As executive director of Friendship Circle of Cleveland, Rabbi Yossi Marozov views himself as an emissary of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson.
“He taught us to seek out a place in the world where you can make a positive difference,” Marozov said. “Volunteering, both for my wife, Estie, and myself, has been a passion well before we knew each other.”
Through his work at Friendship Circle, Marozov aims to provide children and teenagers who have special needs with many of the social and recreational opportunities that are available to members of the general community. He also works to inspire and motivate high school teenagers to share their talents with others through volunteering.
After running Friendship Circle for a decade as a small organization, Marozovand Estie professionalized the organization this year by expanding the board, hiring professional staff members who have years of experience in the special education field and expanding the reach of its programs to more children.
“We have grown from servicing 150 families to just more than 200 families in the last 18 months,” Marozov said. “This means more children and families finding more joy, acceptance and positive development in the lives of their children.”
The organization now also has 300 teenagers who volunteer annually to help children with special needs develop social skills and live a life filled with happiness.
“That’s what drives me and inspires me every day,” Marozov said.
At a Glance
As a professional: Friendship Circle of
Children: Berel, 15; Mendel, 14; Shmuli, 12; Chana, 9; Mariashe, 6; Mushka, 2; Meir, 1
Noteworthy: Rabbi Yossi serves as a volunteer rabbi at Semach Sedek Shul.