For its first-ever fundraising walk, the Friendship Circle of S. Diego, a Chabad-Lubavitch program that pairs teenagers with children with special needs, is dedicating the project to the memory of local community member Jenny Poliakoff, who passed away last year. The event has been named Jenny's Walk.

A freshman at S. Diego State University when she died, Jenny was one of the Friendship Circle's first volunteers, as well as its most vocal. She gave the keynote address at its appreciation dinner two years ago.

"We're expecting about 1,500 people for the walk," said Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, co-director of Chabad-Lubavitch of Poway, which operates the Friendship Circle. "It is a fitting way to remember Jenny, who did so much for children with special needs."

"When I entered the program, I knew that I'd be helping and teaching lots of children," she said in 2006. "What I didn't know is how much they'd be teaching me."

An aspiring medical student, Jenny "grew up in the community," said Goldstein. Her parents named her at the synagogue, she had her bat mitzvah there, and attended the Chabad Hebrew Academy in S. Diego.

"She was well loved by everyone," he went on. "She was the babysitter for our children."

"Any child at a Friendship Circle event who was standing off to the side was sure to be noticed by Jenny," Friendship Circle director Elisheva Green told a local newspaper shortly after Jenny's passing. "Jenny genuinely was loved by all who knew her, all of us who knew here were touched by her."

Rabbi Chalom Boudjnah, co-director of Chabad-Jewish Student Life at S. Diego State, said that her effervescence continued in college.

"She was very popular on campus," he said. "It was a very sad loss."

Boudjnah's Chabad House has sponsored a team that will compete in Sunday's 5K walk at S. Diego State. All told, Goldstein expects to raise about $100,000 for the Friendship Circle, which serves some 60 children and 120 volunteers.