MVP is our inclusive access point for tweens and teens (6th & 7th Graders – ages 12-14) who are interested in getting involved in Philly Friendship Circle & being inclusive friends. MVP is also an engaging and meaningful Bar/Bat Mitzvah program. The program builds a foundation to understand and accept each other’s differences and how to apply those lessons at school, synagogue, home, and future Philly Friendship Circle programs!

COMMITMENT & DEPOSIT FORM – CLICK HERE!

Program

Through activities, games, and multimedia presentations, MVP participants learn about communication, human development, diagnosis and more. We teach these subjects through special needs advocacy, Jewish values, and current events. This dynamic and interactive approach opens doors to meaningful discussion and personal growth for participants. In addition to weekday gatherings, participants and their parents attend Sunday Circle to get hands-on experience participating in our programs. 

What to Expect: MVP Time Commitment

Get a glimpse behind the scenes and join our fun programs with new friends!

Please see below for our MVP session dates for the 2023-2024 school year. Check out which one of the 4 sessions you would like to attend!

SESSION 1 – Wednesdays: 10/11, 10/18, 10/25, 11/1, 11/8 (PLUS Sunday Circle on 10/15, 10/22, 11/12)

SESSION 2 – Mondays: 11/20, 11/27, 12/4, 12/11, 12/18 (PLUS Sunday Circle on 12/3, 12/10, 12/17)

SESSION 3 – Thursdays: 1/18, 1/25, 2/1, 2/8, 2/15 (PLUS Sunday Circles on 1/21, 1/28, 2/4)

SESSION 4 – Wednesdays: 2/28, 3/6, 3/13, 3/20, 3/27 (Plus Sunday Circles on 3/3, 3/10 and Zoo Trip on 3/17  OR Purim Celebration on 3/24)

These are the steps to register for MVP:

  1. Please fill out our general intake form (click here) to become an “official” member of our Philly Friendship Circle community! 
  2. Our Communications and Engagement Lead will schedule an introductory Zoom call with your child AND at least one parent. (Intro Zoom calls are noncommittal and the perfect opportunity for children and parents to ask questions, bring up scheduling concerns, etc.) 
  3. The final step is to submit the MVP Commitment and Deposit Form for your child via our website. Our Communications and Engagement Lead will share it with you! 
  4. As per that form, to guarantee your child’s commitment, a refundable deposit of $180 is required prior to the 1st MVP gathering of their session. You will be directed to make your deposit through the form but it is not due until the 1st MVP gathering session.

Impact

“Although I was apprehensive at first to join Philly Friendship Circle, the more I participated, the more comfortable I felt. Philly Friendship Circle taught me kindness and respect because I learned… how to embrace other people’s differences.” – Mia, graduate of our MVP program, from the pulpit at her Bat Mitzvah

Email our Communications & Engagement Lead, Chava Tova, to learn more!

Think of Sunday Circle as an awesome day camp, with 4 groups rotating from activity to activity. As much as Sunday Circle is a structured environment, we also seek to create a customized experience for everyone and their unique needs. We encourage friends to at least try each activity, but you will also see pairs of friends going on walks throughout the program, or sitting down on the floor to read a book together. 

Our only 2 rules are BE YOURSELF and HAVE FUN!

We provide a lot of support via our full-time staff and also have a full team of Friendship Experts on site, who are professionals in the special needs field. In addition, our activities are led by professional facilitators and educators.

We rotate our Sunday Circle activities from week to week, always giving friends a chance to explore new ways to have fun! However, there is always one steady presence on our activities schedule, which is… our Art Studio! The Studio is led by our dedicated Art Therapist, and culminates in a gallery-style show of the work that our youth artists create throughout the school year. (At the end of the school year, all artists’ work is made available for purchase.)

Meanwhile, parents can join our popular networking and information sessions (or simply enjoy some free time) in our specially dedicated Parent Lounge.

Email our Communications & Engagement Lead, Chava Tova, to learn more!

Sign Up Today

Friends@Home is a unique weekly program that brings two people together to build a genuine friendship, unlike any other. 

Our Friends@Home team works diligently to match up pairs of friends based on age, interests, and geographic location. Friends@Home pairs play games, create unique artwork, or do any other fun activities they choose! 

Participating in Friends@Home is an incredible step toward building a lasting relationship between two friends who may not have met otherwise!

Email our Member Support Coordinator to learn more.

Sign Up Today

We offer a variety of skill-building leadership opportunities for teens who wish to make a deeper commitment to our mission. These programs go hand in hand with our Fellowship Awards, provide comprehensive leadership development, and happen to be excellent credentials on college admissions applications.

Meetings

Participants provide integral, hands-on support to Philly Friendship Circle programs and participate in community engagement activities. Through our dynamic and rewarding meetings, teen leaders engage in group workshops and strategic discussions building the future of Philly Friendship Circle. We infuse the program with exciting, thought-provoking events which raise awareness and strengthen advocacy for the special needs community. Leaders gain hands-on experience working alongside the staff to recruit new members and run our programs.  

Impact 

Our program offers different tracks which have varying degrees of commitment and responsibility. These opportunities create various access points for any teen to get involved where they feel comfortable. 

Teen Leadership Roles

General Board

General Board members work to  enhance our programs, making them more meaningful and enjoyable for all – as well as recruit peers to join our circle!  General Board members learn fundamental maturity-building skills like: presence and consistent attendance, making valuable contributions via their feedback and ideas, accountability via clear communication and time management, speaking publicly, and being flexible!

Executive Board

The Executive Board is composed of teens who have previously served on the General Board and want to further their commitment to Leadership. They are the Co-Chairs for the General Board committees. In addition to the skills listed for the General Board, Executive Board members enhance their project management skills, like: planning and implementing meetings, creating agendas, delegating and following up on tasks, and gathering feedback. Executive Board members ultimately learn to take initiative, make final decisions, and set reachable goals.

Mentors

Our mentors are a group of our most dedicated teens who have participated in our leadership programs throughout their high school years. Mentors have the distinct privilege of being chairs of our annual fundraising events, as they learn about the fundraising and development side of our community events. This is also a chance for them to mentor and guide the incoming group of teen leaders and share insights from past boards and experiences.

Teen Board Liaison

This position is the connection point between our organizational board of directors, and our teen body. The Teen Board Liaison will periodically collect program assessments from Teen Leaders via feedback sessions, and act as a representative of the general teen body to Philly Friendship Circle staff and our Board of Directors.

Requirements

Every Leadership Board member is required to participate in the following:

Applications open in the spring.

Email our Communications & Engagement Lead, Chava Tova, to learn more!

Fellowship Awards are presented to teens and young adults who demonstrate outstanding commitment to Philly Friendship Circle. We honor their dedication at an annual Fellowship Award Ceremony at the end of each programming year. 

To receive an award:

30 hours = Bronze Fellowship Award
60 hours = Silver Fellowship Award
90 hours = Gold Fellowship Award
120 hours = Platinum Fellowship Award

*Hours roll over from year to year, allowing recipients to achieve higher levels of recognition at each milestone.

**Package assembly and delivery hours count towards Fellowship hours. Please take photos and log your hours for accurate recording.

Awardees must also have participated in 2 out of 3 FC Community Events (Philly Friendship Walk, FC Art Show, Annual Gala) in some way (i.e. attending the event or volunteering at it, actively fundraising, creating material to be displayed at the event, etc.).

2024 Fellowship Awardees

Senior Legacy (Over 120 hours):

Junior Legacy (Over 120 hours):

Sophomore Legacy (Over 120 hours):

Platinum (120 hours):

Gold (90 Hours):

Silver (60 Hours):

Bronze (30 Hours):

Schmoozing, learning about resources, fun nights out, and beyond… with parents who “get” you — and us, your community who’s here to support you.

“I feel part of a larger, special community. I went to my first event with my son a few weeks ago and realized that I knew other parents who were also members of the Friendship Circle! It made me feel closer to them and lucky that I found out about this organization!” – Nancy, Philly Friendship Circle Mom

Parents’ Lounge at Sunday Circle and Young Adult Group Dinners

Catch a breather or join fellow parents to connect, learn, and support one another while we get to spend time with your awesome child(ren)!

Parent Seminars 

Learn from and connect with a large network of Philly Friendship Circle parents! Join workshops that are connective and practical on topics like care providers, changes in laws and how they affect individuals with disabilities, and planning for your child’s future.

Parents’ Nights Out (and In)! Nosh. Connect. Schmooze.

Thoughtfully curated, relaxing, and bonding events for parents of children with special needs (of all ages). We offer moms’ and dads’ nights out over welcoming meals and time for you to enjoy some respite. Socialize and take a breather with a few members of our staff and fellow parents.

The feeling of community is powerful. Having a fun, inclusive, and accessible community is vital to welcoming all families. In addition to our ongoing programs, we run a number of community events and activities to enjoy with family and friends such as field trips, community service “mitzvah” projects, Shabbat dinners, Jewish holiday celebrations, and more:

View 2023 Calendar