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FC Blog

Meet One of Our Volunteer Superstars - Mila Shulman!

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This month we’re highlighting FC volunteer Mila Shulman! Her positive energy and smile lights up a room. Mila has been at Friendship Circle for a few years and makes an effort to attend almost every event we offer. Whether she’s leading the art project at Sunday Circles or contributing her ideas at leadership meetings, Mila really does go above and beyond. We’re so lucky to have her!

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Interview 


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

I go to Newport High School and I’m a junior. 


What extracurricular activities do you participate in?

I am part of three clubs at my school. I’m a part of knights who code, music creators club, and the Black Student… Read More »

Rise and Shine FC - 2021 Volunteer Kickoff and Orientation!

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It was a dream to see everyone in person again. This past Sunday we had our annual volunteer kickoff and orientation and it was a huge success. The kickoff is a great way for new and veteran volunteers to develop new skills, meet new friends, and get excited about all of the great programs Friendship Circle has to offer. The theme was “rise and shine” where everyone wore their brightest and shiniest apparel.

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At the kickoff we had an educational workshop where volunteers had the opportunity to ask questions, play telephone pictionary, and enjoy our pancake/waffle/bagel bar. We were also lucky to have three special guests come and offer their unique perspectives: Tom Acker, an FC parent, Rebecca Berg, an… Read More »

Highlights from the First In-Person Sunday Circle of the Year

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After almost a year and a half of virtual events, we were excited to have our first in-person Sunday Circle of the year! Sunday Circle took place on October 3rd, at our new location, the Stroum Jewish Community Center (SJCC). It was so great to see all of our amazing kids and volunteers smiling, having fun, and making new friends. Like always, there were many fun activities for the kids and volunteers to do such as music with Wendy and Dianna, and Kung Fu with Sifu Kim.

 

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There were also arts and crafts, where everyone got to make their own sensory lightbulb. To make your own sensory lightbulb at home, follow our instructions below. 

 

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Materials needed

-plastic light bulbs

Read More »

8 Activities for Children and Teens with Special Needs to do This Fall

It’s that time of year again. The air is getting colder and the leaves are turning yellow, orange, and red. Fall is a great time to take in the beauty of the changing seasons and enjoy the last bits of dry and sunny days before the rain takes over. It’s a time to pick apples, carve pumpkins, check out museums, and manage your way through a corn maze. Sadly, for children and teens with disabilities, these fun fall activities can be challenging and not accessible. However, now there are more fun activities happening in the greater Seattle area that are available to every child!

 

#1. Go to the pumpkin patch at Swans Trail Farms

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Going to the pumpkin patch is the quintessential fall activity for many families, however… Read More »

Meet Friendship Circle's Newest Staff Members!

Here at Friendship Circle we already have a wonderful group of staff, volunteers, children, and their families. However, we are always looking to expand our circle. With that being said, we are happy to announce that we now have three new staff members!   

 

Meet Ciara Coughlan - She/her

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Ciara is our new Executive Assistant! She was born and raised in Denver, Colorado and she just graduated from CU Boulder with a BA in international affairs and Spanish. In her free time Ciara loves to cook, hike, and practice yoga. So far she has loved Seattle with it’s beautiful greenery and amazing coffee. Ever since her freshman year of college, Ciara has always known that she wanted to work for non… Read More »

Books and resources to prepare your children for Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur is one of the most important and holiest days in the Jewish year. With the holiday upon us, it’s important that children, especially those with disabilities, understand its meaning and traditions. For young kids, the high holidays and time spent in the synagogue can be confusing. On the other hand, for parents, Yom Kippur can be difficult to explain to young children. But fear not, as these books and resources will make for a smooth and easy Yom Kippur for both children and their parents.

 

Books

 

1. The book of Jonah by Peter E. Spier

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This classic story of Jonah and the fish is one that is told in synagogues every year on Yom Kippur. In the story Jonah tries to run away, however he… Read More »

Program kickoff at We Rock the Spectrum


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It’s clear that The Friendship Circle is off to a great start this year. Our program kicked off this past Sunday, September 12th at We Rock the Spectrum. Friendship is the greatest gift and we couldn’t be more proud of our community for coming together and making this event happen. All the amazing volunteers and kids had a great time hanging out with their buddies and playing on all the structures. They also got to experience a music session from our talented music therapist Dianna.

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The isolation from COVID-19 has made it challenging for people to stay connected and maintain friendships. It’s especially difficult for kids and teens with special needs who already feel isolated on a day-to-day basis. However, at… Read More »

Taking a look back: Wisdom from our alumni

The Friendship Circle positively impacts the lives of children with special needs in the Greater Seattle area. Our programs and services, from music at our weekly Sunday Circle to our annual Summer Carnival, spark joy in the lives and hearts of our participants, their families, and our teen volunteers. Our impact is immeasurable, which often leaves us wondering how these special moments and friendships continue to influence the lives of our alumni. In order to find out, we spoke with two of our rock star volunteer alumnus about their experiences with FC and the lessons they took with them into adulthood.

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Sophie Cohen

Sophie was a dedicated volunteer. She started as an 8th grader in our MVP program and continued to… Read More »

The first of many in-person events- Summer Carnival 2021

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    The end-of-the-year celebratory Summer Carnival on June 13th was a joyous in-person event for all friendship circle families to enjoy. The event was meant to take place outside, however rainy weather forced a last minute change of location to the SJCC on Mercer Island. The infamous Bubble Man gave a much anticipated bubble show producing squeals and giggles from audience members. Inside the SJCC gym, volunteers set up a dozen booths with fun games, activities and prizes. The in-person event felt like a celebration of the end of a long year of isolation which was especially difficult for families with special needs children. 

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    Throughout the pandemic, Friendship Circle of… Read More »

7 books that feature characters with disabilities

 

It’s important that children feel represented in the shows they watch and the books they read. It’s equally important for all children to be exposed to the beautiful diversity of our world. We’ve rounded up 7 books that feature characters with disabilities that promote representation and inclusivity. 

 

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1. The Animal Boogie, Debbie Harter

Kids of different cultural backgrounds and physical disabilities meet animals in the jungle in this lively book. 

 

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2. Susan Laughs, by Jeanne Wills

Susan Laughs is an award winning book that uses simple rhymes to show Susan laughing, playing, being scared, working hard, and more. Wills depicts Susan as a little girl who… Read More »

Friendship Circle's 16th Annual Virtual Gala Event

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Every year, the Friendship Circle of Washington hosts a glamorous Gala Dinner at the Hilton downtown Seattle. As the most crucial fundraising event of the year, FCWA staff put in an incredible amount of time and effort to ensure that the benefit dinner is a memorable experience for all attendees. The energy in the room is electric as parents, teens and children with special needs whose lives are changed by our programs tell their stories. 


Although this year’s 16th Annual Heroes Gala Event can’t be in person, our staff is putting in just as much blood, sweat and tears to ensure this year’s event is just as entertaining and special as year’s past. With 45-minutes of professionally produced video… Read More »

Six Local Summer Camps for Children and Teens with Special Needs: 2021

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Summer camp is a special experience for children and teens all over the world. Finding summer camp opportunities for children with special needs, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, can be challenging. Continue reading for great summer camp options for children and teens with special needs in Washington!

 

Blue Compass Camps

Multiple locations including Poulsbo, Stanwood, and Port Orchard, WA

Ages 10-22

These guided adventure camps are focused on building social skills and self-confidence in children and teens, including those with Asperger’s, ADHD and high-functioning autism. Programs are designed to assist campers to utilize interpersonal skills and social interaction tools, and demonstrate to them that they can… Read More »

Invest in friendship and improve your health: 3 reasons your friends will help you live longer

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Not only do friends make you happier, they also help you live a longer and healthier life. Friendship supports physical, mental and emotional health.

Here are 3 ways friends benefit your health:

 

 

1. Less loneliness, more connection.


 

Though it may seem like common sense, friends help keep you social. The socialization aspect of friendship is very important because when you socialize, you feel connected to others and less isolated. Loneliness and isolation pose huge risks to our physical and mental health. So not only do friendships help you build social skills, they also reduce the risk of isolation.


Good friends not only prevent isolation; they prevent loneliness. It’s the… Read More »

Meet one of our volunteer superstars- Andrew Howison!

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Andrew helps out with nearly every program we have! He always takes initiative by signing up for opportunities. As a leadership board member, he contributes great ideas for new programs and methods of engagement.

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

I go to Mercer Island High School, and I'm a Sophomore. 


What other extracurricular activities do you participate in?

I am involved with our school's radio station, 889 The Bridge. I am the Digital Media Director for 889 and a podcast host. This doesn't count as an extracurricular but takes up a lot of my time; this year, I am a class officer, so I have been working with my school's administrators on working out plans to combat COVID and strategies for hybrid… Read More »

4 inspiring videos that raise awareness about Down syndrome

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World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD), March 21st, is a global awareness day which has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012. 

 Down syndrome (or Trisomy 21) is a naturally occurring chromosomal arrangement that has always been a part of the human condition. Here are three short videos and one film that raise awareness about Down syndrome:

  1.  'Chromosome R Us' is a cute, entertaining and clever short film by actors with Down syndrome explaining how Trisomy 21 occurs. 

 2. The Canadian Down syndrome society found the most-asked questions on Google about Down syndrome and asked 10 Canadians with Down syndrome to give their answers. Watch here.  

 

3. Read More »

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