By Toby Tabachnick
The Friendship Circle’s Sunday Circle soon will be expanding.
The monthly music, art and yoga program for special needs kids and teen volunteers will double in size this year as a result of a move from the small Friendship Circle offices on Northumberland Street, to the Wightman School Community Building on Solway Street.
“We had capped the participants to those age 12 and under, because we were in such a small space,” said Rabbi Mordy Rudolph, director of The Friendship Circle, an affiliate of Chabad. “We had interest from teens, but we had to turn them down.”
Now, with the move to the Wightman School’s 3,000-square-foot gym, and an additional 1,000-square-foot room, the Sunday Circle will be able to essentially run two programs simultaneously: one for children under the age of 12, and one for those 13 to 18 years old.
“Until now, we were maxing out the program at 30 kids. My guess is now, we’ll have between 50 and 60,” Rudolph said.
The Friendship Circle, established in Pittsburgh’s Jewish Community in 2006, is dedicated to helping include children and young adults with special needs into the broader community by integrating them with teen volunteers in a full range of social activities.
Other Friendship Circle programs include the Friends at Home Program, where each week, a pair of trained teenage volunteers visits their friend with special needs, and Jewish holiday programming.
(Toby Tabachnick can be reached at email@example.com.)