The Campus de l’Amitié will hold a groundbreaking ceremony
by Garth Meyer
The Friendship Campus is about to be built.
A public groundbreaking ceremony scheduled for August 10 begins the next chapter of the project, which follows 15 years of work in South Bay schools helping to connect children with special needs to their peers and wider society. .
“This is an important milestone for our community,” said Rabbi Yossi Mintz, co-founder of the Friendship Foundation and founder and director of the Chabad Jewish Community Center of South Bay. “A whole change coming from here for the rest of the world. Our goal is not to own this, but to inspire others. Many eyes of the world are watching.
The 64,000 square foot, $55 million facility will be built on 3.5 acres on the site of the former Franklin Elementary School, whose land will be connected to adjacent Franklin Park.
The Campus will provide vocational training and job skills in a variety of areas, particularly aimed at serving young adults as they leave the public school system at age 22.
Companies that have already signed up to participate in training and hiring include Skechers, Chevron, Kinecta Bank, Lakeshore Learning and more.
The groundbreaking will begin at 5 p.m. next Wednesday with an hour-long ceremony followed by a summer festival in Franklin Park from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., including “fair food”, music, magicians and activities for children of all ages.
As part of the agreement with the Redondo Union School District — which donated the land for the Friendship Campus — the Foundation will support the district’s special education program for 19- to 22-year-olds.
Started at Mira Costa High School in 2007, the Friendship Foundation has spread to nearly 50 South Bay schools, from elementary through high school.
At the height of the pandemic, he expanded on Zoom to Arizona, Alabama and Georgia.
“These are special groups for organic friendship,” Rabbi Mintz said. “…We take their birthdays very seriously.”
From now on, the Foundation will have its own place of education and training.
“What happens to these children when they are 21 or 25? Mintz said.
He noted that young adults are often not equipped to go through human resources to find a job.
“But if you train them ahead of time, they can do so many things,” the rabbi said. “…Here they become part of the tapestry of our beautiful world.”
“They’re going to be given the tools to perform in a mainstream environment,” said Kelly Stroman, chief executive of the Friendship Foundation.
Mintz reports that $42 million has already been raised for the building, with the goal of reaching the full $55 million before the end of the 18-month construction period.
A general contractor has not been named.
The center was voluntarily designed by Gensler Architecture and Design, Los Angeles.
Its project managers are Gardiner and Theobold, also from Los Angeles.
Mintz co-founded the Friendship Foundation with Skechers co-founder and chairman Michael Greenberg. Mintz pitched the idea for the Foundation in Greenburg in 2005. The two, and Adam Carroll, former president of New Age Electronics, did it.
Now they are about to have a building.
“We haven’t seen a company in the South Bay that strong,” Mintz said.
The expected completion date is 2024.
First, the inauguration ceremony.
“Everyone is welcome to come, at 5 p.m. sharp,” Mintz said. Emergency room