Founded on the belief of V’Ahavta L’Reacha Kamocha (love your fellow as yourself), The Friendship Circle is dedicated to creating a supportive Jewish community for children with special needs and their families, and high school volunteers, giving them the opportunity to unearth their potential, make positive life choices, and realize their dreams.

Since 2006, The Friendship Circle has accomplished its mission by:

  • Creating highly compatible matches between teen volunteers and children with special needs and their families.
  • Developing a network of programs and services for children with special needs offered by caring adults and trained peers.
  • Creating a sense of responsibility and connection to the Jewish community for high school students and families of children with special needs through enriching educational and social opportunities.
  • Providing workshops, lectures, programs and parties for parents of children who have special needs. 

We envision a more accepting local and regional Jewish community that embraces young people with special needs and their families, including them as active participants in a full array of activities and experiences. In order to achieve this vision, we have broadened our scope of programs and services to accommodate children with special needs on all levels of the spectrum, as well as expanded our ongoing programs to be offered in more Chicagoland neighborhoods and suburbs.

We also foresee the creation of a community whereby youth will be nurtured and inspired to participate in the innovative and stimulating programs provided by The Friendship Circle and other Jewish organizations. Their active participation will assist them in finding meaning, purpose, and self-worth in what they do; embracing a sense of connection to and responsibility for the greater Jewish community. We view this as essential in developing and producing the next generation of Jewish leaders.