Better Together

About Us

Story

The Friendship Circle launched in Central Jersey in 2001 with a simple mission: To provide individuals with special needs with social and educational experiences they would otherwise not have. It is our goal to bring greater awareness and understanding to the community of both the unique gifts and the unique desires of individuals with special needs, and encourage respect and empathy for those facing these difficult challenges.

 

At the heart of all the Friendship Circle’s programming is the belief that each and every individual can be a productive member of the community and benefit from the social support offered by one’s peers. We envision a world in which individuals with special needs and their families experience acceptance, inclusion, and friendship as valued members of society.

 

The result of the Friendship Circle not only offers much needed respite to the parents of individuals with special needs, but instills a love and commitment to community service in our teen and young professional volunteers—the next generation of community leaders.

Mission

The Friendship Circle is dedicated to creating a supportive community for special needs children, their families and high school volunteers, giving them the opportunity to unearth their potential, make positive life choices, and realize their dreams. Since 2001, The Friendship Circle works tirelessly to fulfill its mission.

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Our Staff

  • Chanale Wolosow
    Director

    I am excited for another wonderful year of friendship, smiles, warmth, networking and fun! The mission of Friendship Circle is so powerful and it is a privilege to watch the special friendships and relationships unfold. This year I am looking forward to taking FC to the next level through community engagement, community events and working on our future “home.”

  • Moushkie Volovik
    Director of Volunteer & Alumni Division

    Friendship Circle is such a large and important part of who I am. Volunteering at Friendship Circle when I was in high school truly shaped who I am today. Through my experiences I learned friendship can come in so many different shapes , sizes, and forms- it’s all about accepting it and allowing it to happen! The families and volunteers who are part of Friendship Circle are truly incredible people. I feel honored to be a part of the family!

  • Muka Pewzner
    Director of Operations

    Hi everyone! My name is Muka Groner-Pewzner.
    For two years, I worked at the Friendship Circle of New Jersey, and absoloutely loved every aspect of being here.
    Getting to know the community, the volunteers, and of course, the beautiful FC participants and their families was an incredible privelege.
    I am thrilled to be back here at Friendship Circle with my family! I am looking forward to building many new friendships, connections, and continuing to expand the many programs and activities of our organization.

  • Liz Newman
    Family Program & Friends at Home Coordinator

    I currently work for the Friendship Circle in Manalapan and have been working with children with disabilities for over 10 years. I decided this was my calling! My experiences while working with children with disabilities, has made me a stronger person. This population showed me that I can do whatever I set my mind to. Thankfully, I have had the pleasure of working on the Friendship Circle team. I truly enjoy being part of this great organization and interacting with our participants, volunteers and their families.

Our Presidents

  • Joshua Cooperman

    Joshua Cooperman has been volunteering at Friendship Circle’s Sunday Programs since 7th grade, and has been a President for two consecutive years. In that time, he’s seen the true heart of Friendship Circle, witnessing and gladly assisting in the creation of the smiles of many a buddy. Oh, he’s also the mascot at the Walk.

  • Aaron Nath

    Hi! My name is Aaron Nath and I’m a senior at Marlboro High School. I enjoy studying hard in school, playing sports, and actively engaging in my community. I have volunteered with the Friendship Circle for over four years and it has been a life-changing experience. Friendship Circle taught me how to transform perceived “disabilities” into abilities in action. As President over the past two years, I have helped organize trips and weeklong activities over the summers and made unforgettable memories with everyone who participates. My most memorable experience with Friendship Circle was when I ran the Miami half-marathon in which I helped raise over $20,000 for special needs children.

  • Sam Goto
    My name is Sam Goto and I am 22 years old.
    I go to Brookdale Community College and work at Applebee’s in Manalapan.  I enjoy being a part of the Friendship Circle. I like being one of the presidents on the Leadership Board this year so I can to help out the other presidents, the FC staff, and the volunteers. I enjoy volunteering at the Sunday circle program. I also like volunteering at summer and winter camp. I also like attending YAD on Sundays so I can hang out with my friends. What I like the most is that everyone is so nice.
  • Lexie Seidler

    Hi I’m Lexie Seidler, I’m a sophomore at Marlboro high school and this is my second year with Friendship Circle. Friendship Circle is an amazing program and I really love being a part of their community. Every moment I spend helping a buddy at any given program is so rewarding and beneficial, and I genuinely enjoy the time I spend within the volunteer hours. FC makes giving back so easy and I am so lucky to be involved with this awesome and inspiring organization.

  • Skylar Kohn

    Hi, my name is Skylar Kohn and I am a sophomore at Marlboro High School. I love music, fitness, and playing tennis. I have been volunteering with friendship circle for several years. Friendship circle has had such an influence on my life. Being involved with friendship circle is a privilege, and I have been lucky enough to be a part of it. I love being in friendship circle, and being able to help those around me. Friendship circle is not only beneficial to those with special needs, but for the volunteers as well. I am so happy I have had the chance to learn important life skills from my experiences in friendship circle, these including: leadership, tolerance, advocacy, and determination.

  • Noah Schneider

    My name is Noah Schneider and I am a senior at Marlboro High School. I have volunteered with the Friendship Circle over the past 6 years and have served as a volunteer president over the past 2 years. I first became involved with the Friendship Circle as my Mitzvah Project for my Bar Mitzvah. However, I knew this would become a much bigger part of my life. As a volunteer at Sunday Social, I look forward to hanging out with my special friend every week and truly value the friendship we have formed. I have gained a sense of responsibility and learned the importance of commitment through this wonderful organization.

  • Brooke Fromkin

    My name is Brooke Fromkin and I am a senior at Marlboro High School. I have started multiple clubs such as the Jewish Student Union, as well as the College and Career Readiness club. Throughout my schooling career my main focus has been bettering my community and those around me. I began volunteering with the Friendship Circle organization my freshman year. Since then, I have truly learned to appreciate the friendships I have formed with my buddies and the opportunities they have given me in order to learn about myself and special needs disorders. Specifically, my friendship with Lucas has completely transformed my world. He has taught me so many things from the lyrics to “Old McDonald” to what it means to be dedicated to your buddy. I am extremely appreciative of all the amazing memories I have made with the Friendship Circle organization and hope to form new relationships similar to mine and Lucas’s in the future.  

Our Adult Volunteers

Through their altruism and dedication, our volunteers are creating a community that strives on acceptance, goodwill and love for others.

We have volunteer and intern opportunities to suit all interests, skills sets and time commitment preferences. We need each of your individual talents and gifts. Wether you can volunteer an hour a week, month or year come see what Friendship Circle is about and how you can get involved.

  • Caryn Schweitzer
    Volunteer

    It was 2001 when I drove my younger daughter, Arielle and Moushkie (yes, Moushkie:) to their buddy Jake’s house, every Wednesday – and my older daughter Sara, drove herself and a friend to visit Aliza. To see the joy and satisfaction this activity brought to the FC families, as well as to the volunteers was heartwarming. That was just the beginning of FC – oh how it’s grown and so have all of us, in so many ways. My daughters went off to college, but as FC grew, I got more and more involved.

  • Stacy B. Feldman
    Volunteer

    I spent my entire life watching my incredible mother help bring programs, services and buildings to children and adults with special needs. I learned the importance and value of inclusion starting at 4 years old. And I always knew that some day I would ultimately look to help a similar organization in a similar way. When I moved back to the area, and met Chana ‘Le, and learned about The Friendship Circle — I knew I had found people and an organization I wanted to help in any way I could. Today I’m proud to contribute both with strategic and tactical skills, helping in marketing, business and communications; as well as through fundraising – having raised over $3500 last year and running the Miami Half Marathon on behalf of FC. I am proud to be a volunteer, fundraiser and advocate for FC and look forward to the many successes we’ll share in the years to come.

  • Lisa Silberman
    Volunteer

    I retired from my career as an optometrist five years ago.  At about the same time, I met Chanale Wolosow and began to volunteer for Friendship Circle. I immediately realized what a wonderful organization it was and the positive impact it had on the community. The Loaves of Love is an amazing program that brings together young adults with special needs to make various products, often holiday gifts, to sell to family and friends. I have helped organize the teen and adult volunteers for the annual Walk4Friends, which is a huge community event and fundraiser. Through all of these programs, I have the privilege to help many wonderful people and hopefully make a difference in our community.

  • Renata Magurdumov
    Volunteer

    Volunteering makes me feel fulfilled and happy, I love helping people and spreading goodwill. I realized it’s my greatest passion and mission in life, Friendship Circle gives me a solid platform for doing so. I first started volunteering at Friendship Circle in 2013 teaching children how to ride bikes, I’ve been involved ever since helping with; fundraising, community outreach, sponsoring programs, marketing and strategic initiatives. I look forward to bringing my passion and professional talents to support Friendship Circle.

  • Julia Fiskin
    Volunteer

    I started volunteering with the Friendship Circle in July of 2018 because of a desire to contribute to my community. The Friendship Circle has a beautiful mission of inclusivity and using our unique gifts to give to others, and being a part of it is immensely fulfilling. My 12 year old son has also become involved through the MVP program, and will soon be volunteering every Sunday. I’m excited to assist in growing the many programs of the Friendship Circle, and I can’t think of a better way to use my time than serving others through this amazing organization!

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