NEW YORK (JTA) — An afterschool Jewish education program for children with special needs opened in Los Angeles.
The Friendship Circle of Los Angeles, a program that pairs Jewish teenage volunteers with children with special needs, opened the Friendship Circle of Los Angeles Hebrew School on Nov. 9. The new supplementary education program hosts separate classes for boys and girls with autism, Asperger’s syndrome, Down syndrome and other developmental issues, according to the L.A. Jewish Journal.
“Most families who have kids with special needs can’t send the kids to Jewish day schools, and as a result there is a major void in their Jewish education,” L.A. Friendship Circle founder and operator Rabbi Michy Rav-Noy told the Journal.
Ray-Noy and a co-director from the school will teach the weekly program with continued help from teenage volunteers. The teens, along with the students, come from a variety of Jewish backgrounds and offer one-on-one assistance to their assigned peers.
Ray-Noy wants to expand the education program into an in-depth Hebrew school for children with and without special needs, and he is working with Vista Del Mar, a Jewish-founded child and family service center, to create curriculum and expansion programs, according to the Jewish Journal.
The Friendship Circle of Los Angeles also runs summer and winter camps, kung fu and karate programs, and Sunday and holiday events.