Help raise awareness and funds for this great local Jewish organization that benefits all in our community irrespective of affiliation or lack thereof.
Support friendship and Judaism for special needs
Published 18.FEB.2010 in the Jewish Herald Voice on the front page
Hava Schultz, Chani Traxler, Malki Feigenson and Leah Schultz walked the Friendship Circle Walk last year and invite the community to support this worthwhile organization by walking this year on Sunday, Feb. 21. The FCW will begin at 2 p.m. at Jewish Family Service, 4131 S. Braeswood Blvd., and end at The Emery/Weiner School, 9825 Stella Link Rd. at 3 p.m. A carnival of fun will punctuate the day, complete with kosher barbecue and concession items available for purchase.
The Friendship Circle, under the auspices of Chabad Outreach of Houston and an affiliated partner of the JFS Alexander Institute for Jewish Families with Special Needs, features weekly and Judaic programming that involves volunteers – from teens to seniors – as friends to those in the community with special needs and to seniors who are alone.
The entire community is encouraged to join the Friendship Circle in its walk of support for greater Houston’s special needs community. What could be more powerful than having our clergy, board members, congregations, religious and day school students, the young and the senior, walking alongside special needs children and adults and their families. How marvelous it would be for teens, young adults and all generations from across Houston’s great Jewish divide to demonstrate that the greater Houston Jewish community is a loving partner in bringing Judaism and friendship to the special needs community.
The Friendship Circle Walk, Sunday, Feb. 21, will begin at 2 p.m., at Jewish Family Service, 4131 S. Braeswood Blvd., and end at The Emery/Weiner School, 9825 Stella Link Rd. at 3 p.m. A carnival of fun will greet participants at the school, with kosher barbecue and concession items available for purchase.
The Friendship Circle is a unique program, under the auspices of Chabad Outreach of Houston, and is an affiliated partner of the JFS Alexander Institute for Jewish Families with Special Needs. In its Friends @ Home program, a unique formula pairs teenage volunteers from across the community to special needs children. Once a week, these caring teens play at home with their partner children, establishing a friendship and giving much-appreciated respite to parents, who live special needs 24/7 with their precious family members. Other youth programs include a monthly, drop-off arts and drama program, in collaboration with The River Performing and Visual Arts Center (corrected as now with Art's Alive). On holidays, entire families come together, with volunteer teens, to enjoy innovative activities that bring the joy of the season to all.
An adult division provides a full range of social and Judaic experiences to members of the Jewish community who live in the Richmond and Brenham State Schools. And, The Golden Circle, another unique volunteer program, provides seniors, living alone or in senior facilities, an extra visit from someone outside the family. Once a week, FC volunteers bring joy and caring to these seniors, and host holiday programs in many assisted-living centers throughout the greater Houston area.
The Friendship Circle is deserving of community-wide support. Members of its program “envision a world in which people with special needs and their families experience acceptance, inclusion and friendship as contributing members of society.” They “foresee a future where they never again have to suffer the social isolation that has often been so prevalent in society.”
The Friendship Circle is quietly making a difference in our community. With support from others, it will continue not only to support the special needs community, but also will continue to nurture teen volunteers with meaning, purpose and self-worth, and a deep connection to and responsibility for the greater Jewish community. The FC is instrumental in developing leaders of tomorrow’s Jewish community.
Be a sponsor or register for the walk, individually, or with a team, by going to www.HoustonFriendshipWalk.com. - Copyright 2009 Jewish Herald-Voice