This year I took Ethnic New York as my second semester history class. Kristen started the course off by telling us what we were going to accomplish throughout the semester and what our final goal was in the class. The first thing we did once Kristen gave us a background on the class was we defined ethnography because our final project in the class was to write an ethnographic paper on our neighborhoods and once we finished with that, we would present a story board on the same project. The first step of our project once we defined ethnography was to walk around our neighborhoods and take notes on what we noticed about everything. The people, the buildings, everything. We had to get a sense of what our neighborhood was like now because we were soon going to dive into the history of our neighborhoods and what they were like before our time. We went on a the tenement tour on the lower east side and we visited the Milstein Division of the New York Public Library. Once we had all these resources at our disposal, we immediately got to work. I live in Soho towards the bottom of the island so I was focusing on my that neighborhood, but more specifically my building. Looking further and further into the history of my building I found out what all its previous uses were before it was transformed into apartments and I also learned about the people who lived in it which in turn led me to learn about all the people who lived in my neighborhood. I really enjoyed this project and I hope Kirsten continues to do it in the future.
This Summer the mens varsity soccer team took a trip to Tobago. We went to Tobago because it is where Sherwan and Warren are both from and they thought it would be nice to bring the team out to give back to the communities out there as well as play a few games against some decent Tobagonian teams. While in Tobago, we played three games. One game was against a team of men from the ages of around 15-25. Another game was against a high school and our last game was against some of the best young players on the island. We won the first and last games and tied the middle game. The service we did was not only fun, but it was a great experience for everyone on the team. We were able to train with some kids from the island multiple times. We trained children from the ages of 6-18 at different schools and soccer programs. We were also able to give children who are less fortunate than us soccer equipment. This was fun for me because the children would get really excited when they saw all the cleats lined up on the sideline. Aside from doing service, the team swam in different beaches around the island and explored secret spots that warren and Sherwan showed us. Over all the trip was a major success and I hope the school is able to do it again next summer and further summers in the future.
This year I worked at an organization called neighbors together. It is a soup kitchen in Bronxville Brooklyn that feeds people who are in need of a quick meal. They serve breakfast lunch and dinner to anybody who comes in. I worked in many positions when I was there. I helped unload food from trucks and packages, I helped cook, and I helped serve. The people that came in were a pleasure to work with because they were all very kind and many of them very friendly. I look forward to working with them again.
This year I volunteered at a soup kitchen called Neighbors Together. It is in brownsvilled Brooklyn and it feeds people who are homeless or just in need of a meal. I thought that the whole experience was good for me because I saw that all different kinds of people came to get food. It was not just homeless people, but children and everyday looking people. I met many people while serving at Neighbors Together. One of the people I worked with was a women who had a main job and volunteered at Neighbors Together out of the greatness of her heart. I thought it was amazing how she, even though she did not have to, volunteered to help feed people who did not have any food. Another person I worked with was a guy who was born in North Caronlina and came to New York when he was 14 because he ran away from home. He said that when he got to the city he shinned shoes for a living and lived on the streets. He then went to places like Neighbors Together and got food and help from people who cared about others and he figured out that he wanted to help people like himself in the future. He now has a family with three children and works at Neighbors Together. His story really touched me because I felt that I had learned about how unfortunate some people are in their lives and how lucky someone like myslef is. I was a little scared to volunteer at Neighbors Together at first, but as I got comfertable with my surroundings and people started talking to me regularly, I was not scared anymore. I hope I can go back and I hope others will check out the website of Nieghbors Together, and maybe even volunteer there one day.
World History 9
YPI Service Reflection
My group over all wanted to empower young people to stand up for themselves and speak for themselves. That was how we choose human sex trafficking. We really wanted to help people who thought they were nothing and not important to feel loved and cared about. That is why we chose GEMS. GEMS stands for Girls Education & Mentoring Services and it helps girls from the ages of 12-24 who have been in the sex trafficking industry and need help. Their founder and executive director Rachel Lloyd was in the sex trafficking industry in England where she grew up, and she came to the USA to help girls that were like her. GEMS are a small business but making a lot of progress and growing very quickly.
When I started this project, I thought sex trafficking was a very small thing and I thought that it was not that important. As my group and I progressed, I think we all learned how big of an issue it is not only in the United States, but in the world. I also did not know that there were girls being trafficked at ages as young as six or seven. Researching this issue and learning about it in more detail really changed my view on sex trafficking. I think my groups site visit was very challenging because GEMS do such a good job of keeping their girls protected and safe so we did not get to meet any of the girls and they did not let us go in their offices or main building. Even though that was difficult, it really shows how much these people want to protect these girls in need. When we visited the GEMS offices, we met two women who were very connected with some of the girls and really wanted to help the people that they worked with. Immediately I felt like I wanted to help with this issue just as they were. My group did a lot of research and we really put in a lot of work because we felt that more people in the world should know about this issue and more people should start to help to fight against sex trafficking. When my group won the five thousand dollars, it was very rewarding for me because I felt like I had really helped some of the young girls who were in such difficult positions in their lives.