Volunteer Safety Guidelines


Whenever we are interacting with Friendship Circle members, we look to promote open and trustworthy relationships. Professional and healthy interpersonal boundaries between yourself and members must be understood and observed at all times. Inappropriate conduct and interactions between you and a member may cause harm to a member's development or well-being and shall never occur. As a member of the Friendship Circle NYC community, you are required to understand and agree to the Friendship Circle Volunteer Safety & Prevention Guidelines.


The following general guidelines define appropriate behavior and the appropriate boundaries within the Friendship Circle NYC community. As a representative of Friendship Circle NYC you may not: 

  1. Provide to a member any alcohol or drugs, vaping tools or cigarettes, or use substances of any kind in front of a member.
  2. Be alone 1:1 with a member in a non-public space with a closed or locked door. 
  3. Engage in any type of behavior that gives the appearance of impropriety.


It is your responsibility to maintain healthy and safe interactions with Friendship Circle members, as well as model such behavior in interactions with fellow volunteers. You may not engage in any prolonged physical contact with a member or volunteer except to protect or safeguard them in immediate physical danger.  

  1. You may never discipline a member in any physical manner. 
  2. Short hugs or high fives are permitted – side hugs are preferred. 
  3. Patting of the buttocks, genitals, or any other private areas with a hand or object is prohibited even in play. 
  4. Lap sitting, massage giving, kissing, tickling, wrestling, giving piggyback rides, shoulder rides, or giving “chills” is prohibited.
  5. You may not provide bathroom assistance or help a member change clothing unless directed by a supervisor, and it must be with another adult or counselor in view, and with the door slightly ajar.
  6. If any physical touch from a member or another volunteer is making you uncomfortable, please immediately inform a Friendship Circle UES staff member.


As a member of the Friendship Circle NYC community, it is essential that you are always mindful of how, when, and what you are communicating. Words can heal, and words can hurt.

  1. You may not direct a Friendship Circle member to keep a secret from their parent(s) or caretakers. 
  2. Member’s parents must always be aware of gifts given to their child. 
  3. All electronic communications between you and a member should take place before 10:00 PM. 
  4. You may not converse with a member about yours, their, or anyone else’s romantic or sexual relationships, past or present. 
  5. When communicating with a Friendship Circle member, you must not (a) delete any text conversations; (b) enable auto-delete when communicating via text, calls, or video chat. 
  6. You may communicate by video chat with the door open and you must be fully clothed. You may not communicate by video chat while in a bed or bathroom. 
  7. In the case of questionable communication that seems inappropriate or feels uncomfortable, you should immediately bring it to the attention of a Friendship Circle NYC staff member. 
  8. Please be mindful about sharing social, emotional, relationship, or financial struggles with a member, as it may be inappropriate. 
  9. You have the option to share or not share your phone number with a member. If you choose to, please communicate within guidelines 1-8. If you run into difficulties with communicating with a member (i.e frequency, content, intensity), please reach out to a FC staff member immediately to navigate setting healthy communication boundaries with that member.


Our organization strictly complies with New York State and federal laws requiring reporting suspected child abuse to civil authorities. We take any and all allegations of any form of abuse seriously, and adhere to all mandated reporting requirements. In addition, if you ever feel unsafe at a Friendship Circle NYC program, or witness any behaviors that are concerning, even if you are unsure as to whether or not the behavior is considered abuse, please inform a Friendship Circle NYC staff member and Rabbi Shlomo or Mrs. Sara Gutnick immediately.

Rabbi Shlomo & Mrs. Sara Gutnick: 1 (929) 207-4370

To report child abuse and neglect, call: 1 (800)-342-3720

Mandated Reporters Hotline for Child Abuse or Maltreatment Reports: 1 (800)-635-1522


The HIPAA Privacy Rule is a national standard to protect individuals' medical records and other individually identifiable health information. As a member of The Friendship Circle NYC community, you may be privy to private medical information that you are responsible to safeguard and respect. 

  1. Do not share the last names of Friendship Circle members with your family or friends. 
  2. Before posting photos on your personal social media, please make sure that the parents/caregiver have granted permission to Friendship Circle NYC.