This summer I volunteered to help the rising juniors on their ex ed trip. My responsibilities were to make a good role model for the other students, to make sure I was there if anybody needed help, to assist in cooking dinner and often lead hikes. This trip was significant to me because it allowed me to exercise my leadership skills and help other students while doing something that I love. It is crucial to enjoy whatever service you are doing because otherwise you will not put your all of your effort into it and it won’t be a meaningful experience. I also volunteered on this trip because I might want to go into outdoor education when I am older, helping other students to really understand why they should love the outdoors as much as I do.
Over the weekend I helped prepare the St. Thomas Church garden for the winter. I helped spread mulch on the garden beds and remove the leaves from the garden area. Knowing that what was to be grown was going to families in need of cheap and accessible food made me feel like I was helping fight a bigger cause.
Recently, I volunteered to be a tour guide at the Bank Street School for Children open house twice. I attended this school from 4th grade (9/10’s) to 8th grade (13/14’s). I have volunteered to be a tour guide at this school when I attended there, but going back as an alum was a very different experience.
Because it is a K-8 school, the parents were very interested in my experiences adjusting to a new school after going to the same school for such a long time. In some ways, I could relate to the parents on the tour; they were looking at every detail they could possibly see, asking all sorts of questions, just like when I went on tours for the high school application process.
As much as this service experience helped the school and the admissions team, I think that this experience also helped me practice my public speaking skills to a large audience, which is something that I struggle with. It also forced me to reflect on my life so far. What accomplishments have I achieved during my time at Bank Street? What were some challenges I had to overcome? What are the most memorable academic experiences that you had?
I was initially planning to do this when I graduated, even when I didn’t know about the community service hour requirements. Bank Street has a special place in my heart, and it always will. Through this experience, I got to reconnect with friends from my grade and the grades below me. I got to reconnect with parents I knew in the school. I got to reconnect with teachers and faculty. Because I got to work with my previous school, it was a very personal and fun experience and yes, I would do it again.
This summer, The girls and boys varsity soccer teams traveled to Tobago to train and contribute to the community. We lead a soccer clinic where we were coached and played with local young soccer players. At the end of the clinic, we distributed soccer equipment that we organized and brought from New York. I really enjoyed talking and playing with the local girls. They were in the minority and it was interesting to watch their dynamic with the other boys who were playing. The girls varsity team later played a lot of these girls in real 11 v 11 games and it was really fun to continue to form friendships with them.
Over the summer, I worked for Zephyr Teachout’s campaign for NY attorney general. I helped campaign by making phone calls, putting up posters in front of stores and construction sites, and handing out pamphlets for her campaign. It was really difficult to get people to actually stop and listen, but making an impression on people was really satisfying. When it comes to positions like attorney general, a lot of people don’t really think about their decision so being able to inform them was really important.
At the end of August I went to Trinidad Tobago with the girls and boys varsity soccer teams. The first couple days were spent playing soccer games against the girls teams in Tobago. This was a great learning experience as many of the girls were very skillful. On the third day we went to a soccer field and practiced with kids of many age ranges living in Tobago. Unfortunately I was injured and unable to play, so I helped organize the soccer gear that was going to be donated to the kids. I helped many of the kids find their sizes in cleats and jerseys. It was great to see how happy they were when they saw all the new soccer gear especially since some of them had very worn down gear. Overall this was a great learning experience.
This August, I traveled to Tobago with the Girls and Boys Varsity Soccer teams. We played multiple games against teams there as well as having the chance to work with some of the kids enrolled in a soccer program there. We met them at a huge soccer field where some of their families had come to watch from the bleachers. There was a very big age range, from kids in lower school all the way through to high school. We warmed-up with them, did some conditioning, practiced drills, did cool-downs, and then they each got to chose at least one item from our donations. We had brought soccer jerseys, shorts, shin guards, cleats, and soccer socks fro them to chose from. While we practiced with them, we got the chance to chat and get to know them better. We asked each other questions about everything from hobbies to school.
One little girl asked me “What is snow like?” I started telling her about how it looks when it falls from the sky, how there are so many different types of snow, and how it feels to touch it. By the end of our conversation, two of her friends had come over and enthusiastically asked me to tell them more about it. Until that point, I had never thought of snow as having any kind of value. It was always just something that happened in winter, and if you wanted to you could play in it. Of course, when I was younger I would get excited when I woke up and there was a White Christmas or if there was a Snow Day for school and I got to go sledding, but I had always taken it for granted. That night when we got back to out hotel, I thought about all the things I take for granted. I realized that there are so many things, from my pets and the fact that we can take them to the vet regularly, to being able to ski every winter in Vermont, to not having to think twice about buying new soccer gear when it gets worn out, to my phone which I use everyday, and even to the fact that I was able to go to Tobago at all. I thought about how one small conversation was able to have such an affect on me and now I cannot wait to go on more service trips and meet more people.
Over the summer, I worked at a program called SHINE! This is a program affiliated with Super Soccer Stars, a program which helps young kids learn soccer. At SHINE! however, they take it a step further, instead focusing on younger kids with physical and learning disabilities. I worked as an assistant coach, and throughout many weeks of working with the kids, I have done a variety of tasks, including setting up drills to demonstrations to just being supportive of the kids. My job has allowed me to grow close to all of the kids that I have worked with, and it is very rewarding to see their huge progress over such a short period of time.
published on sept 30th, 2018, 11:24pm
This past summer, I volunteered to be a junior counselor at Green Acre Bahá’í School in Eliot, Maine, for Camp Green Acre, a camp for middle school-aged children who were coming to learn more about the Bahá’í Faith and to meet new friends and enjoy each other. Throughout my week at Green Acre, I was responsible for bringing kids to various activities, making sure they were well fed, making sure they were safe, teaching them about the Faith, and ultimately, being a good and close friend to them, as well as a solid role model (I tried my best to fulfill that last one:)). Besides spending time with the campers, I also spent a day editing a music video that I and some of the other counselors made with the Digital Arts interest group at camp, (the kids were all asked to sign up for different groups that they were interested in, I was responsible for looking over the Digital Arts group along with some other counselors) that was made along the song Colors by Jason Derulo, written for the World Cup. Finally, when I wasn’t spending time with my and the rest of the campers, I was spending time with my co-counselors, many of which were youth that I had met before, but many were also new people I had never met before, and were so happy to meet and share amazing times with. I was so honored to spend a week of my time at Green Acre, and I can’t wait to go back and serve there again.
This summer, I volunteered at Lucky Orphans, a no-kill horse rescue based in Dover Plains, NY. Lucky Orphans has a mission to provide a forever home and sanctuary for horses that have been abused, neglected or abandoned and promotes positive interactions between horses and humans. Lucky Orphans is home to 51 horses, including special needs horses and off the track thoroughbreds. When volunteering at Lucky Orphans I helped to provide care for the 51 horses. For example, when volunteering, I completed necessary tasks such as grooming and bathing the horses. I also helped out by cleaning the manure from stalls and paddocks and I fed the horses. I worked with many different types of horses, from those that are blind to miniature ponies. I also practiced liberty work, to help improve the interaction between the animals and people.