The theme was “The Power of Love” as the Conejo Valley, California Friendship Circle celebrated its 10th anniversary at the Hyatt Westlake Plaza hotel on Monday night and paid tribute with Pioneer Leadership Awards to 19 volunteers.
The nonprofit Friendship Circle has several programs, but its most popular is Friends at Home, through which teenagers visit a child with special needs weekly, share quality time and foster a relationship.
“What I think is most significant about the Friendship Circle is its uniqueness in giving an opportunity for teen volunteers to give back to the community by befriending and being buddies to special-needs children,” said Rabbi Eli Laber, director of the Friendship Circle.
“In 10 years, we’ve had over 1,000 teenagers go through the program volunteering. … One of our pioneers asked to transfer back to a California college because he missed visiting his ‘kid.’ Those are things no one could expect when we started the program.”
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