Valley Chabad began its second month of Friendship Circle Virtual, seven weekly teen-led events for children and teens with special needs.
The pandemic has been hard for most people, but it’s been particularly difficult for children and teens with special needs. After several difficult months of self-isolation, Valley Chabad felt the need for teens to stay connected and engaged with one another with its Friendship Circle.
The group’s goal is creating a community where children with special needs feel welcomed and included. Because in-person Friendship Circle meetings or individual playdates have not been possible for quite some time, a virtual alternative was a great way to keep busy during the summer while also having fun.
Daniella Granin and Sophia Sklyar, two seniors from Ridgewood, created Friendship Circle Virtual, a website that connects teen volunteers with children through the Friendship Circle program at Valley Chabad. The goal of the Friendship Circle is to make sure no child feels lonely or left behind. The program has allowed kids to engage in a variety of activities throughout the week. The seven weekly teen-led events are dance, art, yoga, music, read-aloud, baking, sports trivia, and fitness.
Friendship Circle is open to all children and teens with special needs in the Pascack Valley and Saddle River communities. There is no charge for the program. If your teen would like to volunteer or if you have a child who can benefit from the program, email Estie Orenstein at email@example.com or go to valleychabad.org/virtuafriendship.