Friendship Circle of Greater Phoenix

The Friendship Circle promotes a greater awareness and understanding of the unique needs and the unique gifts of people with special needs, and encourages respect and empathy for those facing challenges.
Location: Phoenix , AZ
Year founded: 2004

Description

The Friendship Circle provides assistance and support to the families of children with special needs as well as to individuals and families struggling with addiction, isolation, and other crises.

In addition to helping those in need, the Friendship Circle empowers and enriches its network of volunteers, the majority of whom are teenagers, by enabling them to reap the vast rewards of giving of themselves.

The Friendship Circle was founded in 2005 by Chabad of Arizona.

The Friendship Circle is committed to serving all members of the community regardless of religious affiliation.

The Friendship Circle consists of five parts - volunteers, children, parents, staff, and supporters. The true beauty of the Circle is how all of the elements link together to form a seamless community of friendship.

Just as a circle has neither end nor beginning, our community offers promise, hope and love that have no bounds. Who can say who benefits the most from the Friendship Circle programs - the child with special needs who learns how to ride a bicycle, or her parents who get a much needed break, or the volunteer whose spirit soars to new heights?

Through a wide range of services, projects and facilities, the Friendship Circle is able to touch the lives of many people each year.


Friendship Bakery

About

The Friendship Bakery is a transitional program which is dedicated to preparing its participants for securing and maintaining a job in the community, specifically within the restaurant business. Each week the group meets in a professional kitchen and bakes delicious challah. The bakers acquire skills such as measuring, identification and correct use of ingredients and equipment, kitchen safety and cleanliness, and basic business management. The Bakery is a warm, vibrant and happy place where each participant learns and grows while having a great time.

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What is the mission and purpose of this program?

Friendship Bakery aims to empower individuals with disabilities by challenging them to take on the responsibilities of creating and selling delicious baked goods. And then use the skills they receive to be able to get a job.

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Program Description

The Friendship Bakery meets weekly. Participants will learn the process of baking challah bread, and will learn a number of social, kitchen and food preparation skills in the process. The Friendship Bakery will have its challah sold at local stores, so participants will be responsible for baking the challah on schedule to meet demand.


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Demonstrated Need

Participants of the Bakery will acquire and develop these skills:

Baking Skills

  • Measuring and pouring
  • Identification and correct use of ingredients and equipment
  • Following a recipe
  • Kneading and rolling out dough
  • Braiding the challah
  • Pre-heating and using an oven
  • Using a scale for accurate weights

Life Skills

  • Hand washing
  • Kitchen safety
  • Time management
  • Scheduling
  • Hygiene
  • Cleaning up after oneself

Social Skills

  • Communicating in a job environment
  • Learning about job etiquette
  • Delegation of tasks
  • Group work

Business Skills

  • Basic business management
  • Marketing a product
  • Sales to local business and private buyers
  • Deliveries
  • Restaurant work

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Program Accomplishments

This is a new progam for us

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How do you measure the success of your program?

We constantly asses ourselves and evaluate the stregnths and weakness of our program and how we can make it better. We will evalute the skills learnt by the adults with special needs and learn from our experiance how we can impart more social and business skills

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Parents Night Out

About

Our Parents Nights Out program is for parents of children with special needs from our community. Mothers and fathers of kids with special needs have an event every other month to give the parents an evening of respite and socializing with others from our community.


One of the goals of Friendship Circle, aside from providing recreational activities for children, is to create a sense of community for families that have kids with special needs. These events provide an opportunity for parents to meet each other and gain support from people that really get them.

In addition to the respite and socializing these nights provide these parents, our night outs also gives parents the time to refresh so that they can go home and be better more confident parents.

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What is the mission and purpose of this program?

Our goal is twofold; one of it is to give parents a night out, So they can just relax and enjoy themselves. Secondly, we wish to allow them the opportunity to meet other parents and build up that sense of community. Some of these parents due to their life circumstance do not have the opportunity to engage in the Jewish community, this can be isolating and make raising strong jewish children very hard. These nights out are there to provide the inspiration and confidence to involve themselves and their children in the Jewish community as well as let them know they are not alone, there are people experiencing the same challenges as them and there to support and encourage them.

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Program Description

Our parents night out includes nights for moms, dads, and both parents. These events will take place approximately every other month. Each night is different and ranges from relaxing spa nights to Topgolf. At every evening out we always include a discussion about a Jewish concept and/or speaker to build a sense of community and connection to each other. The beneficiaries of our program are firstly the parents of children with special needs who attend the program, however, the entire family and greater community benefits from these programs.

When parents who are usually only focused on others, take the time for themselves for self care and to gain inspiration, their marriages become stronger, they are able to be better parents, and they can contribute to the Jewish community in a meaningful way.

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Demonstrated Need

Being a parent is exhausting and time consuming, being a parent of a child with special needs is that much more challenging, their child usually require 24/7 care and can be overwhelming and isolating. Most of the parents of children with special needs rarely get to go out by themselves or get to participate in community events. Our programs are there to make these parents feel included and supported.

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Program Accomplishments

As we have only done a few "small" parents night outs, we can only attest to the feedback wehave gotten from the parents who have joined us. It has reinvigorated their week/month. Giving them "head space" and tranquility to be better parents and present with their children. 

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How do you measure the success of your program?

Although you cannot measure the gift of Friendship & Inclusion, as we are taught “saving one life, is like saving the entire world”.

In a small way you measure success by how many parents joined your events. But you can not minimize the "butterfly" effect helping even just one parent has. It trickles down to their family, kids and even their extended circle of acquaintances.

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Young Adult Circle

About

Our Young Adult Circle is an opportunity for adults with special needs interact with other “typical” Jewish adults in fun & social settings. with a wide array of different programs and events geared for adults with special needs and their "typical" peers

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What is the mission and purpose of this program?

To engage Jewish Young adults with special needs in our beutiful Jewish Community

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Program Description

Right now our Young adult group meets throughout the year for socializing and life skills. We would like to expand and offer a Jewish Experiential Learning Program. This is based on an already successful model of the Friendship Circle in Atlanta.

This is a Jewish learning experience for adults with developmental disabilities. Participants learn Jewish topics of interest through individualized teaching, games, crafts and hands on activities followed by dinner.

In addition, we would like to incorporate in some way a sense of volunteering and giving back element into at least some of these events.

Throughout the program, participants get the chance to bond and create friendships with their enthusiastic and caring typical Young Adult buddies.

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Demonstrated Need

This is important for everyone, but especially important for adults with special needs. This instills within them a sense of pride and comfort in the community they are not just receiving from but are also active & contributing members of the Jewish community. They will feel like they belong, they are part of the Jewish community. Both for the adults with special needs and the “Now Gen” adults who would be joining them on these programs.

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Program Accomplishments

The Friendship Circle continues to grow in our valley. We started with just one program and have continual expanded and provided more services for our community. We

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How do you measure the success of your program?

We hope to create a sense of belonging for these adults to the Jewish Community and instill a love and pride in being Jewish. This will be assessed with feedback asked after each event and by measuring our retention and recruitment success.

In the long run we hope the events themselves will hopefully introduce them to other Jews both for networking purposes and for long term relationships (business, friendship or marriage) and hopefully pave the way for them to take bigger steps in joining and participating in other Jewish events and programs our wonderful city has to offer. We see this as an equal important part and goal of this program.

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Young Adult Circle

About

Our Young Adult Circle is an opportunity for adults with special needs interact with other “typical” Jewish adults in fun & social settings. with a wide array of different programs and events geared for adults with special needs and their "typical" peers

Back to Top

What is the mission and purpose of this program?

To engage Jewish Young adults with special needs in our beutiful Jewish Community

Back to Top

Program Description

Right now our Young adult group meets throughout the year for socializing and life skills. We would like to expand and offer a Jewish Experiential Learning Program. This is based on an already successful model of the Friendship Circle in Atlanta.

This is a Jewish learning experience for adults with developmental disabilities. Participants learn Jewish topics of interest through individualized teaching, games, crafts and hands on activities followed by dinner.

In addition, we would like to incorporate in some way a sense of volunteering and giving back element into at least some of these events.

Throughout the program, participants get the chance to bond and create friendships with their enthusiastic and caring typical Young Adult buddies.

Back to Top

Demonstrated Need

This is important for everyone, but especially important for adults with special needs. This instills within them a sense of pride and comfort in the community they are not just receiving from but are also active & contributing members of the Jewish community. They will feel like they belong, they are part of the Jewish community. Both for the adults with special needs and the “Now Gen” adults who would be joining them on these programs.

Back to Top

Program Accomplishments

The Friendship Circle continues to grow in our valley. We started with just one program and have continual expanded and provided more services for our community. We

Back to Top

How do you measure the success of your program?

We hope to create a sense of belonging for these adults to the Jewish Community and instill a love and pride in being Jewish. This will be assessed with feedback asked after each event and by measuring our retention and recruitment success.

In the long run we hope the events themselves will hopefully introduce them to other Jews both for networking purposes and for long term relationships (business, friendship or marriage) and hopefully pave the way for them to take bigger steps in joining and participating in other Jewish events and programs our wonderful city has to offer. We see this as an equal important part and goal of this program.

Back to Top

Young Adult Circle

About

Our Young Adult Circle is an opportunity for adults with special needs interact with other “typical” Jewish adults in fun & social settings. with a wide array of different programs and events geared for adults with special needs and their "typical" peers

Back to Top

What is the mission and purpose of this program?

To engage Jewish Young adults with special needs in our beutiful Jewish Community

Back to Top

Program Description

Right now our Young adult group meets throughout the year for socializing and life skills. We would like to expand and offer a Jewish Experiential Learning Program. This is based on an already successful model of the Friendship Circle in Atlanta.

This is a Jewish learning experience for adults with developmental disabilities. Participants learn Jewish topics of interest through individualized teaching, games, crafts and hands on activities followed by dinner.

In addition, we would like to incorporate in some way a sense of volunteering and giving back element into at least some of these events.

Throughout the program, participants get the chance to bond and create friendships with their enthusiastic and caring typical Young Adult buddies.

Back to Top

Demonstrated Need

This is important for everyone, but especially important for adults with special needs. This instills within them a sense of pride and comfort in the community they are not just receiving from but are also active & contributing members of the Jewish community. They will feel like they belong, they are part of the Jewish community. Both for the adults with special needs and the “Now Gen” adults who would be joining them on these programs.

Back to Top

Program Accomplishments

The Friendship Circle continues to grow in our valley. We started with just one program and have continual expanded and provided more services for our community. We

Back to Top

How do you measure the success of your program?

We hope to create a sense of belonging for these adults to the Jewish Community and instill a love and pride in being Jewish. This will be assessed with feedback asked after each event and by measuring our retention and recruitment success.

In the long run we hope the events themselves will hopefully introduce them to other Jews both for networking purposes and for long term relationships (business, friendship or marriage) and hopefully pave the way for them to take bigger steps in joining and participating in other Jewish events and programs our wonderful city has to offer. We see this as an equal important part and goal of this program.

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