Friendship Circle has been such an important part of, not only my daughter’s life, but my family’s. Sydney has attended FC for well over 10 years. You could say she has “grown up” there. Rabbi Mordy and Rivkee welcomed our family from the very beginning. We quickly felt included not isolated. I wish I could list all the Staff that have helped us throughout the years and continue to do so. No problem was or is too big for them to solve. It’s effortless for them. Everything handled with grace. Attending Mom’s Night Out events has allowed me to bond with other moms who know exactly what my story is. Everyone listens and advises. Lastly, Syd has met so many friends. She has participated in many events and outings. She has been able to practice her social skills and converse about anything and everything. For this, my husband and I have been and will continue to be extremely grateful. Life wouldn’t be the same without FC! FC has changed our lives!
My son Michael has been participating in Friendship Circle activities since its inception. He loves all the activities they have, even those that with anyone else, he would not want to participate in. He is now on a leadership committee for Friends on the Town, a subgroup for older individuals.
One of the best, of all the wonderful things they have done, is create a lot of programming for individuals over 18. This group does not have many other groups catering to them. As a parent of a special needs adult, I am so grateful for this group; it has given my son a social life beyond my expectations. Barbara Wolvovitz
Friendship circle is such a welcoming place. I had a hard year in 7th grade and the staff were so welcoming. Hayli Firtell was so amazing and the staff were awesome. Rabbi Mordy Rudolph was accepting and Rivkee Rudolph was awesome .
The Friendship Circle has made such a difference in my daughter's life. We joined a year ago. Our first activity was apple picking. When we walked in to join the group, I noticed another child with autism having an EPIC meltdown, just the kind my daughter has anywhere from once to twenty times a day. I caught my breath....waiting for what I normally experience as a mom...the stares, the under the breath comments. None of that came. The child was accepted for who she was and where she was. Her mother was supported by the other parents. We have all been there. I knew that day that we found a place where Evelyn could find friends. In the past 2 years, Evelyn has been invited to ONE birthday party. She has been invited to zero sleepovers and zero playdates. Friendship circle gives her what so many other families take for granted.....playdates, birthday parties, social activities. Fun with her peers! It has made a huge difference for evelyn to feel accepted and be allowed to be herself. She is learning to be a friend.
The Friendship Circle of Pittsburgh, www.fcpgh.org, inspires my whole family to give. The Friendship Circle is dedicated to helping children and young adults with special needs to become more fully integrated into the broader community. The program allows children and young adults with special needs to enjoy the company of teenage and young adult volunteers in a full range of social activities. My older son was born 10 weeks premature and has had some struggles because of it. In first grade, we were connected with a new organization, The Friendship Circle, and two high school students became his friends that came to our house each week to play with him and help him socialize. He outgrew his need for this, but the organization always held a special place in my heart. When he was in seventh grade, it was his turn to start volunteering. Maybe because he knows how it feels to struggle, he has made The Friendship Circle a priority in his life. The organization has grown since the early days, and he now goes to Bowling League, Cooking Club, and many other activities to volunteer with his friends. He gets to be social with kids he has known since preschool as well as the friends he has made at Friendship Circle. He has come out of his shell with his delays to be on event committees and leadership committees that promote Friendship Circle to the community at large. The best part is that every activity is free for the friends with special needs as well as the teen volunteers. Seeing the way Friendship Circle has so positively affected our son, and the community at large, has given me the inspiration to donate to The Friendship Circle, volunteer my time, and encourage my younger son to volunteer.
Review from #MyGivingStory
I have seen children grow through their time at the Friendship Circle. I have watched their confidence build and relationships form through the amazing experiences they have there. It is a safe environment where the only thing the kids and young adults have to think about is having fun. It is a place where they know they will be accepted and welcomed with open arms and a smile.
I am an adult volunteer with this wonderful organization helping to integrate kids and special adults of all abilities. They make it a rewarding experience.