World History 9
8 May 2014
YPI Service Learning Reflection
When deciding what social issue we wanted to tackle for our Youth Philanthropy Initiative service project, we knew we wanted to focus on children. As teens, and very privileged ones at that, we realized we took for granted most of the things we grew accustomed to here at Friends Seminary. The YPI served as an opportunity for us to address a growing problem in New York City: child homelessness. By visiting the headquarters of the non-profit organization WIN (Women in Need), we were able to not only learn more about the social issue but also what we could do to help. Representing WIN at Friends and its increasingly successful fight against child homelessness enabled us to not only educate others but spread the word about what we as a community could do to help find a solution to the problem.
At first, my attitude toward our social issue and non-profits in general was ultimately apathetic. Whenever I walked down the streets of Manhattan, I never saw homeless children nor did I see as many people lying on the sidewalks. The problem of child homelessness almost seemed not-existent to me. But that was because I never actively took the initiative to seek out the hidden problems that plagued this seemingly utopian city. The YPI helped me realize that the reason I don’t see kids homeless on the streets when I walk to school or when I walk home is because non-profits like WIN have been combating the issue for decades. The progress WIN has made is evident in the numbers they provided us with: 2,000 children are safely sheltered in WIN facilities per night.
Participating in the YPI proved to be an eye-opening experience. By working with my group to research and present the social issue of child homelessness, I not only improved my presentation skills and public speaking abilities, but I also realized that we were making a difference by just spreading the word. Because of this I think the involvement of service opportunities like the YPI into our coursework is beneficial and necessary for us students. When attending service events, lectures, or programs, we tend to passively participate without engaging and reflecting on how doing so is actually making a difference. I believe the YPI can change this just as it has helped me change my mindset about social issues, service, and what we can do as a school to help improve our community.