To Suri Bernhard, it’s all starts with Torah. As a volunteer with Friendship Circle of Atlanta (FC), a nonprofit organization that fosters inclusion through one-on-one relationships, Suri is both an ally and a friend for people with intellectual and physical disabilities. “The Torah teaches that we must respect all people, all souls, all creatures, for everyone is beloved in God’s eyes. Working at Friendship Circle enables me to be part of a larger picture, a purposeful goal, a beautiful kinship. One may think I am giving of myself to help others, but the opposite is true — I receive so much more than I give,” Suri says.
“I’m currently in nursing school in Atlanta and have been involved with Friendship Circle for about twelve years. FC has always been a place for me to learn and grow. I love learning with all my friends and getting to know each of them personally. My friends Simon, Todd, and Alan work at Kroger and Publix and I love the smiles and warm hugs I receive when I walk into the store and they are on shift. I have gone to shows and museums with my FC friends. My friend Mike plays a mean game of Scrabble, and always wins! Rachel Grey and I have been friends for more than fourteen years. She is an inspiration to me with so much artistic and creative ability. This photo of us was taken as we learned about the Torah portion together. Our friendship is real and sincere. Rachel keeps me in line, and always makes sure the program is running on time.”
Suri feels honored and privileged to interact with her FC friends. “They are amazing people and I am lucky they consider me part of the family. They teach me about courage, about kindness, about honesty, and most importantly, about gratitude. For me, Friendship Circle is a place of tremendous growth, laughter, change, and dignity. I feel blessed to be part of this wonderful team.”
Learn more about volunteering with Friendship Circle here.
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