Robert M. Beren Academy Students Volunteering at the Friendship Circle
Community. Patience. Tolerance. And, most importantly, friendship.
These are some of the values that Friendship Circle Houston brings into the special needs community.
Houston Friendship Circle, Inc. is a non-sectarian, 501c3 organization under Jewish auspices that supports families with children, teens, and adults who have special needs. It does this by hosting social and community programs, such as monthly Bowling Buddies, community dinners, annual pizza parties, trips to the Zoo, and more. Esti Lazarus, the Volunteer Coordinator, describes it as “really genuine” and a great respite for the parents of the special needs kids and teens.
All of these events would not exist without the help of volunteers. And many of those volunteers are teenagers who attend Robert M. Beren Academy. Around 10 of my classmates help run Friendship Circle Houston, by holding positions on the Teen Board and helping out at the numerous activities.
I asked Sara Gerlitz, a Beren senior who is involved in Friendship Circle, what the organization means to her. She had a lot to say: Friendship Circle events have a “no judging” atmosphere, where Sara feels comfortable to be herself and open up. Volunteering for Friendship Circle is one of the best things that she has ever done, and she enjoys really getting to know the special needs kids and teens.
TThe Friendship Circle has a program that is open to the entire community, whether or not they know someone with special needs. The annual Friendship Walk is a great experience that I have enjoyed for the past few years. The Walk will be taking place on Sunday, March 13. This is the biggest event that Friendship Circle puts on. It starts at 1 p.m. with registration and an exciting fair, then continues into a Tribute to Friendship at 2:30, and at 3 p.m., after all of the participants walk around to raise awareness and support for special needs, there will be a Walk Finale.
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