FRIENDSHIP CIRCLE SD INC

Rating: 4.96 stars   48 reviews

Issues: Children & Youth

Location: 16934 Chabad Way Poway CA 92064 USA

Mission: The Friendship Circle's mission is to provide families who have children, teens, and young adults with special needs a full range of social and recreational experiences. At its heart is the belief that every individual, regardless of ability, can be a productive member of the community and benefit from the social support offered by one's peers. We hope that someday people with special needs will be fully included in society, replacing social isolation, bullying, and loneliness with acceptance, participation, and friendship. The Friendship Circle in San Diego held its first event in 2005, welcoming more than 20 program participants, their families and volunteers. Since then, Friendship Circle has grown to over 200 teen volunteers, 30 college-age volunteers, and 100 professional adult volunteers and serves over 100 families who have members with special needs. While medical research is finding cures for disease, the prevalence of disabilities is increasing.  Society is struggling to accommodate the needs of people with disabilities and there has been real progress.  The Americans with Disabilities Act, mainstreaming of students in classrooms, government agencies and national non-profit organizations are all working hard to level the playing field through legislation, funding, and health services.  But friendship is not on their “to do” list.  For The Friendship Circle, it is the ONLY thing on the “to do” list.
Results: We increase social skills and self-esteem of participants through one-on-one sessions with typically developing teens in the following activities: Friends@Home programs, Monthly Yoga Classes, Teen, Women's and Men's Clubs, Outings such as horse-back riding, Boomers, hiking, picnics, etc.
Target demographics: Children, teens, and young adults with developmental and other disabilities and their families living in San Diego County.
Direct beneficiaries per year: In the last seven years, over 300 families with children with special needs and 500 families of volunteers, for a total of over 2,000 people, have been involved with the Friendship Circle.
Geographic areas served: San Diego County
2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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EIN 20-3472700
858-487-4879
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

Our son loves going on outings with Friendship Circle. Volunteers pick him and take him to barbecues, horse rides, bowling events, professional baseball games, visits to the downtown waterfront, etc. Friendship Circle makes for one of the few things he has to look forward several times a month. It's a great organization that operates on a tiny budget and it deserves our support.

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Rating: 5 stars  

Friendship Circle San Diego is AWESOME!!!! My kids love going to the fun program that are happening throughout the year. Their favorite is Purim. The director puts her heart into it, and it shows. Friendship Circle San Diego deserves all the acknowledgments. We want this program to continue and expand. GO FRIENDSHIP CIRCLE SAN DIEGO!!!

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

Our son has always had trouble maintaining friendships. At 8 years old, he spends most days playing adventure games by himself or with us, but not with any peers. His typical peers don't understand him and are afraid of his behaviors. They just don't want to be his friend. Lucky for us, we found The Friendship Circle of San Diego. He so looks forward to weekend outings where he is paired with a trained teen volunteer to be his friend for the day. He asks me every week - "Is this a Friendship Circle weekend?" The smile on his face at these events is priceless. Recently, the Friendship Circle invited families to join them at a baseball game with the Padres. Our son cannot sit still for a ballgame, but the volunteer followed him around the whole day and got him involved with swinging a bat at an onsite kids' diamond. He was up to bat twice and scored! He was so excited! We would have never had the opportunity or the energy to take him ourselves to a game and he will never forget the experience. With events every month, sometimes twice a month, there is plenty of opportunity for him to be out in the community with friends. We would love to have Friends at Home visits once the program expands into our area. As we live in the rural outskirts of town we are on a waiting list, but having heard from others, this program will be a wonderful opportunity for him to have friends come to the house and visit him. He will be so excited and happy when this happens.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

Friendship Circle of SD has helped my brother who has a very rare syndrome emensly. Every time I speak with him, he tells me about the next activity or event coming up. Thanks to Friendship Circle, he now has a social, educational and stimulating schedule to keep him busy during evenings and weekends. This is very important to me, since I live in Europe and am unable to spend time with him myself. I am a program director of an international European non-profit organization. I have extensive experience with non-profit organizations, and I have been very impressed with how efficeint friendship circle is run both with focus on every detail of the programs themselves, the care for each individal involved, and in the meticulous budgeting of the organization. I feel confident when donating to Friendship Circle, because almost all resources are spent directly on providing programs. I wish it were possible to make more funds available to Friendship Circle which in turn would benefit more special needs children and provide them with more programing.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeing how happy and fulfilled my brother has become thanks to his involvment. He has done unbeleivable things such as surfing which would never have been possible without Frienship circle. I was amazed when he proudly announced that he could surf!

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

how they involve everyone. They encourage everyone to use their tallents to help Friendship circle. It makes each person involved feel worthwhile and experience the satisfaction of generousity and teamwork.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

kind and attentive. Open to ideas and advice.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-10-01

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Rating: 4 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

I volunteer at the Friendship Circle and I have so much fun with it. It doesn't only benefit the families with special needs, it also benefits the volunteers. I have learned so much from the hours I have given and have grown in a spiritual way as well.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

nice, friendly, and good-hearted.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-10-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

The Friendship Circle is an amazing program, being that it is a program where everyone benefits. The child or adult with special needs gains a friend, and the volunteer gains a real sense of sensitivity, friendship, and responsiblilty. Elisheva has done an amazing job of integrating all age ranges of both "friend" and volunteer, througout the entire San Diego area, a true accomplishment.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

seeing the delight on the faces of both "friend" and volunteer when they see each other, be it at a home visit, or at a program.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-9-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

My son is on the autism spectrum, and although he is desperate to have friends and have fun, he has not been successful in making friends. For the past three years he has benefited so much from the volunteer teens who come to our home twice a week and play with him. He has grown so much socially, and his self-esteem has improved as he feels liked, valuable, and that he matters. These wonderful volunteer boys have completely changed my son's life. They are incredible. Thank-you Friendship Circle for the important work you do in improving the quality of life for so many children with disabilities.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeing the positive change in my son. He has progressed from being a sad, lonely little boy with low self-esteem, to being a confident young man who feels like a valued member of the community.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-1-01

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Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

Friendship Circle of San Diego is an awesome program. Every program that my kids and I have gone to, have been incredible. The program is run in such a professional way, and always geared to the kids. I can't wait for my oldest son to be old enough to volunteer. There is so much to learn for him. I just want to say "hats off" to Elisheva the Director and to her staff. Keep up the good work.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the fact that everyone is welcome. Whoever wants to participate can come and have a great time. The programs are always fun, and run well.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-9-01

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Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

The Friendship Circle is a unique and effective organization that provides children the opportunity to experience, learn and have fun with teen mentors. Not only do the teen volunteers benefit from meaningful one-on-one relationships with their assigned partner, the participants benefit from the opportunity to pair with "typical" kids, a much needed dynamic in building social integration skills. Hats off to EliSheva and her growing team!

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

motivated, skilled and in committed service to the participants (children).

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-8-01

Was this review helpful? 
Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

My experience has been extremely positive, both as a volunteer playing music at events, as well as bringing my adult sister to participate in women's events. EliSheva has really filled a long existing need in our community, which benefits not only the disabled population, but also the teenagers who volunteer to befriend the clients served by Friendship Circle. I am hopeful that she will be able to continue to offer these important services for many years to come.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

how my sister was encouraged to interract with other women with similar handicaps, as well as expose her to Jewish content in fun and interesting ways that always encourage active participation.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-5-01

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