2013 Essay Contest - Third Prize
Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone
To step out of one's comfort zone a person must experiment with new and different
behaviors and experience the new and different responses which occur within her situation.
Stepping out of my comfort zone has always been a difficult process for me. One experience in
my life pertaining to the aforementioned was starting a charity to help the homeless. When I was
in fourth grade, I started my own charity which I named, "Fuzzies for the Homeless." An
impending snowstorm and the thoughts of the homeless' unfortunate situation with the cold was
the impetus for creating "Fuzzies for the Homeless."
I remember the day I decided to start the charity very clearly even though I was young.
The day was January 27th, 2009, and the weathermen were predicting a huge snowstorm which
most likely meant a Snow Day! At the age of eleven, I was super excited. I mean what child does
not love a snow day? However, there was a lingering thought which kept gnawing at me. I
shuddered at the vision of the homeless in the cold so much that my heart ached.
As my mother was tucking me into bed I told her how I felt. Then, many ideas began
popping into rny little head. I grabbed a note pad and pen which my Nanna gave to me before she
passed away and began to write all of my ideas down. I also decided that a scarf which I was
knitting at the time would be donated to a homeless shelter. This one scarf was the spark of the
beginning of "Fuzzies for the Homeless." I made the decision to collect hand-knit scarves from
numerous ladies and donate them to the Pierre Toussaint Pantry and St. Benedict's and Covenant
House in Newark. Soon my friends' mothers, my mother's friends, and other girls who I knew
began to knit multipie scarves for my charity, and have not stopped since. I have even brought a
little taste of Fuzzies to BA. A few of the girls in the freshmen class have helped me bag the
scarves which have been donated to the Elizabeth Homeless Shelter plus more.
As of today, we have collected 904 hand-knit scarves, eighty-five hats, nine gaiters, one
pair of leg warmers, and one pair of slippers! At first I just planned to collect scarves and hats,
but then knitters started donating other fuzzy hand-knit items which could keep people warm, so
I figured, why stop them? "Fuzzies for the Homeless" has grown so much over the years to the
point where we have had a Thanksgiving food drive, a clothing drive, and have even been
collecting peanut butter and jelly jars to supply the food pantry.
Presenting the idea of starting the charity to Sister Linda at the Pierre Toussaint Pantry
and Mr. Ryan of Covenant House caused me to move out of my comfort zone because I was
concerned about what other people would think of me and I was a little apprehensive about the
chances of "Fuzzies for the Homeless" making a difference in anyone's life. Since I was young, I
knew adults would be proud of me, I was worried that my friends would make fun of me for
helping those in need, and the charity would be considered "uncool." When I finally presented
and stepped out my little comfort zone, I was relieved and proud. I do not know why I thought
my friends would judge me because now I realizeonly my true friends would support me every
step of the way. I am glad to say that I am the founder of "Fuzzies for the Homeless".