Friendship Circle Starts the Year Off Strong!

By: Jack Glassman — Sports Editor

Friendship Circle, which has been running since 1993, is starting up a new year. Friendship Circle’s main activity, Friends at Home, consists of two high school students hanging out with a special needs friend weekly, creating sustainable friendships and long-lasting memories.

The organization’s Sharon program consists of over thirty dedicated volunteers who are all eager to participate in Tikkun Olam, the Hebrew definition of making the world a better place. 

The community formed from Friendship Circle is an important aspect of the program. “Before Covid everyone knew everyone, now we have a lot of new faces and I’m excited to build a better community with everyone,” leadership board member Rebecca Hoffstein said. 

The volunteers of Friendship Circle are motivated to have a positive effect on their community. “This year’s volunteers are way more motivated and passionate about what they do, as a senior in my fourth year, I can tell,” said leadership board member Reid Nierman. 

The program also holds monthly events to celebrate holidays and our special friends’ birthdays. These events are all planned by the leadership board and its presidents.

Seniors of the leadership board are looking forward to their final year in Friendship Circle. Co-President of the leadership board Emily Coplan said, “I’m looking forward to my last year with my buddy and to planning the monthly events and birthday parties”.

This past Sunday, Friendship Circle hosted a bowling birthday party for Boris Novikov at  Norwood Sport Center. “My birthday party was fun and I love everyone that was there and I felt happy and excited to see everyone there,” Novikov said. 

At the start of each year, the senior leaders of the program are able to get many volunteers to attend the monthly events, but as the year goes on, it becomes harder to maintain attendance. 

The more volunteers participate, the more they will enjoy Friendship Circle, so maintaining retention is a primary goal that the leadership board has. Leadership board member Carly Buckman said, “This year my goal is to get more people involved in Friendship Circle and have them stay involved. This is because I feel the more you put in, the more you will get out of it”.

With about thirty members, Friendship Circle is looking to expand. “I’m hoping to recruit a lot of new people and get the attendance up at events,” leadership board member Carmel Levin said. 

“I want to recruit more members in younger grades,” Nierman added.

The aspect of having a board of leaders rather than several presidents is new to Friendship Circle, but it does not change the motivation of the program’s seniors. “I think the leadership board is going to be very successful because we all work very well together. We all have different creative ideas, so when we put our minds together we can create great ideas,” Buckman said.

“I’m extremely confident in the abilities of the leadership board, there’s so many of us with tons of unique and fun ideas and I think we will do great things for Friendship Circle,” Hoffstein added.

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