Dear Bassie and Levi,
I first heard about Friendship Circle from my dear friends who’s late son struggled with addiction. When he met Bassie and Levi and got involved with Friendship Circle, it turned his life around. Bassie and Levi are so very positive and inspirational. My friends credited them for saving their son at the time and sung their praises at every opportunity.
I then had an opportunity to meet Bassie Shemtov and tour Friendship Circle when I went on a site visit with the Jewish Women’s Foundation. At the time, Bassie was developing a program on bullying that she wanted to share with public schools. This must have been about thirteen years ago, way before bullying became such a prominent issue in the media. I was so impressed with Bassie. She recognizes needs in our community and creates innovative solutions. She is so energetic and enthusiastic and that enthusiasm is contagious. It’s hard to say no to her. And of course, the Ferber Kaufman Lifetown is such an achievement and an incredible addition to the community. It’s bright and cheerful and so well thought out. It provides real life experiences in a non-threatening environment to those needing to learn to be self sufficient.
I think my favorite aspect of Friendship Circle is how they pair teen volunteers with those with special needs. All benefit from the relationships formed. The teen volunteers learn tolerance and acceptance of those different than them. And the children with special needs gain social interaction skills. And all gain new friends.
The newest addition to the Friendship Circle Family is the Farber Soul Center. Young adults with special needs are able to become artists. They discover new talents that they didn’t know they possessed. They are able to sell their works of art. Others go there to learn about food service. They all are able to earn money and feel good about themselves because they are being productive. I have volunteered there and have met the artists. They are so proud of what they are doing. It gives me such joy to know when I purchase a piece of art from the Soul Center that I am giving the artist more than just an income, but also a feeling of self worth. They see that they can create works of art that others will want. It’s very exciting.
I am proud to be able to participate in your Forever Friendship Endowment Fund and wish the Friendship Circle continued success.