Liv’s Service Reflection

For two weeks this summer I volunteered at the day camp, Camp Rhythmo, in Lower Manhattan. This program teaches kids, ages 6-11, about nutrition, fitness, science, music, and art; not coincidently, these are the topics most frequently cut from public school education. Camp Rhythmo strives to make sure children have the opportunity to learn and create and be active. Throughout the program kids take part in a wide range of projects such as designing their own molecules, learning to play hand chimes, singing, and participating in dance and yoga classes. In addition, Camp Rhythmo emphasizes the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle and every day the kids had ample time to run around and were taught exercises like push-ups, sit ups, and jumping jacks. The kids also learned about what makes a nutritious meal and the value of eating healthy. At the end of the program the kids have a performance where they showcase all they have learned.

As a volunteer at Camp Rhythmo my job consisted of setting up and supervising activities, writing the daily blog, and interacting with the children. I loved getting to know the kids and admired the zeal they brought to each new activity. In addition, it was impressive to see how much the kids learned in such a short period of time. I couldn’t believe that 5-11 year olds were learning about adenosine triphosphate, even if it was on a very basic level. Camp Rhythmo taught me about what it means to be a role model. I wasn’t used to others depend on me so heavily but I found it to be an incredibly fulfilling experience. Many of the younger kids needed help in almost every task: tying shoes, spelling words, even gluing pom-poms on a piece of paper. By helping the kids in even the smallest ways, I learned a valuable lesson in the importance of patience and attentiveness. Additionally, sometimes the kids would quarrel and it was my job to act as mediator. I found that by instructing the kids to clearly express their opinions and emotions I strengthened my own communication skills.

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The Friendship Circle Camp 2014

Dana Franco Summer Service Reflection

This summer I volunteered at The Friendship Circle summer camp for one week along with other eleventh graders at Friends, Jane Acierno, Nell Pearson and Laura Michael. The Friendship Circle is an organization that creates fun opportunities for children with autism to interact with one another and their counselors. During the year, Friendship Circle holds two programs: Friends at Home and Sunday Circle. Friends at Home is a program where teenage volunteers go to their child’s home once a week for an hour and have the opportunity to learn more about their lives at home and have fun. Sunday Circle meets twice a month at the organization’s building, on 19th street between 6th and 7th avenues, where the kids and volunteers unite in soccer, karate, and other fun activities. During the camp this summer, each volunteer was assigned to a child at The Friendship Circle camp and helped them throughout the week. We alternated each day between indoor activities and fun field trips. By the end of the camp, I really bonded with my buddy Ava.

Going into Friendship Circle I was slightly nervous and unsure of what to expect. My friends Jane, Nell and Laura had completed the camp before so they were able to tell me a little more of what the camp would be like. After meeting my buddy, I soon discovered she loved to sing, work on arts and crafts projects, and run around in the camp’s outdoor water area filled with sprinklers and water toys. On field trip days, Ava liked touring the intrepid and exploring the museum’s interactive exhibits. Overall, I enjoyed my time with Ava and the other campers and hope to see them again next summer.

I encourage anyone to sign up at: friendshipnyc.com!