Volunteers Pen Powerful Essays

Friendship Circle of Brooklyn launched a written word contest for volunteers to pen their thoughts about their Friendship Circle volunteering experience. Read the winner’s entries here.

Are you a writer? Do you keep a journal of your daily musings? 

In the age of social media, teens don’t often take the time to sit and write out how they are feeling or give themselves the opportunity to express themselves on paper. 

Here’s where Friendship Circle of Brooklyn’s written word contest comes in. As a follow up to a volunteer workshop they attended back in February, a written word contest was launched for volunteers to pen their thoughts about their Friendship Circle volunteering experience.

With the help of members of the Friendship Circle parent committee, Mrs. Libby Chein, Mrs. Fruma Gajer, and Mrs. Tzirel Goldman, the Friendship Circle team read through all the submissions and chose a winner, Sheindel Munitz from Bnos Menachem. She received the grand prize of an Iphone. 

Here is Sheindel’s eloquently written submission: 

1st Place Winner: Closed Door by Sheindel Munitz

Closed Door
By Sheindel Munitz 

Life leads you in front of many doors, filled with new possibilities. It takes courage to grip the knob and open the door. Uncovering the unknown hidden behind it. 

My life led me in front of one such door. There I stood, the door closed. The key was right there in my hand. Yet, I was hesitating. Fear of the unknown planted itself inside my head. My feet wanted to run and leave that door locked, and unopened. 

I almost walked away, I looked at all the opened doors around me and wanted to run towards the comfort of familiarity. Then the realization that those doors were once closed too. I shoved all thoughts aside, before second thoughts could worm their way inside my brain. I grabbed the doorknob and pushed it open. An array of new experiences shone brightly in my face. I took a deep breath and walked in. 

The cement pavement tapped to the rhythm of my footsteps. That seed of fear blooming into a fiery flower. Those second thoughts succeeded in entering my mind. Why had I opened the door, instead of leaving it shut? I forced one foot in front of the other. As I did before, I shoved all thoughts aside. Now I stood in front of a physical door, the bell waiting to be pressed. I took a deep breath and rang the doorbell. The unknown about to become a routine part of my week. 

The door opened, and a smiling boy appeared in the doorway. His mother smiled encouragingly at us. The fear extinguished immediately. That first visit was the start of a many more, and a newfound feeling of purpose in my life. 

The visits are filled with laughter and fun. His smile always fills me with a feeling of genuine joy. His hugs, warm my heart anew each time. The hour flies by week after week. 

I’ve built a connection, a different kind of friendship. Just as real and genuine as a regular friendship if not more. He changed my perspective on life, taught me patience, and gratitude. He changed my life.

I look behind me at the door now wide open almost a half a year after walking through its threshold. Memories of that timid girl that I once was, scared to open the door wash through my mind. Inside of me sparks of gladness sizzle, grateful I had managed to work up the courage to enter. I had walked in thinking I was going to make his day, but now-a proud friendship circle volunteer I realized that he makes ours.

Honorable Mention: What is an Hour 
By Yaakov Meir Zarchi

3600 Seconds, 60 minutes, 1/24th of a day 
Everyone has a different perspective on what makes up an hour 

I used to view an hour with the same vision
Until I came to a decision 
To give up an hour to someone I didn’t know 
To cast my doubts and inhibitions to the unknown

To Take A Leap 

I met a boy whose cards have been dealt from a different deck But whose spirits have never let 
Him struggle against the current 
Do things others thought he couldn’t 


Who dances in the rainstorm 
Who revels in the snowfall 
Who won’t ever conform 
To life’s strongest brick wall 


Who trusts that all has rhyme and reason 
With unfathomable faith believes in 
The inherent good in humanity 
Despite the world’s fallacy 


A boy who understands emotions and idiosyncrasies
Who’s imagination sparks reservoirs of creativity 
Who knows strength in vulnerability 
Whose smile melts all insecurities 

Who Knows Himself 

He has taught me to view the world through a different lens
Where one can make room for others yet not bend
One unfiltered nor untainted by the cynicism of people
Where all is fair and equal 


All this in just 3600 seconds, 60 minutes, 1/24 of his day, my day What is an hour…

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