Enjoying the company of peers

Enjoying the company of peers

Wouldn’t everyone like to be treated to a night at the salon?
This Thursday, mothers associated with The Friendship Circle will be given that opportunity as part of “Mom’s Day Out,” a program designed to reward mothers of special needs children in Pittsburgh.
“It’s a chance for our moms to get together and just have fun,” said Rivkee Rudolph, director of Friendship Circle.
The Friendship Circle, founded in 2006, is a program dedicated to helping children and young adults with special needs enjoy the company of peers their own age. The Friendship Circle hopes these children can become integrated into the community in order to participate in a full range of social activities.
Rudolph taught preschool in New York and in Pittsburgh before developing the Friendship Circle in Pittsburgh with her husband, Rabbi Mordy Rudolph.
Rudolph said The Friendship Circle holds these Mom’s Day Out events three times a year.
“It’s a chance for us to pamper the moms, and give them a chance to relax,” Rudolph said.
The event will take place at Capristo Salon and Walnut Spa in Shadyside, where Rudolph said there will be wine and cheese for all the mothers to enjoy. The mothers really appreciate these programs, Rudolph said, and The Friendship Circle really enjoys providing these opportunities.
They will also be hosting another event this weekend: a meet and greet with all the members of The Friendship Circle.
During the summer, The Friendship Circle loses many of their teenage volunteers to summer camps, and various other activities. Because of this, Rudolph said The Friendship Circle does not often provide activities for their members during the summer. This year Rudolph said she is trying to come up with new ideas to keep their kids active during summer down time.
“Summer is too long for us to not see our friends,” Rudolph said.
This summer Rudolph has planned events in June, July and August for the kids. In June, The Friendship Circle held a game night. She said the turnout from volunteers and members was greater than she had expected.
“It is great to see that even in the summertime everyone will still come out and participate in events,” Rudolph said. “Everyone just misses each other.”
For this month’s program, The Friendship Circle will be building and running lemonade stands. The kids will be creating their own signs, and will stand on multiple street corners selling lemonade along with volunteers.
“Lemonade stands are something all kids get to do,” Rudolph said. “We want our kids to have the opportunity to do them also.”

(Brandt Gelman can be reached at brandtg@thejewishchronicle.net.)