Friendship Circle of Los Angeles Celebrates 16 Years of Service to the Community


Friendship Circle of Los Angeles Celebrates 16 Years of Service to the Community

On Tuesday, May 21st, Friendship Circle of Los Angeles (FCLA) celebrated their 552 volunteers at their annual Garden Party. In their 16th year, FCLA runs 24 programs for Jewish children and young adults who have special needs. The night culminated an incredible year at FCLA, with the ceremony highlighting their shared passion for inclusion.

The Family of Friendship Award was presented to Jeremy and Naomi Ives. Jeremy is Executive Director Rabbi Michy Rav-Noy’s childhood friend and an early supporter of FCLA. As a sponsor for the last five years of Friendship Circle’s annual Walk4Friendship, Jeremy spoke passionately about their family’s desire to help FCLA spread the word of inclusion and acceptance of children who have special needs.

Chanie Lazaroff, the Mitzvah Volunteer Program (MVP) coordinator, recognized the 73 MVP graduates for dedicating their time to learning more about how to interact appropriately with children who have special needs. The sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-graders of MVP stood proudly, wearing their exclusive, personalized, MVP sweatshirts.

Keynote Speaker, Brandon Farbstein, captivated the crowd with his story. After severe bullying and an attempted suicide, he turned his life around and inspires others to do the same. His words made an engaging and profound impact on the entire crowd. After discovering his calling at age 15 on the TedX stage, Brandon has spent four years traveling the world as a GenZ activist and author. He realized his life’s meaning: to change the lens through which people see their world.

An amazing group of 51 volunteers received the Fellowship Award given to volunteers who have dedicated an exceptional number of hours to spending time with their special friends and furthering their knowledge in the field of special education. Each volunteer was called up and presented with a beautiful certificate and glass award for their tremendous commitment.

FCLA’s program director, Miriam Rav-Noy, presented Julius English with the Heineini Award. Julius has been a dependable and outstanding head behaviorist for seven years.

Amid confetti and cheers, FCLA presented their seniors with canvas duffel bags in appreciation for their years of dedication. Miriam Rav-Noy warmed the crowd as she saluted the volunteers. She said, “We are so many flames ablaze. Together, when we shine brighter, warmer and stronger, we are unstoppable!”