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FC Blog

Summer Camp Opportunities for Children and Teens with Special Needs

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Summer is finally here so now is the perfect time to finalize family vacations and fun camps for the kids. Like most special needs parents already know, finding accessible and inclusive summer camps can be challenging. Lucky for you, we have the Friendship Circle Adventure Camp scheduled for August 23rd-26th from 9:30-12:30 pm. However, to keep your kids busy until then, here are some other inclusive summer camps to check out in the greater Seattle area. 

 

#1. Aspiring Youth (ages 8-18)

https://aspiringyouth.net/summer-camps/ 

 

Aspiring Youth welcomes all campers who would benefit from small-group settings and social skills support, including those with a diagnosis of autism, Asperger’s, ADHD… Read More »

Ways to Care for Your Mental Health

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Mental health matters. This past January The Friendship Circle of Washington launched a new mental health initiative called UMatter. UMatter is designed to empower young people to take their mental health into their own hands, building a network of support around themselves, developing tools, and breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health issues. UMatter has been a great outlet for our teen volunteers and we can’t wait to continue to grow the program. Since May is mental health awareness month, we compiled a list of ways you can care for your mental health. 

 

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#1. Know that you are not alone

Socializing reduces stress levels and we count on friendships for support and a sense of connection and… Read More »

Friendship Circle's 17th Annual Heroes Gala

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After two years of virtual galas, it was so exciting to see everyone in person at Friendship Circle’s 17th Annual Heroes Gala. On Thursday May 12th, sponsors, supporters and friends all joined together at the King St Ballroom at Embassy Suites in downtown Seattle to celebrate love, inclusion, and friendship. Each of you listened to the personal stories of our honorees, families, children, and teens with special needs, and teen heroes, and were inspired to make a momentous difference. 

 

Because of your generosity, together, we raised over $500,000!

 

We offer heartfelt thanks to everyone involved in making the 17th Annual Friendship Circle Heroes Gala a huge success! Your passion and commitment helped… Read More »

The Passover Message of Today!

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One of our great sages was Rabbi David ben Solomon, known as Radvaz. He was one of those exiled from Spain in 1492 during the period of the Spanish Inquisition. Radvaz was asked the following question: A Jew had been cruelly imprisoned by the local nobleman, and after much pleading the nobleman agreed to release him from jail for one day each year.  The Jew was now in a quandary, what day should he choose? Perhaps it should be Passover, so that during the holiday of freedom he can join with his family and community? Or maybe it should be Chanukah, the festival of lights? Or the day of his Birthday…

 

The Radvaz responded that he should seize the first possible opportunity to leave prison and engage in a… Read More »

Tips on How to be a Better Friend to Someone with Special Needs

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Friendships with a person with special needs are no different than friendships with anyone else. You hang out and do fun activities together, you support each other, you tell each other about your likes and dislikes, and work together to get through times of conflict. However, being a friend to someone with special needs does require paying attention to underlying assumptions and stereotypes that could come across as harmful. Here are some tips for how to maintain healthy and mutually satisfying friendships between a “typical” person and a person with special needs. 

 

#1. Make sure events and activities you do together are fully accessible

 

When you don’t have to worry about accessibility… Read More »

How to Have a Fun and Successful Purim

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Purim is almost here! This fun and action packed holiday is celebrated on the 14th of the Jewish month Adar to commemorate Judaism’s miraculous salvation almost 2,000 years ago. This year it will start the night of March 16th and last until March 17th. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the last two years have limited the Purim celebrations. However, with the end of the pandemic in sight, it’s time to celebrate with our friends and family in person again. Below we have listed the things to do before Purim, the four special mitzvahs of Purim and links to fun costume ideas and delicious recipes. 

 

What to do before Purim

#1. Torah reading of Zachor 

On the Shabbat before Purim (March 12th), a special reading… Read More »

Insights and Advice from Our Behavior Support Specialists

Behavior support specialists are vital to our programs as they provide coaching and support to our teen volunteers, help our participants meaningfully engage in activities, and create a stress-free environment. 

 

We have three amazing behavior support specialists: Sofia Carregha, Miranda Akins, and Anna Nguyen.

 

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Sofia is a student at the University of Washington getting her education specialist degree in school psychology. She got involved with Friendship Circle from our program manager Kimberleigh when they worked together at the summer camp Outdoors for All.
 
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Miranda works full time as a cancer researcher at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. In the past she worked as a behavioral specialist… Read More »

Meet Volunteer Superstar - Maggie Rojas!

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It’s time for another volunteer spotlight. This week on the blog we’re highlighting Maggie Rojas. Maggie is a junior at Mercer Island High School and has been volunteering with Friendship Circle for 3 years. Her personality is as bright as her hair and she always brings such a positive attitude to every program she attends. Thank you for all of your hard work Maggie! We couldn’t be more thankful to have you as a volunteer. 

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Interview questions 

 

What school do you go to and what grade are you in? 

I go to Mercer Island High School and I’m a junior. 

 

What extracurricular activities are you involved in?

I play soccer in the spring and I am a part of a club called… Read More »

Meet Volunteer Superstar David Kohorn!

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This week on the blog we’re highlighting FC volunteer David Kohorn! David is a junior at Issaquah High School and has been volunteering at Sunday Circle for about 4 years now. He is always so engaging with the participants and loves to participate in all the activities Sunday Circle has to offer. We’re so happy to have a volunteer as great as David! 

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Interview Questions  

What school do you go to and what grade are you in? 

I’m a junior at Issaquah High School. 


What extracurricular activities are you involved in?

I play for the Issaquah Gunners club soccer team. I’ve been playing soccer since I was seven so it’s a pretty big part of my life. 


How long have you… Read More »

Meet Volunteer Superstar Marina Prossin!

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We’re starting up the volunteer spotlights again! This week we’re highlighting Marina Prossin. Marina is a sophomore at Sammamish High School and has been volunteering with us for 5 years. Her big smile and positive attitude are so contagious and we love how compassionate she is with the participants. Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication Marina! We’re so lucky to have you. 

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Interview Questions 


What school do you go to and what grade are you in? 

I go to Sammamish High School and I’m a sophomore. 


What extracurricular activities are you involved in?

I’m on the swim team and I’m a part of Key Club. It’s a community service club. 


Read More »

14 Things Every Special Needs Parent Needs to Hear

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All of our Friendship Circle parents are amazing. Being a parent of a child or teen with special needs is extremely challenging and requires patience, sacrifice, and humility. Our FC parents tackle these challenges with such grace and sometimes they forget how incredible they are. That’s why we’ve created a list of things that every special needs parent needs to hear. 

 

#1. You are not alone 

There probably will not be another parent that has a child with the exact same diagnosis as yours. However, we are sure there are parents experiencing similar challenges. So, make sure to find those parents. Look on Facebook or join support groups. Just make sure to create a network of people who can support you… Read More »

The 9 Best Toys for Children with Special Needs to Have

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Almost every child loves playing with toys, however children with special needs may need toys that are more engaging, help them learn more, and encourage sensory play. For that reason, we’ve put together a list of some of the best toys for children with special needs that will keep them entertained for hours and teach them valuable life skills.

 #1. Tumblin Monkeys

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The game is best played by 2 or more siblings or friends. Kids place colorful sticks through the see-through and hollow palm tree. Then they pour the plastic monkeys into the palm tree and take turns pulling out the colorful sticks without causing the monkeys to fall. This game is not only fun but it helps with strategy and coordination.

 Read More »

New Year's Resolutions Special Needs Parents Should Make

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It’s that time of year again where we wipe the slate clean and make a list of things we want to achieve in the new year. For parents with children and teens with special needs, they often forget to prioritize themselves in their New Year's resolutions. Having a child with special needs takes a lot of time and energy and requires someone to be selfless. However, if the parent is not at their best, then their children won’t be either. That’s why for this year we have come up with some resolutions that will prioritize the parents and their needs so that everyone in the family will have a happy and healthy new year.

 

#1: Make a list of backup babysitters/caregivers

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Are you worried about what… Read More »

Looking Back at 2021

As the eve of 2022 is upon us, let’s take a look back and reflect on what an amazing year we have had here at the Friendship Circle.

January 

Zoom Sunday Circles

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In January we welcomed in the new year. Even with COVID still going on, we managed to start off 2021 on the right foot. We couldn’t have Sunday Circle in-person. However, we continued doing it over Zoom. Our participants and their teen buddies got to experience the magic that Sunday Circle brings from their own homes. From music with Wendy to Kung Fu with Sifu Kim, our participants and buddies still had a great time.

 

February 

Purim Deliveries

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In February we delivered delicious treats and goodies. This year the holiday of… Read More »

Tips and Activities to Keep You and Your Child With Special Needs Entertained Over Winter Break

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Winter Break is a great time to take a step back and reconnect with our loved ones. However, it can also be unorganized, chaotic, and stressful, especially for families who have a child or teen with special needs. That being said, here is a guide with tips and activities to keep everyone sane during the break. 

 

Tips 

1. Create a daily routine 

Without school going on, there is no set schedule or routine during winter break. Many children and teens with special needs thrive on having a routine, so creating one during winter break is essential. Here is an example of a daily routine:

 

Wake up, have breakfast, get dressed, morning activity, lunch, afternoon activity, nap or independent time… Read More »

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