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Friendship Flash Newsletter – Walk4Friends – April 4, 2019

      Walk4Friends – Sunday, May 19th, 2019 Save the Date & Join Us for the 11th Annual Walk4Friends Walk4Friends is an annual one-mile walk that raises crucial funds and community awareness for The Friendship Circle- a nonprofit organization for individuals with special needs. Walk4Friends begins with an inspirational opening ceremony followed by a one-mile family walk. Upon reaching the finish line, walkers will enjoy a post-walk celebration with entertainment, activities, food and much more. Together we can make the dream of friendship come true. Your participation in attending, donating and/or raising money for Walk4Friends 2019 will help bring awareness and friendship to individuals with Special Needs and our entire community. Together we can make the world a more inclusive & friendly place! Proud Milestones Friends to the Finish Line Recently, Sam and his family were able to look back on his long history with Friendship Circle as he raced on Team Friendship in the Miami Marathon. During the...
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Birthdays and Celebrations: January – March 2019

At Friendship Circle you are never just a participant, volunteer or staff you are family! Congratulations to everyone celebrating their birthdays and other milestones this time of year! PARTICIPANTS & VOLUNTEER BIRTHDAYS January Birthdays Megan R | Tristan M | Emma W | Senthil M| Josh G | Zachary F | Emma F | Halle B | Lexie S |Alexa M | Ari H | Hailey N | Heather S | Yael R | Samantha B | Tyler A | Jordan C | Carly S | Madison S |Jake H | Mackenzie S | Zachary V February Birthdays Jesse W | Brian B | Josh S | Miachael F | Ovivia S | Nicholas M | Devin M | Heather S | Evan| Amy H | Rebecca I | Emily B | Lyndsay K | Ester T | Emma W | Rebecca R | Nicole K | Evan G | Andrew Z March Birthdays Sammy P | Julianna C | Cesco C | Mia F | Lindsay O | Lars U | Eva N | Drew...
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Teen Volunteers Definition of Rewarding

For our teen volunteers it’s a good mix of bonding, learning and having a good time. We kicked off the new year with a Volunteer Educational Seminar.  The seminar was divided into two groups, one led by Rocky, who’s one of our FC teachers specializing in sign language, the other led by our new behaviorist, Kimberly. Rocky taught volunteers the basics of sign language, including ABCs, basic sentences, and words such as mom, dad, sister, brother, etc. Kimberly, taught about different behaviors and how to deal with them. She offered new techniques and gave a better understanding of the behaviors. We also had a some fun at the Hamentashen bake, here’s what Lexie Seidler, one of our Presidents, had to say about it. There is truly only one specific word to describe taking part in the Friendship Circle organization: rewarding. Spending time with children with special needs and ultimately making new friends is the most amazing part about being involved with FC,...
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Karen Koller Honored as the Woman of Valor at JWD

We are so proud of our very own Karen Koller for being honored as the Woman of Valor at the 2019 Jewish Woman’s Day. Karen is Jonathan Koller’s mother, and has been with Friendship Circle since 2012, they currently live in Monroe. See for yourself the extraordinary woman that Karen is, as she shares her speech from JWD about the missing puzzle. The Missing Puzzle by Karen Koller Why me? What is special about me? Why am I getting this honor? I grew up in Brooklyn, the youngest of three girls in a wonderful family with great friends. My mother was a teacher, my father an accountant, my older sister a school nurse & my middle sister a teacher. I was a special education teacher. Family was and still is important to us. We celebrated everything together- holidays, birthdays, milestones and vacations. Life is good. Why me? What is special about me? I met my husband on a blind date, set up...
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Loaves of Love – Purim 2019 Session

What a successful Purim Session from our Loaves of Love Team! “Loaves of Love” is a project of The Friendship Circle of Central Jersey where our participants are responsible for creating, designing and putting together various gift packages, taking orders and having them ready for pick up. The goal of “Loaves of Love” is to give our participants responsibility, gain important working and life skills and an end result that they can be proud of. This year we sold 250 Purim boxes to the community! The theme for this year was “Start your Day with Smiles and Friendship,” and included delicious breakfast items-cereal, oatmeal, kind bar, muffins, hamentashen and more! Our participants came to the Sessions, ready to work hard and learn new skills. Although some tasks were challenging, they all put in 100% effort, and all with smiles and a positive attitude! We are so proud! Special thank you to TSI – Transport Specialties International for sponsoring the shipping of...
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Zachary’s Story

Nine-year-old Zachary Brown has been an enthusiastic member of Friendship Circle for the last three years, joining shortly after his family moved to the East Brunswick area. The program has not only been beneficial to Zachary, but also to the whole Brown family. As newcomers to the area, Friendship Circle was a bridge to new friends, activities, and a community that welcomed them with open arms. Friendship Circle has helped Zachary thrive! He’s a natural comedian, bringing comic relief to the group along with his other passions: reading, learning, and music. Just like his favorite book series, I Survived, Zach is proving he can survive change. His family credits Friendship Circle in helping nurture his success—he loves the Sunday program and the availability of activities. Zach has learned to shine when faced with creative challenges, such as designing ‘newspaper couture’ in a recent fashion show project, as well as during more vigorous activities like soccer and gymnastics. In addition, Zachary...
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Friends to the Finish Line

Sam Goto is aptly named—for several years now, Sam has been the ‘go-to’ for many people involved in Friendship Circle of Central Jersey. He’s the FC alumni who still keeps in close contact with the former volunteers who started out as his program buddies and grew into lifelong friends. He’s the person who loaned his voice to a non-verbal boy while volunteering his own time, singing the child’s favorite songs without missing a beat. Sam is one of the many young adults who has benefited from Friendship Circle since it was founded in 2001. Since then, Friendship Circle, located in Manalapan, NJ, has been helping to foster friendships and create opportunities for children and young adults like Sam in Monmouth, Middlesex and Ocean counties. And for a shining example of what Friendship Circle can and does accomplish, Sam’s story is the perfect go-to. Recently, Sam and his family were able to look back on his long history with Friendship Circle...
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Miami half marathon Team Friendship keynote speech

Good evening. My name is Stacy Goto. I am the mother of Sam Goto, a Friendship Circle participant and volunteer. It is an  honor to speak to you tonight about friendship, specifically the unconditional friendship provided by this organization to people who really need it and benefit from it. We all understand that friendship is not a luxury. It’s not the frosting or cherry on top. It is an essential part of a healthy society. Everyone needs a friend and everyone needs to be a friend; friendship is everyone’s responsibility. Friendship makes all of us stronger and better! To begin, I want to thank all of you for your time and dedication to Team Friendship. Besides the time you’ve taken to fund raise, you’ve spent considerable time training for this event. I admire the dedication it takes to be able to run any distance longer than what I can run, which is only from my car into the store or...
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Recap of Miami half marathon weekend

Our weekend with Team Friendship in Miami was nothing short of inspirational and fun! We were surrounded by enthusiasm, camaraderie, friendship and acceptance, and great food! Everyone loved Sam, “What’s not to love?” as my mother used to say. We flew into Miami on Friday with Liz and met Chanale at the airport. Their excitement was contagious. We arrived at the hotel and after checking-in, went to the banquet hall to meet Team Friendship. At every turn Binie, or one of the other staff were there to direct us and answer questions. Everyone was so nice and welcoming. Sam and Liz picked up their race packets and shirts. Some people came up to Sam and recognized him from his fundraising page. We then settled at a table to relax and enjoy the lunch spread while waiting for our hotel rooms. The view from the  banquet room was awesome; it overlooked the Biscayne Bay. After getting into our hotel room we...
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Friendship Flash – Issue 1 – January 3, 2019

  Introducing the Friendship Flash The Friendship Circle bids farewell to 2018 on a high and grateful note! We would like to express sincere thanks to an incredible community, our group of generous matchers, our dedicated supporters (279 and counting!), and our adult volunteers. This dynamic group of people came together to not only reach but surpass our goal to raise $54K through a 36-hour campaign called Love.Live.Give. These funds will allow us to continue our efforts and create more programs for children, teens, and adults with special needs, as well as expand the opportunities for our dedicated teen volunteers.  Additionally, we recently launched our Adult Volunteer group which was a huge success! This initiative was not only instrumental in carrying out the Love.Live.Give campaign, but it’s creation will further enable us to expand our focus and grow as an organization. Last, but certainly not least, we celebrated the final days of 2018 with a fun-filled week of Winter Camp at the end of December. The camp offers children the...
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