Ari Suris is a Friendship Circle volunteer and attends Birmingham Covington School. Each year, one graduating 8th grader with the best essay is selected to receive the coveted Robert Amberg Award . Ari won the award with his essay below.
My name is Ari Suris. I am a student at BCS, an active Boy Scout, and a committed volunteer at The Friendship Circle. Since September of 2009, I have been going to the Friendship Circle in West Bloomfield for two hours every Sunday, to learn and play with my friend with special needs. I love going to the Friendship Circle. I look forward to it every week and I know my buddy does too. Every Sunday, we tell each other what we did over the weekend and in the past week. Then, we go down to play games in the gym and ride bikes in Life Town. Life Town is a unique place in the building with a miniature “city” where the kids can practice real life situations and how to deal with them. In Life Town there is a bank, library, doctor’s office, dentist’s office, pet shop, salon, convenience store and a movie theatre. When we go to learn in Life Town, my buddy gets twelve dollars of real money to spend on gifts, ice cream, bike riding time and things like that. Life Town teaches him a lot. For example, if he crosses the road without a sign that says “walk,” then he has to give some money to the ‘police officer’ for breaking the rules.
Going to Friendship circle means so much to me because I know that I am helping my buddy to learn skills for a better life, and I am proud to be a part of this experience for him. I think I have changed my buddy’s life by giving him a great friend. He helps me too, even if he doesn’t know it. I have a blast whenever I am with him, even if I am having a bad day. I feel I am a better person from learning to be his friend. I plan on continuing to volunteer at the Friendship Circle throughout my high school career.
I have learned that just by spending time with someone can have a huge impact on their life as well as my own. I have also discovered how easy it is to participate in something
that makes a huge impact for a person, their family and the whole community. This is a lesson I will carry with me in to the future, and I know I will always find ways to make a
difference in peoples’ lives.