About us

Who we are

The Friendship Circle is today’s fastest growing organization for children with special needs. With over 79 locations worldwide, the Friendship Circle has cultivated friendships between 7,000 special children and close to 11,000 teen volunteers. The Friendship Circle’s unique approach brings together teenage volunteers and children with special needs for hours of fun and friendship. These shared experiences empower the children, our special friends, while enriching the lives of everyone involved. 

Our Mission

They don’t attend regular social gatherings like most, and their classmates can’t interact with them in the same way as most children. They may be missing extra attention, love and friendship from friends and people in their community. The Solution is the Friendship Circle. The Friendship Circle provides assistance to families with physically or intellectually challenged children.

The Circle’s unique formula introduces teenage volunteers to the children and through shared experiences both are enriched.
The Friendship Circle is made up of five parts: volunteers, children, parents, staff, and supporters. The true beauty of the circle is how we all link together to form a seamless circle of friendship. Together, we can perform miracles!

The Friendship Circle touches so many in our community: The child with special-needs looks forward to weekly visits from his or her teenage friend, as well as the special events they get to attend throughout the year. The teenage volunteer learns the value of giving, and cherishes the experience of making a difference in a child’s life while bringing a smile to his or her face. The child’s family gets much needed respite and the pleasure of seeing their child become part of the community. They also get to share and interact with others facing circumstances and challenges similar to their own. The supporter provides the wherewithal for the Friendship Circle to exist. By observing the very obvious difference the program is making to so many lives, supporters of the Friendship Circle make the smiles of these special children their own.

The Friendship Circle’s Grill

About the Grill

The Friendship Grill is a unique cafe serving top quality food and at the same time meeting the needs of special needs adults in the South Florida area. The Friendship Grill is an extension of The Friendship Circle of Fort Lauderdale, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. The Grill is our training and workplace setting for adults from The Friendship Circle.

The Friendship Grill focuses on ABILITIES, not disabilities. We are a safe, secure and nurturing environment for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Our aim is to encourage and convert unique abilities into meaningful job skills, fostering friendships, and a sense of belonging. Our Friendship employees develop a sense of pride that comes from contributing to their own support.

This program was made possible by the generous support of The Jewish Federation.