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From the heart
As the Federal Member for Wentworth, I am a supporter of the Friendship Circle and am committed to assisting them to establish themselves in any way possible.
The Honourable Malcolm Turnbull MP
I do Friendship Circle because I think it is a great way to help out and give back to the community.I love when we are out on a trip and my friend gives me a beautiful smile, even it is just for moment. I also feel great when I see the parent's faces when they come to pick up their children. They are so happy that their child is smiling knowing that they have a great time.
Shmaya Krinksy – Volunteer
Jonty really enjoyed the activities last term.He particularly enjoyed the Hamentashen making and has asked me a few times if we can make Hamentashen again. I know he really enjoys coming to the Sunday Circle as he looks forward to going, and feels happy and confident when I leave him.
Jacqui Kopelowitz - Parent
As always we think what you are doing is fabulous. You are very intuitive and seem to know exactly what level, how long, how many. etc
Millie Karpin – Parent
There are very few programs for disabled people and children are generally placed in a queue. Not all of the programs are appropriate for the child and there is sometimes inadequate supervision. In addition, other programs generally team a group of disabled children together with a number of adult carers. Thus our disabled children are never surrounded by "normal" children but rather by adults who are always telling them what to do ("finding fault" with some of their behaviors).
When ordinary children play together there is a wide range of behaviors and the children learn what is acceptable play and social interaction without the intervention of an adult. Disabled children do not get this opportunity. That is why the Friendship Circle and the Torah Circle are such an innovative and wonderful idea. The disabled child is paired with a "friend' and has the opportunity to develop a friendship outside school and without parental intervention. The children negotiate their own terms of interaction and our disabled child has the opportunity to speak normally and to act in a normal environment. This has a positive effect on behavior and learning.
Our child was at one time assimilated into a normal classroom environment. We noticed that he was brighter and had positive interactions with his peers. When he attended respite with disabled children however, he came home acting "disabled" and it took a few hours for him to snap out of it. We are delighted with the Friendship Circle and the Torah Circle as it gives him the opportunity to have a normal life, albeit for several hours.
I would also like to say a few words on behalf of the family. We are in awe of the Kavkas for their enthusiasm and commitment for this program. Together they have put so much energy into making this program work. They have recruited and trained some of the loveliest children who show great compassion and friendliness towards the children. The program accepts children with all types of disabilities and abilities and everyone is treated the same. This is a much needed program for both the disabled children and the volunteer children. With other programs the level of commitment is not there and the turnover of staff is high. That is not the case here. We are very grateful for these programs and would like to see them expanded. Congratulations to the Kavkas for their commitment, organizational skills and the love they have put into the programs.
Rosana Tyler– Parent
The buddy program has been a wonderful experience for my 9 year old with Down Syndrome.She has benefited from planning activities before their visit, from using her time with them wisely and from developing relationships with older girls outside the family.
They in turn have been smiling and willing to participate in whatever Bracha would like them to do. She knows that she can rely on them to play her games and they always seem to be having a good time.
We wish there could have been more time to further develop the relationships. The program truly has long term benefits for children with disabilities
Susan Zeilic – Parent