About The Friendship Foundation
Who We Are
The Friendship Foundation, formally known as the Friendship Circle of the South Bay, is a non-profit organization dedicated to making a dramatic difference in the lives of children and young adults with special needs, and their families, through one-to-one peer mentoring and social-recreational programs in the homes, schools, and communities of the South Bay and surrounding areas.
Our organization provides a variety of social, recreational and respite programs throughout the year - at little to no cost. We strive to create a fun, safe, and accepting environment crossing over a multitude of opportunities for the special needs community including athletics, art, music, theater, and field trips. Certain programs target specific age groups, while others encompass a broad gathering of all ages. At each program, children with special needs are paired with student volunteers for an event full of fun, peer interaction.
The Friendship Foundation serves to augment our local educational systems and professional therapies by creating a natural setting for individuals with special needs to practice the skills they are learning amongst their peers.
Founded in 2005, we focused our sights on simultaneously impacting two populations in the South Bay community: children with special needs and students with a willingness and desire to volunteer. We wanted to model for our community a lifestyle of acceptance and unity, fueled by the energetic and dedicated philanthropic students living amongst us.
We started out with 8 children with special needs and 22 teen volunteers, meeting once per month on a Sunday afternoon in Manhattan Beach. At each "Sunday Circle," our group would gather to hang out and socialize while playing games, singing songs and enjoying a variety of interactive entertainments. Soon thereafter, a few of our teens took this concept to their high schools and established school-sanctioned clubs at Mira Costa High School, Palos Verdes High School, and Redondo Union High School.
Today, we offer programs 6 days per week, year-round. We provide services for hundreds of children and young adults with special needs and approximately 1,000 student volunteers. Friendship Foundation Clubs are established throughout the South Bay at elementary, middle, and high school levels in public, private, and charter schools; our members are constantly growing throughout Los Angeles County.