By Elisheva Green - Executive Director - Friendship Circle San Diego
An enthusiastic full house of Friends of Friendship Circle was welcomed by Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, founder of the San Diego Friendship Circle. Representing the San Diego Jewish Federation, President and CEO, Michael Sonduck said “It was an honor to be invited to thank the Friendship Circle volunteers on behalf of the San Diego Jewish Community. Our community depends on volunteers, without them we would be a hollow shell." Chair Dawne Ellison and her crew of dedicated helpers decorated the room with plants donated by the Sherman Nursery in the theme of “Let it Grow”. Dawne spoke about our teen volunteers “seeding” our community with acceptance and tolerance. Long time adult volunteer Ellen Robbins commented that “these seeds of friendship have sprouted into beautiful tender blossoms.”
Justice Richard Bernstein from the Michigan Supreme Court flew in to speak to the Friendship Circle volunteers, parents, and supporters. Before his election to the Michigan Supreme Court, Attorney Bernstein’s cases often set national standards protecting the rights and safety of people with disabilities. He is the recipient of awards for his unwavering commitment to equal rights and opportunities for people with disabilities. As a marathoner and triathlete, Justice Bernstein has been inducted into the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. What made a special impact on all the typical teens were the details of how the Justice competed since he has been blind from birth. Hearing how he got though law school, how he was able to not only run but swim and bike ride in total darkness made a huge impression. Justice Bernstein enabled the parents of children with special needs to have the expectation that the future of their children can be bright.
Sharyn Goodson, Vice President of the Jewish Community Foundation, wrote, “It was a pleasure and an honor to join the Friendship Circle community at last Sunday’s brunch and acknowledge the work of the organization’s volunteers, staff and donors. Friendship Circle fills an important role in our community, profoundly enriching the lives of all involved. Through my daughter Laurel’s friendship with Parker, our families have grown close and developed a bond that would never have occurred without Friendship Circle.”
Do you know:
A child, teen, or adult with special needs who would enjoy the company of a friend?
A teenager who wants to make a real difference in the community by helping others?