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BY Bassie

Keeping The Ball Rolling

In 2009, we received some amazing news from the federal government…Friendship Circle was the recipient of a $1,000,000 grant!

Upon receipt of the grant, we dove head-first into planning our new programs. We contacted Adam Brode (longtime supporter and amazing therapist) from The PLAY Project. Together with Adam, we have been training 100 teen volunteers on how to successfully integrate Play Therapy techniques while interacting with their buddy.

In addition, 5 teens were chosen to undergo a more focused Play Therapy training, where they were trained as if they were up and coming play therapists.

This program has yielded unbelievable results. Our kids are benefiting, we are promoting the education of our teens and the parents LOVE it.

In 2009, we also broke the record for most funds raised in Walk4Friendship! In the worst economic climate, our community bonded together and raised $440,000 for our 2009-2010 school year. To say we were blown away is an understatement!

This year, we enter our 15th year of operation (and 5th year since the grand opening of LifeTown). Time has passed and now we are watching our “kids” turn into teens and young adults.

In order to evolve our programs with our growing kids, we are launching a brand new summer camp for teens and adults with special needs. This camp will be focused on cultivating life skills such as cooking, exercising and more.

We are also planning to plant and maintain an organic vegetable garden. Our teens and adults will be doing all the gardening work, harvesting the vegetables and then learning cooking skills with the veggies they grew. So cool, right?

2009 has been an unreal success for Friendship Circle. And so far, 2010 is following swiftly in its footsteps. But I have to be honest, 2011 presents a large problem for us. Our $1,000,000 grant ends in Fall of 2011. So rather than wait for that gloomy day to arrive, Friendship Circle decided to start working now to ensure our programs can maintain their integrity and grow along with our kids.

That is why the Walk4Friendship 2010 fundraising goal is…(drum roll please)…$750,000!

We must raise $1,000,000 by 2011 to maintain this momentum from 2009. We can do this! If you haven’t already, take a visit to and learn about our new fundraising initiatives.

We showed the world our unity in the Chase Community Giving Challenge and the 2009 Walk4Friendship. And even in the face of the grant running out, I have nothing but optimism for another successful year!

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Written on May 5, 2010 by:

Bassie Shemtov founded Friendship Circle together with her husband Levi. Bassie is always looking for ways to enhance the lives of children with special needs while providing relief to their families and empowering teen volunteers.

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