Sydney Friendship Circle
Advocacy is an important action area for Sydney Friendship Circle. We strongly believe that our society needs to become more inclusive of people with disabilities to enable them to become contributing members in their community.
We advocate for inclusion and change through various channels:
- Hosting and promoting community initiatives and events
- Partnering with key organisations to increase inclusion in the community
- Educating the community on disability and inclusion through workshops, school visits, and a range of other programs
- Our Leadership Program and volunteer workshops to educate, train and inspire future leaders who will make a difference in the community
If you would like to know more, please email us: [email protected]
It takes a village to raise a child.
Alone we travel fast, together we travel far.
Friendship Circle believes that the best results for inclusion will be achieved by working together. This is why we focus on developing champions in the community through our education and advocacy programs and build strong relationships with key community organisations to deliver collaborative impact.
Friendship Circle staff and leaders have a deep understanding of the religious and cultural environment in the Jewish community and are uniquely positioned to help Jewish organisations increase accessibility and inclusion.
Maccabi Youth NSW
Friendship Circle and Maccabi Youth NSW work together to create opportunities for inclusion. We offer a variety of activities over the course of the year, including:
- Maccabi All Abilities Yoga
- Facilitating and supporting children with disabilities to join Maccabi Mega Camps
- Facilitating and supporting children with disabilities to participate in Maccabi Junior Carnival in Sydney
- Annual Family Fun Day Out at Sydney Kings Game
Zionist Federation of Australia- Birthright
Friendship Circle has partnered with Taglit-Birthright Israel to enable small groups of young adults with a disability to travel to Israel on a free, educational and experiential 10-day tour. Participants will be accompanied by buddies and the tour is tailored to participants in terms of pace and intensity.
United Israel Appeal Australia
Friendship Circle is determined to improve accessibility for people with a disability at community events and provides guidance and advice to organisations to enable them to make their events inclusive and accessible.
Sydney Friendship Circle provided guidance to United Israel Appeal Australia to help them create an inclusive event for the community at its General Division Gala in February 2019. Live captioning was projected onto large screens to support people with hearing impairments, the elderly and those with language barriers. In addition, access and designated seating for people with physical disabilities was provided at the venue.
Friendship Circle engages with the community on several levels to raise awareness and promote inclusion of individuals with a disability and the contributions they make to society.
The Friendship Walk is an annual event that raises crucial funds and awareness in the local community. Volunteers, families and friends of Friendship Circle come together to show their appreciation and support. All money raised supports Friendship Circle’s mission to cultivate friendships and promote community acceptance through our wide range of programs.
The 2.5km walk from Vaucluse to Watsons Bay and back is followed by our post-Walk celebrations, which include food and fun activities and entertainment for all ages.
In 2018, we were able to raise an amazing $150,000 through individual donations and business sponsorships. Whether you sign on as a walker, a donor, or both, your participation in our annual walk will bring laughter and joy to some truly special children.
Friendship Circle hosts an annual Toy Drive each year. This initiative supports children in local schools, community centres and hospitals who may be experiencing a difficult time. Families and community members contribute by making a donation or dropping off new toys at selected daycares, pre-schools, schools, toy shops and drop-off locations across Sydney.
The Toy Drive is also a great opportunity for children to learn about others. We encourage this conversation by inviting primary school-age children to join us for a wrapping party with their families.
Sports Club is one of our regular term programs with 2-4 sessions across each school term. Our current sports activities include soccer and gymnastics. We invite teen sports teams to join us to volunteer at these activities.
This is a great opportunity for teams to learn about inclusion, make new friends, have fun, and work on their team building skills.
Teams who are interested in joining us for one of our sessions can contact us by emailing [email protected].au.
- Sunday, 24 March (Soccer)
- Sunday, 12 May (Gymnastics)
- Sunday, 26 May (Soccer)
- Sunday, 9 June (Gymnastics)
- Sunday, 23 June (Soccer)
- Sunday, 11 August (Soccer)
- Sunday, 25 August (Gymnastics)
- Sunday, 8 September (Soccer)
- Sunday, 27 October (Gymnastics)
- Sunday, 10 November (Soccer)
- Sunday, 24 November (Gymnastics)
- Sunday, 8 December (Soccer)
In the traditional Jewish experience the Shule community presents an important opportunity to demonstrate to our children their intrinsic values and their role in the Jewish collective.
Sydney Friendship Circle partners with families to enable children with a disability to participate in and provide a positive Shule experience for the whole family. Through the Shule Buddies program, children will have access to the informal mainstream supports and sense of belonging that come with being part of a Shule community.
ShabbaTTogether is a project of the Ruderman Chabad Inclusion Initiative, a US-based organisation that empowers communities to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for people with disabilities. Friendship Circle, Jewish House and Chabad Malvern have helped design the project and bring it to Australia for the first time in February 2019. We were joined by many local synagogues and community organisations in Sydney and Melbourne in marking ShabbaTTogether.
This initiative is an important step for the Jewish Community in Australia toward incorporating inclusion of individuals with disabilities in the synagogue and throughout Jewish life. ShabbaTTogether has sparked conversations about disability inclusion and mental health awareness and how the community can do more to increase access and participation in the services.’
Children and young people are an important driver of change in our society, and this is why we place such importance on teaching them about inclusion and the value of every individual from a young age. We offer several education programs:
Friendship Circle runs workshops on disability and inclusion across daycare centres and preschools in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs.
These workshops are 45-minutes long and run by professionally trained teachers who will come to your daycare centre or preschool. Children will be introduced to the topics of disability and inclusion through a variety of activities.
Workshops can be tailored to your needs so please call us to discuss: Chana Kavka 0430 159 252
Beni Mitzvah Program
Our Beni Mitzvah Program (BMP) is designed to complement a child’s Bat/ Bar Mitzvah program at their synagogue to help them transition into adulthood.
Through activities, games, and multimedia presentations, BMP participants will learn appropriate conduct when volunteering, the importance of social action and giving back to the community and the impact they can have on others. In addition to completing the BMP curriculum, participants and parents will coordinate and plan Sydney Friendship Circle’s BMP Drop-Off Event for children and their families. This event will be the participants’ first hands-on volunteer experience.
BMP is great as a stand-alone Bar/ Bat Mitzvah Project. It also gives teens a foundation to become a Friendship Circle Volunteer. BMP participants are invited to volunteer at any Friendship Circle program.
BMP will next be offered during Term 3 and will span four sessions.
At Friendship Circle, we help our volunteers reach their leadership potential through various channels.
Young people are the drivers of change. Therefore, it is important to teach them about inclusion and diversity from a young age. Once they reach adulthood, they have the potential to become leaders in our community, in their workplace, and beyond and advocate for a more inclusive society.
Volunteer Workshops and Orientations
All volunteers are required to participate in our regular volunteer workshops and orientations. In these workshops, they learn more about the particular program they are volunteering for, the needs of our participants, about risks and risk management, disability and inclusion, behaviour scenarios, and much more.
Workshops and orientations are offered regularly for our Sunday Morning Programs and for [email protected], and prior to each Day Camp.
Many of our volunteers join Friendship Circle in their early teens and continue to be involved into their adult years. Based on their skills, young adults are given the opportunity to step up and become volunteer leaders at Day Camps, Getaways, and other programs. This gives them the opportunity to develop leadership skills, mentor younger volunteers, and give back to the community.
The Friendship Circle Leadership Program is a new initiative first offered in 2019. It is an exciting opportunity for volunteer leaders to hone their leadership skills and grow their confidence, empowering them to create change in their communities. Guidance and mentoring are provided by industry experts, and the program includes a Leadership Conference, workshops and social events.