Circle of Friends teen and adult volunteers, with U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling, at the organization’s recent recognition dinner. / Contributed photos by Greg Cohen Photography
Amy and Eric Falkenstein, center and right, were presented with the Circle of Friends “Heart of Friendship” award by Freida Hecht, the group’s director.

WESTPORT — Several Westporters were among those honored at the Circle of Friends’ recent annual recognition program.

The organization supports people with autism and disabilities, with an emphasis on programs that forge relationships between children with special needs and teenage volunteers.

Amy and Eric Falkenstein, of Westport, were honored with the “Heart of Friendship” award, presented by Freida Hecht, the Circle of Friends founder and director.

Staples High School senior Jacob Bitsky was awarded the first Mildred Schwartz Scholarship, presented by Westport businessman Stephen Schwartz, founder of the Promark Group, established in honor of his mother.

High school seniors from Staples High, as well as from Weston, Wilton, Fairfield and Norwalk schools, received Fellowship Awards for their combined 4,000 “friendship volunteer hours” on behalf of Circle of Friends programs.

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal was the main speaker for the program. He presented each of the teen volunteers with a U.S. Senate citation recognizing them for “creating a more compassionate and inclusive community.”  

First Selectwoman Jennifer Tooker and Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling also congratulated the honorees.