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Meet One of Our Volunteer Superstars - Max Rubenstein!

Thursday, 4 November, 2021 - 12:00 pm

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This week on the blog we're highlighting FC volunteer Max Rubenstein. Max has been involved with Friendship Circle for many years now and we have loved watching him grow. He is present at almost every program and event we offer and his compassion shines through with every buddy he hangs out with. We're so lucky to have him in our circle!  

 

Interview 


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

I go to University Prep and I’m a junior.


What extracurricular activities do you participate in?

I am the regional Vice President of BBYO (B'nai B'rith Youth Organization). It’s a Jewish youth group and that's something that takes up a lot of my time. I'm also the yearbook copy editor, and I’m one of the executives for a club called LEAD where we plan community conversations. 


What do you like to do in your free time? 

I really like spending time with my friends. I have different support groups from many places such as Friendship Circle, school, and BBYO. So whenever I have free time I like to spend as much time with them as I can. 


How long have you been involved with Friendship Circle?

I’ve been involved for four years now. It’s funny because I didn’t go through MVP. There must have been a fluke in the system so I immediately started volunteering at Sunday Circle as a 7th grader. I didn’t know any different, so I just went with it. When my other friends signed up, they were like oh are you doing MVP also, and I had no idea what that was. Even though I wasn’t in MVP, I was able to pick up everything pretty quickly. 


What made you want to join The Friendship Circle?

I heard about it a lot through people at my synagogue and friends from my school and it just seemed like a great organization. At that point I had dipped my toes a little bit into the philanthropic world, and for the most part I did really small volunteer opportunities. For example, I volunteered a few times at a food bank and there was something called a Pie Bake at my school. However, those opportunities didn’t feel that meaningful to me so I wanted to find an organization where I could make a long lasting connection. That’s why I decided to join Friendship Circle. 


Are you on the leadership board? If so, what does it mean to be a leader to you?

Yes I’m on the leadership board. For me, being a leader is about setting an example for what is expected of people in any type of setting. Anyone can come in and explain the expectations, norms, and intentions. However, a leader is the person actually showing others how they should be acting. In other words, a leader puts words into action. Also, I think a leader is a person who promotes the cycle of leadership. They try to foster other good leaders for the future by making connections with others and encouraging them to be better. This in turn inspires others to become leaders which just keeps the cycle of leadership alive. 


How has the Friendship Circle impacted your life? 

Friendship Circle has opened my eyes to some of the challenges that people with developmental disorders face. One thing I’ve really thought about in the past few months, is that the community of people with disabilities is unrepresented in many ways. There’s been such a strong push for inclusion and diversity but to me that feels more race based, gender based, or sexuality based. Don’t get me wrong, I think those are really important things. However, I think when you think about movies, books, and the politicians who run our country you don’t see communities of varying ability levels represented. I think that’s unfortunate, but I believe that Friendship Circle is working to change. This is what is so meaningful to me. It’s so special that I get to meet all these people and see just how capable they are and that they can do everything that any neurotypical person can do. For example, with my buddy Simon, he’s six years old and he has high functioning Aspergers and he is one of the smartest six year olds I have ever met. Finally, I think Friendship Circle has worked hard to not only change my stigmas but our communities' stigmas surrounding people with disabilities. 


What has been your favorite FC program?

I think my favorite program is Sunday Circle because it’s one of the best balances. When you’re paired up with a buddy you get the opportunity to hang out with neurodivergent people as well as neurotypical people and I think that’s the best of both worlds. I also think that the programs at Sunday Circle are so interactive. I love watching the buddies spark up and get so excited to participate in all the activities. 


If you could describe the Friendship Circle in one word, what would it be?

Change.

 

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