Tag Archives: Friendship Circle

Friendship Circle Opening Cafe and Art Studio for Vocational Opportunities

Since 1994 Friendship Circle has been dedicated to providing exciting new programs to children with special needs and their families. However, those amazing children that joined us in 1994 are now amazing young adults. In order to continue to give them the encouragement and support that they need, we need to continue to adapt and advance our programming.

A New Adventure: The Farber Soul Center

Soul Center RenderingAfter acquiring a portion of a shopping center located at Drake Rd., just south of Walnut Lake Rd in West Bloomfield, Friendship Circle will soon begin to construct and operate a Cafe and Art Studio.  The Farber Soul Center, as it will be named, from a generous $2.1 million donation from the William and Audrey Farber Family Foundation, will be a facility where Friendship Circle will extend programming into the lives of adults with special needs through culinary, digital and traditional arts, thus getting the much needed on-the-job training.  We are continuing to raise an additional half million dollars which is necessary to proceed.

About the Soul Cafe

lighter-look4Soul Cafe will be a gathering place, with a state of the art kosher restaurant.  The unique menu will be unparalleled in the area and most importantly will be created and served by their staff of both, typically-able, and those who have special needs, as they work together as a team.  These young adults with special needs will receive on the job training in kitchen and serving skills. The café also gives the existing Lessons for Life program, currently utilized by over 200 schools around the metro Detroit area, the opportunity to expand their lessons for students with special needs into dining etiquette, utilizing the café’s real-world setting.

About the Soul Studio

inside1Soul Studio will be a professional art studio that encourages these adults with special needs to find their passion and explore the many different artistic media that will be available to them. Friendship Circle will submit the artists’ work to be shown in galleries, entered in contests and sold to commercial and residential customers.

Cutting edge digital technologies such as photography, video, 3-D printing and animation will be available to help them express themselves.  These artists, with the help of state of the art computers, will have the opportunity to sell tangible productions of their digital designs. Of course, no art studio would be complete without artists being able to learn and create paintings, ceramic, weaving, jewelry, printmaking and folk art.

inside2Art Gallery

Also located inside the Farber Soul Center will be the Soul Gallery, which will proudly exhibit the works of the artist.  The gallery will be open daily to the public for viewing and purchasing.

A Message from the Farber Family

Nanci Farber, daughter in law, said, “The Friendship Circle is an entity which is unparalleled in our community.   It is with great joy and a deep warmth and appreciation to The Friendship Circle that the Farber family decided to facilitate the creation and running of the Farber Soul Center.  We however, are only a piece. It takes so many to build such an incredible space. We are indebted to everyone involved and truly grateful to be able to be a part of this amazing journey. The added bonus of this new facility is that it allows Friendship Circle another benefit to their families with children who have special needs that currently are enrolled in their existing programming.  In the evenings, once the Farber Soul Center closes, these children with special needs and their teen volunteers will be able to delve into the arts and find their passions.”

Friendship Circle Resource Blog Continues to Grow

The Friendship Circle Blog has become the most popular resource in the United States

(and sometimes in the WORLD!) for families with special needs children. Friendship

Circle Blog debuted in 2010 when Rabbi Tzvi Schectman, Family Coordinator at

Friendship Circle of Michigan, began posting resources and news articles for Friendship

Circle families. Over 200,000 visitors each month, from all over the world have enjoyed

more than 850 resource articles covering topics such as parenting tips, special

education, product reviews, therapy tips, legal guidance, and more. Currently there are

over 6,300 subscribers to a daily email. The Friendship Circle Blog will continue to grow

and provide educational resources to families with the help of the D. Dan and Betty

Kahn Foundation Grant. We look forward to reporting even more continued success in

the future. You can find the Friendship Circle Blog here, www.friendshipcircle.org/blog.

Blog by the Numbers

Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 7.01.43 PM


Top Blog Posts

Top Blogs

Vote for Friendship Circle as your Favorite Non-profit

Deadline Detroit and The Sam Bernstein Law Firm have come together to recognize some of Metro Detroit’s best non-profit organizations that go above and beyond to help our community. These awards honor Service, Action, and Meaning. So these have been appropriately named the “SAM Awards”! Friendship Circle is one of the 5 finalists up for this honor.

How to Vote

1. From March 3-30, people can cast their ballot for their favorite organization by going to the Sam Bernstein Facebook page and clicking “like.”

2. Click the icon that says “Deadline Detroit Bernstein Service Award.” (It’s on the same line as photos and “likes.”) Read the instructions and vote. The app lets you vote only once.

Each organization will get 25 cents per vote, up to $5,000. The one that gets the most votes will get an additional $500.

“We are absolutely blown away by the response to this contest,” said attorney Mark Bernstein.  It’s great to partner with Deadline Detroit and these exceptional organizations.”

The finalists, selected by the Sam Bernstein Law Firm and Deadline Detroit, are: Friendship Circle, Michigan Urban Farming Initiative, Camp Casey, Downriver Arts Council and Heart 2 Hart Detroit.

Drama and Music

Drama Program Performs Adventures in CandyLand

Drama and MusicAbout 80 people turned out for the Music and Drama programs opening night of Adventures in CandyLand. The participants in the program worked with 4th Wall production to pick their characters develop the storyline, write their lines and create the decorations and props.

Adventures in CandyLand is about a magical land where candy grows out of the ground.  The royalty living in the castle decide to throw a party but they are foiled by Marshy the Marshmellow Guy and Gloppy the Chocolate King.  Marshy and Gloppy start turning people into chocolate statues and killing the candy crops.  Eventually, everyone is able to live happily ever after once Gloppy and Marshy are invited to the party and no longer feel left out of the festivities

Photos from Adventures in CandyLand

i9 sports

Fox 2 News and a packed Gym Watch the Opening Day of Inclusion Sports

inclusion sports

Sunday February 2 (Superbowl Sunday) was not just an exciting day for football, but also a great day for basketball as well! We had our first day of Inclusion Sports Leagues in partnership with i9 Sports. This partnership is opening the doors for us to offer leagues to children with special needs like never before.

The gym was packed all afternoon with neurotypical children and children with special needs aged 3 to 13 learning new skills, honing old skills and building friendships. WXYT-FM 97.1 talk show host Dan Leach provided play-by-play announcing at the inaugural game.

The goal of this new league is to provide a mutually beneficial environment for both the typically-abled children and those with special needs. There really is huge benefit for both groups of children as the more typically-abled kids learn empathy, teamwork and other real life lessons. Those with special needs are gaining the opportunity to play sports on a team with their peers. The idea of this league is to promote inclusion and compassion.

Fox 2 News Coverage

Fox 2 News Headlines

Photos from Day 1

Friendship Circle Supplies

Friendship Circle Programs Need Your Help

Friendship Circle SuppliesAnother year of programs has begun and, and Friendship Circle needs your help!  In order to run our 30+ weekly and seasonal programs, we need some important toys, supplies and equipment.

There are a number of items we are in need of  to help maximize the potential of our programs. Please take a few minutes to search around your house or make trip out to the store and make an important donation to Friendship Circle programs. All donations are tax deductible.

What We Need

Apple Computers

Under the supervision of a certified Apple Instructor, Tech Teens students will be utilizing iMovie and GarageBand to create their own movies and music.  We need Five iMacs or 15 inch Macbook Pros that students will use to make their own mini documentaries. Five computers will enable us to host 10 teens in this program.



We have a brand new Lego room in the Activity Wing. The walls and tables are covered in Lego panels and now we just need more Legos to make this  room a child’s dream come true! We are in need of lego of many different sizes and shapes and it can be new or used. We are also in need of Lego themed storage units to store all of the lego.


Looking to upgrade your old iPad? Donate the old one to Friendship Circle! Efshar Circle (Friendship Circle’s Hebrew School) is starting to use iPads in the classroom to help as communication aids, implement its curriculum and enhance classroom activities.We are in need of three iPads (one for each classroom). iPads can be new or used 3rd or 4th generation versions (please note we are looking for regular iPads not iPad Minis).

sports equipmentSports Equipment

Friendship Circle has a number of different sports programs that are in need of sports equipment. Supplies needed include basketballs, hula hoops, parachutes, scooters and other sports equipment. Any supplies that could be used in the gym are greatly appreciated.

social skills boardgameBoard Games and Puzzles

Friendship  Circle uses a number of board games during our social skills programs. We are in need of any card games or board games that promote good social skills would be very helpful. Games that require turn taking, social interaction, question asking and patience will be very helpful for participants of the programs. Games can be used provided they are in good or “like new” condition.

art suppliesArts & Crafts Supplies

The Art room is one of our most popular rooms and in constant need of new supplies. Our basic needs include markers, crayons, paint, brushes, colored paper,craft material, and more.


Fidget toys are great self-regulation tools to help with focus, attention, calming, and active listening. Fidgets are used during all of our programs and prove to very helpful. You can see some examples of great fidgets Here.

Supplies for Sav-On Drug Store

sav on drugs
Sav-On Drugs, located in the Weinberg Village, helps teach life skills to students with special needs from across metro Detroit. Students learn about making purchase and managing their money. Supplies needed include office and school supplies,costume jewelry, stuffed animals and clothing accessories. When it comes to addiction problems, make sure to go to an addiction treatment center and seek immediate help. There are also specific places like meth rehab austin that have professionals that can help.

How to Donate

Any donation items can be sent or dropped off directly at the Friendship Circle, located at: 6892 W. Maple Rd. West Bloomfield, MI 48322 If you have any questions about donations, please contact the Friendship Circle at 248-788-7878 ext 213 or email [email protected]. All donations are tax-deductible.

Thank You!!!

Friendship Circle on 101.9 FM WDET

On August 13, 2012, Friendship Circle was featured on one of 101.9 FM WDET’s radio shows. Click the link below to hear the audio.

You’ve Seen the Bumper Stickers: Friendship Circle

You’ve probably seen the bumper stickers that look like the picture above. Did you know that this is a Michigan based organization that provides assistance and support to more than 3000 families of children with special needs since 1994? Most of the Friendship Circle’s work takes place at the Ferber Kaufman Life Town building which is a 28,000 square foot, state of the art facility, which is located in West Bloomfield that serves as a therapy/activity center and social meeting place for its network of more than 1000 volunteers, professional staff and supporters. Friendship Circle knows no bounds…

Read more


Friendship Circle on Chabad.org

On August 14, 2012, Friendship Circle was featured on Chabad.org.

 Families With Special Needs Find Community Thanks to Chasidic Teachings

When Connor Larson turned 4 years old, his family became actively involved in the Friendship Circle.

“Connor absolutely loves going there,” Stacy Larson of Farmington Hills, Mich., says of the flagship project that gave birth to a network of Chabad-Lubavitchprograms benefitting children with special needs around the globe. “You can tell that when he walks in the door. He loves pushing buttons, he loves going inside; he feels like a normal kid.”…

Read more

Families With Special Needs Find Community Thanks to Chasidic Teachings