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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

6 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

paula-matthews

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Friendship Circle is a wonderful organization. It teaches compassion and understanding to its volunteers and it helps children and adults with special needs. It is an active organization in the community, one filled with love, respect and empathy. When my daughter volunteered for Friendship Circle I was able to see and appreciate the great work they do and the important services they provide.

Liora G.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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!!!

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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!

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Friendship Circle is one of best things that happened for my sister. Over the past several years that my sister has been attending the Friendship Circle events/activities it has brought learning, joy, confidenence, acceptance, growth & friendship with other adults with disabilities. The is the best thing that has come into my sister's life