siblings take home skills to face challenges in their own lives.
For a child with special needs, the “outside world” can seem overwhelmingly strange. Professionals along with teen volunteers help these children to become comfortable in, and able to take advantage of, public places. This helps them to become as self-sufficient as possible.
Volunteers, families, and friends of Friendship Circle show their solidarity and support through a sponsored walkathon. All funds support Friendship Circle programs.
Run a marathon, bike across the country, or hike the Grand Canyon while showing the world that every individual deserves love, respect, and most importantly friendship. Team Friendship provides all the resources you need while you get active to raise funds for your local Friendship Circle chapter.
*Friendship Circle chapters are independently owned and operated. All programs, events and/or services listed here are for informational purposes only. Friendship Circle International takes no responsibility for any errors or for any of the programming/services offered.