Philip and Estelle Elkus have been long-time supporters of the Friendship Circle because two of Philip’s siblings had special needs. Growing up, Philip was deeply affected by this reality and often struggled because of the extra attention and constant concern his siblings received from his parents. It took many years to truly understand the daily struggles his parents went through, while desperately trying to improve the lives of his sister and brother.
The contrast between the services offered now versus the complete lack of services available when Philip was growing up is astounding. He often thinks about how much a Friendship Circle could have enriched the lives of his brother and sister and how much stress and strain it would have removed from his parents.
In 2009, Philip and Estelle approached the Shemtovs to ask how they could make a significant impact on Friendship Circle and the individuals served. On August 28, 2010, the Florene Elkus & Edward Elkus Memorial Gym was dedicated in memory of Philip’s siblings. It has made such a wonderful difference to so many, and they derive great pleasure seeing it in use. Philip shares, “Of all the charities we have supported, my wife and I get far more pleasure and nachas from the gym than any other charitable gift.”
Even though Philip understands what it’s like to grow up with siblings who have special needs, he never realized how many kids have special needs and how it has affected so many different families.
Philip and Estelle have pledged a legacy gift to the future of Friendship Circle. Philip shares, “Friendship Circle serves a vital purpose in our community, we need to help them survive and prosper, to continue their mission of helping those with special needs, their siblings, and parents. Estelle and I are proud to be part of the future of Friendship Circle. Our goal is to ensure Friendship Circle will continue to make those small and large miracles for those who they serve so well.”
-Elkus Family, Gym