At its annual conference in Newark, N.J., last week, Friendship Circle International announced that the 13-year-old program was well on track to have 100 branches operating worldwide by 2010.

Founded in 1994 by Rabbi Levi and Bassie Shemtov in West Bloomfield, Michigan, as a response to the needs of thousands of kids worldwide who suffer from various isolating conditions, such as learning or developmental disorders, Friendship Circle connects those it serves with a corps of teen volunteers. There are currently 65 branches in the United States, Canada, Australia, France and China, comprising 4,000 beneficiaries and their families, and more than 8,000 volunteers.