Debbie Friedman

I don’t consider myself as a having a job,” said Debbie Friedman, the family place coordinator for the Mandel Jewish Community Center in Beachwood. “My work is my passion, so it feels like I never go to work.”

She helps babies and their mothers discover a self-esteem that contributes to a happy life.

“My wish is that I plant a seed of goodness that children use to grow with love and care,” Friedman said.

Friedman uses techniques like mindfulness through her everyday life, and works to incorporate them into each child she touches. She deals with a lot of sensory art, music and nature to develop positive outlooks for her students.

“Be the best that you can be. I shine, we shine, we all shine at the J. Everything grows with love.”

These are just some examples of the self-assured attitude that Friedman works to develop in each child as well as in the mothers who come through the program.

Increasing happiness and positivity at work isn’t enough for her, though. Her works through Coach Sam’s Inner Circle Foundation, Aiming Higher, help her to teach inner-city children literacy, personal development, and health and wellness.

With every opportunity presented to Friedman, she makes sure to provide thanks. Gratitude is a key component in her teachings, which provides a basis for humility as she instills a sense of confidence in each child.

At a Glance

Age: 57

As a professional: Mandel Jewish Community Center

Spouse: Steve

Children: Scott; Kevin; Kenny

Synagogue: Park Synagogue

In the community: Jewish Federation of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County Public Library,

Coach Sam’s Inner Circle Foundation

Noteworthy: Friedman teaches parents the importance of spending quality time with their children.

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