Based on the bedrock foundation of V’Ahavta L’Reacha Kamocha (Love your fellow as yourself), it is theFriendship Circle’s mission to:
- Engage children and teens with special needs through a full range of experiences.
- Provide parents and families of children and teens with special needs with much-needed respite and support.
- Enrich, inspire and motivate teens through the sharing of themselves with others.
- Create a sense of responsibility and connection to the Jewish community for teens through educational and social opportunities.
At the heart of all of Friendship Circle programming is the belief that each and every individual can be a productive member of the community and benefit from the social support offered by one’s peers. Friendship, acceptance and a chance to participate in socially accepted bonding opportunities are critical to achieving this type of inclusive society.
Friendship Circle aims to provide children and teenagers with autism and other special needs and their families with many of the social and recreational opportunities that are available to the general community. These experiences are essential building blocks for an individual to acquire confidence and self-esteem and to ultimately lead a productive, normative adult life.
We envision a world in which people with special needs and their families experience acceptance, inclusion and friendship as contributing members of society. We foresee a future where they never again have to suffer the social isolation that has often been so prevalent in society.
Friendship Circle aims to create an environment for teens that will nurture and inspire them with meaning, purpose and self-value; and create a connection to and responsibility for the greater Jewish community through innovative and stimulating programs. We see this as essential to developing and producing the members and leaders of tomorrow’s Jewish community.
Friendship Circle Today
As one of the fastest growing Jewish organizations in New Jersey, Friendship Circle’s wide array of innovative programming promotes a greater awareness and understanding of both the unique needs and the unique gifts of those with special needs, and encourages respect and empathy for those facing difficult challenges.
The children and families benefit from home visits, recreational group programming, winter and summer camps and athletic opportunities. Together with parents and siblings, children and teens with special needs celebrate the holidays with exciting, interactive programs that bring to life the spirit and richness of the Jewish traditions.
The Volunteer Club offers meaningful educational and social events for the teen mentors.