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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Children & Youth Services

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

Programs: Friendship circle of san diego enriches the lives of children, teens and adults with special needs through social and recreational experiences and inspires volunteers to participate in building a stronger and more inclusive community

Community Stories

16 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Friendship Circle in SD has strong leadership and offers a wealth of program opportunities for socialization and recreational fun. From horseback riding, sailing, bowling, miniature golf, crafts and games, holiday parties, the zoo and animal encounters to a magic show. We have found the dedicated volunteers to be sincere, warm, friendly, creative, and prepared. They have helped and encouraged our 24 year old daughter to join in and get involved with every event she has attended while being sensitive to her personal level of comfort. The Friendship Circle has helped her to develop better confidence and self-esteem in a variety of social situations while giving joy and a sense of belonging. For the past 2 years Annie, a volunteer, has visited our home for a weekly game of scrabble with our daughter. They have developed a warm and caring friendship filled with trust and conversation. The quality of our daughter's life is very much enhanced because of Annie and The Friendship Circle.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Friendship Circle SD fills a huge void in the community, linking children with delays with a typical peer. The people I have encountered running the program have been some of the most caring and generous people you will ever meet. T cannot say enough about this organization and the great work they do each and every day on behalf of our children. My son loves the sports club they have and looks so forward to their monthly meetings. Elisheva Green and Rabbi Mendy and all of the other volunteers do an amazing job and we as parents of special needs children are so grateful to have Friendship Circle here in S.D.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Friendship Circle in San Diego is a great organization - that has a simple, extremely important mission - providing services to those with special needs. All the people involved with the FC from the director on down - to the volunteers are wonderful, caring individuals. We started working with them a few months ago, and it has been wonderful.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

This organization makes my son feel normal, accepted, appreciated and loved. When they play baseball and my son does not understand all the rules or cannot always hit the ball great, they say, that's 3 1/2 outs, you're ok, keep trying. They have wonderful volunteers who cheerfully take over, giving parents time to rest, socialize and learn new skills when dealing with children with disabilities. Everyone there is very nurturing and you feel like you can talk about the stress in your life without people lifting brows and not wanting to hear all your sad stories. They welcome your feelings, offer suggestions, praise and warm smiles.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Friendship Circle has been such an amazing part of my son's life for the past 4 years. He has autism and friends are hard to come by for him. When he attends the Friendship Circle events, his face lights up. He feels apart of a group and feels so welcome. He also enjoys when friends come to our home to play with him. He talks about it all week and plans the toys he will share with them.