On Service Day, Jamie spoke in the Meetinghouse about how themes in World History related to the incorporation of the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative in the 9th Grade curriculum. She reminded us that civilization brought great advances, but also great inequality for humanity, and that the purpose of this project was to give us as students a personal understanding of injustice and how it is being fought, today and in our community of New York. I really appreciated the way that Jamie framed the presentations to come, because I felt like the groups that were presenting had gained a very specific and valuable perspective on social problems in New York. I especially appreciated the enthusiasm and urgency that members of GEMS (the winning organization) exhibited.
As for my personal experience researching and advocating for WIN, I valued the fact that my group was spending time on a school project to do actual good through education of our community about social issues. such as child homelessness, and through the prospect of winning a grant for financial support to a local charity. Although we narrowly missed the opportunity to secure the $5,000 grant for WIN, I loved visiting the organization itself, where we were able to have a frank, honest conversation with WIN Vice President Robin White about the challenges of their work and the enormous benefits that the efforts of WIN, along with other nomprofits in the City, have brought to vulnerable families in New York. Massive inequalities have been a problem for so long, it’s certain that efforts to eradicate them will take a very long time to succeed, but the YPI project offered a beautiful opportunity for all of us to take stock of our place in history and learn how to bring about progress towards the world that ought to be.
I think all of my fellow students would agree that we gained lots of leadership skills as well, as we conducted interviews, collaborated with our team members on our presentations and polished our speeches. My biggest take away however, was the appreciation I have gained for the work and contributions of the philanthropic sector in our city.