Behind the scenes: The Amazing story of Friendship Lights and the Mythical Friendship Factory
Inventor of Friendship Lights

Hello, my name is Jack,

Friendship Lights came to me in a colorful and vivid dream one night in the summer of 2012. It was at a time in my life where I was being bombarded by bad news all around me.

Wars, crimes, bloodshed Every where you turn all you seem to hear about was brothers against bothers and more bloodshed. For what? Aren’t we supposed to get smarter as a society? Where did the compassionate people go?

I felt the world was going in a direction that was totally opposite as to how I was raised. When it seemed like we all were united and having fun. In my dream I felt that simple childhood feeling again. It moved me, deep inside.

There were kids of all ages, nationalities and religions laughing and having a great time. Wearing and tossing this tiny and colorful bright light that seemed to represent unity.

Friendship Light prototype

The first Friendship Light prototype

The next morning I sketched out a design. And later in the day  cut out a prototype out of an old credit card. My nephews happened to be in town. So I taped a battery to a light diode and put it all together.

As I handed it to them, I said here is a Friendship Light. They were ecstatic. Playing catch with it and laughing. A simple thing brought us together and soon we were all laughing.

From that day on I have worked every day and many late lonely nights. I had to learn everything there was from scratch. In order to design, build and produce them.

There were dark times when I felt like everyone was on the other side of the fence. Thinking – how can he make a product from thin air- with no money and no knowledge of fabrication? Who does he think he is?

Jack machining a mold

But in my mind it wasn’t a choice. It was my only driving force. The one thing I had to do to bring balance back into my life and hopefully many others. I wanted to do everything I could to make this dream come true.

I think the only reason I got by all of the hard days were the few people who would help along the way. They stood by when things were at their lowest point for me. There were the lowest of lows. The times when I wanted to give it all up.

Then disaster struck. Hurricane Sandy hit and changed everything. My area had lost all power and and water was building up. By the light of a flashlight, my sister Jennifer helped me make Friendship Lights to give out to hurricane victims. All you’d see at night were people walking around with these little lights.

Other times my sister Josephine, would keep me motivated. Telling me to Go For it, Keep going! Of course my three nephews who are my official product testers. And my parents and family who have always been there for me.

It took real blood, sweat and tears to create Friendship Lights from thin air. And it was the toughest year of my life. But I’d do it all over to see a smile across your face when you get one. And I mean that from the bottom of my heart. That’s where Friendship Lights came from. My heart and soul.

Jack Prototyping

“Aluminum from Home Depot, and a simple Dremel tool. Then came the making/manufacturing phase where I created a new manufacturing process that uses very little energy and resources.”

With Friendship Lights, I hope to inspire others to believe in friendship and share in the joys of life. Most of all not to take life too seriously and to take a break. Because we get more done when we are having fun.

Going through all of this heartache and struggle has been a gift. Its amazing to see someone hold a Friendship Light for the first time. And it’s a blessing to have had friends and family be there along the way to help out.

Jack Friendship Light Art InstallmentInteractive Art InstallmentThe Friendship Lights PINK event at Washington Square Park. We distributed over 100 for Breast Cancer Awareness. The peoples reaction was amazing.

FRIENDSHIP LIGHTS from Amanda Plasencia on Vimeo.

Flushing High School Students and Friendship Lights

The story continues today and I’d like you to be a part of it.  If you feel my story has helped you, your, students, team or group, let me know :) Email.

Things you can do:

16 comments on “The Amazing Story of Friendship Lights

  • You are sweet and inspiring!!! I find myself missing the old times of peace n love….tell my sons about those ideals….you’re just what I needed to hear about!!!! Keep up the work from the heart!!!

  • Jack, this is a beautiful idea and it touches so many people’s hearts and brings a smile to them everywhere.

  • Jack, I am happy to hear that you made something good that will bring many smiles to people! Times have been tuff on so many people right now and if you can bring a smile to someone’s face these days you have done a great thing! My Don would be proud of you and you have something to be proud of. Don’t you ever give up no matter what is going on! Things change and we just have to place ourselves in Gods hands when things get the best of us. Your a great person! Thank you for making me smile today!
    Shilrley Cleveland

  • Hi and Thank you , for your time , effort , dedication ,your creation the whole package. I GREATLY APPRECIATE IT and you are definitely welcome to call on me if you need anything I may have . Stay near my Brother and God Bless ..

  • I support you for your feeling about peace and joy . I wish to contact you because l feel the same. And right all are the same.l have more to say but l prefer sit down with you maybe you can help me to achieve my dream to be myself and change positively the world. This my number 6464091811.

  • Thank you for putting a smile on my face …its been 5 years since I’ve let anyone into my heart …and you just happen to open it with your wonderful story ….I pray they could be more people like you God bless

  • Hi Jack, my name is lloyd, first of all i really love what your doing and wish we all could have a heart like yours, who cares about other people,you made me smile and,i didnt yet get one of your lights.just knowing there are people like you in this world trying to make a better world one life at a time,can only be a gift from make me want to be a better person thank you for reminding me to slow down and really think about what really matters.We all need this.After 9-11 everyone went back to work and, slowly forgot about how great we all were, tryin to help each other and, then back to the same old stuff.The littest things is sometimes all we need,and why not a light.Thank you for reminding us. Lloyd …….

  • Your story is truly inspirational. Thank you brother I needed to read your story. I am literally in tears. Thank you for allowing your loving process to materialize and inspire love in a place where it is rare. Someone told me at my seasonal job that I was to nice and friendly, it hurt my feelings that being nice and friendly was worth mentioning as excessive. I thought I was alone here. I have seen you giving for a while now and I just have to say THANK YOU, you are Not alone. Bless your spirit, energy and life. Can I love you for that? You have touched my soul in my time of need. Continue to be. . . .

  • Hi Jack, Im so happy to know that you are a person with a beautiful heart, I was reading about your Dream, and Im sure we can help getting people united! I live here in Brookyn and I would like to meet you so we can talk about the project that we have for you and all the people that you know! God bless you…

  • You have an inspirational story and I think we all need something positive to put a smile on our faces. I smile but I’m empty inside. Sometimes is difficult to find my purpose in life, so I keep searching. Don’t get me wrong, I love life, my family and friends but I know there is so much more for me to do, I just don’t know where to start or what to do. I help people in all sorts of way, I am a walking information computer lol, everyone asks me for help and if I don’t know the answer I try my best to help them. I walk around with a notebook filled with resources, just in case someone needs information such as services available out there. With this said, I love your idea and I think if you would go to where the Avonte’s family is at, this gesture will be greatly appreciated. This is an autistic boy who has been missing for more than two weeks, he doesn’t speak and he is only 14 years old. Everyone is looking for him and I’ve seen how peoples faces look when they return with no Avonte. Your support and reason for spreading smiles might be what they need to keep them strong. Just an idea. may GOD bless you and keep you inspired. Maybe you will be the person who invents the easiest tracking devices for autistic kids, you never know. Blessings to you and yours.

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