Making a difference in the lives of youth with special needs!

About Us - The Friendship Foundation

About Us

Changing the world one friendship at a time.


The Friendship Foundation supports parents and families who have children and young adults with special needs by providing a safe, accepting and inclusive environment where they can enjoy sports, art, music and many other social programs with their peers. Our friendly staff and helpful volunteers create a fun experience for all. It is our belief that every person is precious and capable of love, connection and friendship.

Programs are targeted to specific age groups while some encompass a broad gathering of all ages including parents.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 their learned skills amongst their peers.

Our History

We started out with 8 children with intellectual and developmental disabilities 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 entertainment. 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, over 75 Friendship School Clubs exist throughout the South Bay & beyond- at elementary, middle, and high school levels in public, private, and charter schools. In addition to our Friendship School Clubs, we offer social and recreational programs 5 days per week, year-round. Our services reach over 2,500 students annually.

Quick Facts


Year History


Programs & Activities

Friendship School Clubs

Students Involved

Meet Our Team

Yossi Mintz
Executive Director/ President
Kelly Stroman
Managing Director
Daniel Stump
Program Development Director
Michelle Manzano
Senior School Programs Manager
John Zimniski
Program Manager
Sarah Esparza
Program Manager
Dené Slaton
School Clubs and Program Coordinator
Perer Sar
School Clubs and Program Coordinator
Kira Alcomindras
Manager of Office Administration & Special Projects
Lili Ephraim
Office Administrator & Program Support
Mia Friedman
Administrative Assistant
Sara Katz
Youth Services Case Coordinator / Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Program (WIOP)

Recreation Leaders

  Joei Duran

Nick Hayes-Yamamoto 

Shelley Johnson

Sylvia Martinez

Lenay Newell

Michelle Sotero

Meet Our Ambassadors


Jacob Dominguez

Erin Pawlowski

Drake Baxter

Sean Lynch

Dylan Wyse

Erin Palowski
Erin has been with Friendship Foundation since our first program and brings a positive and friendly energy to every event she attends. She has become a great ambassador for our organization.
Jacob Dominguez
Jacob loves going to beach camp and bowling! He is one of the original 8 members over 15+ years ago, and is friendly with everyone he meets. He helps us in the office doing tasks such as shredding paper.

Board Of Directors

Yossi Mintz


Adam Carroll

Founder of New Age Electronics

Portia Cohen

Strategic Market Liason for the 

Chief Strategy Officer, UCLA Health


Yosef Gorowitz

Founder and President of Prodége

Chase Greenberg

Brand Strategist at Skechers

Mike Kaplan

Chairman of Lakeshore Learning

John Pollitt

Owner of Pollitt Law Inc.

Edward Kaminsky

Owner of Kaminsky Realty Group

Advisory Board Members

Josh Carroll

Financial Planning Consultant

Jerry Katz


Tom Nguyen

Wealth Advisor at EP Wealth Advisor

Lisa Perlot

Parent of Special Needs Child

Colyar Pridgen

Financial Planning Consultant at Capital Group

Carolyn Robb
Parent of Special Needs Child
Alyse Zwickel
Parent of Special Needs Child, former Director of Development for the Friendship Foundation
Contact Us!
(310) 214-6677
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