Real Life Heroes

I love when my family life and work life sometimes collide. Around this time last year, my son Adam was searching for a service project in honor of his upcoming Bar Mitzvah. He wanted to work directly with children, but at age 12, the options were limited. Which is how we happened upon The Friendship Circle, a nonprofit offering social interaction for special needs Jewish youth with their typically developing peers.

Adam began by volunteering with the Birthday Program. With no prior training, he was paired up with another boy who had autism at a local gymnastics facility. (Their philosophy - “I don’t need to train you how to be a friend.”) Walking to the car after that first experience, Adam shared, "It was really hard, but I want to do it again.”

I started emailing with the director, Chana Kaplan, and after her noticing my company's name in my email signature, said, “We need to talk.” The 10th anniversary of their organization was coming up and they wanted to celebrate in a big way.

When I say that I love what I do, part of the reason is getting to know real life heroes who do great things in the world.
Chana & Mendel Kaplan have created a program that is truly life-changing for everyone involved – from the children with special needs who would not have many friends if it weren’t for this program, to their more typical peers, who often choose related careers after this experience.

As part of their anniversary video, we featured a family with a teenage daughter who not only has autism, but also has severe Crohn’s disease. Hearing her parents talk about how this organization has changed their lives was truly inspiring.

The real heroes of this story aren’t just the families and volunteers, but Chana and Mendel, who saw a need in the community and decided to do something about it.

  • Debbie was an absolute pleasure to work with. She was easy going, professional and understood our vision. Most importantly, DMB Pictures produced a masterpiece which wowed the 400 people who attended our event and helped us raise critical funds for the Friendship Circle. All in all we could not have chosen a better partner for this project and would highly recommend DMB Pictures for any personal or organizational video production.

    Rabbi Mendel Kaplan
    Rabbi Mendel Kaplan, Director, Friendship Circle
  1. Daphna
    October 31, 2017 at 13:25

    This was great!

  2. Joan Van De Moortel
    November 2, 2017 at 17:11

    Debbie, your video/work on The Friendship Circle is wonderful, as usual. Thanks for shedding some light on this.

  3. November 21, 2017 at 20:09

    Thank you, Debbie, for making me aware of this inspiring program. What a blessing for those sweet children, teens and young adults who are so lonely with their diseases. I am deeply touched. It's so good to know about the good things happening in our community especially in these extra challenging times. Your video stories are so well done.