I worked on a project for my precalculus class with Ben Frisch. For this project I interviewed my great uncle who is over 65 and lived in NYC for most of his life and entered data into a class collection to observe changes in demographics in NYC over time specifically about people over 65. I developed skills with predicting values and learned about the benefits of and challenges of living in NYC as an older person.
This summer I volunteered at the New York Public Library Ottendorfer Branch in my neighborhood over the course of about a month. I helped out with shelving, organizing, and pulling books for call lists as well as helping out with youth programs such as movie screenings and book parties like the “Arnie the Donut book party”. I also took part in a group for middle schoolers learning to use programming and develop computer games after school once a week. I met so many interesting people and got to connect to my neighborhood community through this experience and plan to go back this summer and maybe this school year as well.
This year, I spent service day with most of my grade sorting out medical supplies that would be exported to people who were in need. We sorted out as many supplies as possible, as well as being extra careful with the process of separating the goods with expiration dates too soon to be allowed to be sent. One of the main takeaways from this experience was how impactful our few hours’ work would be to many lives. Since there were so many of us working, we were able to help the organization finish a day or two-day’s worth of work on their own. Although the individual task was not overwhelming, the group’s production was very high due to the collectiveness of the work and the great cooperativeness of my classmates. This experience opened me up to the service of those in medical need, something I will seek to continue doing in the future. Likewise, service day allowed for an increased chemistry between my classmates and helped me experience collective work at a grand scale. It was wonderful to see all my classmates and I efficiently working together to help those in need by speeding up the process prior to the exportation.
For this year’s Service Day, I worked with my classmates to sort a myriad of medical supplies to be sent to those in need. I’ve done a fair amount of service between this school year and the last, but I can’t quite say that any experience has matched the uniqueness of this. It was thrilling to know that an effort as small as sorting goods could make such an impact on the lives of others. My favorite aspect may have been that the process was extremely cooperative, requiring constant teamwork with the peers around me. As a result, the experience felt like both a fantastic opportunity to serve and to learn something new, and to cooperate with my classmates in a new and rare way.
Recently, I had the opportunity to take part in the People’s Climate March in Washington D.C. Despite the early hour at which I was required to wake up, the four-hour bus rides to D.C. and back, and the (fittingly) sweltering temperatures for the day, I was still enthusiastic to join the March; to me, climate change has always been one of the most important issues facing humanity. Initially, however, I was skeptical – how was a march (wherein people ironically used an excess of paper to make signs) supposed to sway our politicians? Surely one march wouldn’t convince Donald Trump (who was happily holding a rally elsewhere in the country while we flooded D.C.) of the severity of climate change. How was one march supposed to legitimately reduce the effects of climate change? It all seemed pointless to me, initially. As I began to march with the crowds, though, it became clear to me that the point of the March was not to invoke sweeping political change. As I marched, I felt swayed by the intense emotion, confidence, and energy of the crowds. Soon, I realized that the point of the March was more to unite likeminded people, to make them feel powerful, and to reinvigorate hope. Sure enough, I felt powerful and hopeful once more. Later, I noticed that my favorite musician tweeted a photo/article relating the massive turnout for the March, to his one million followers. I then realized another purpose of the March, to not only reinvigorate us, but to reinvigorate hope in people all over the world.
When we went to the AFYA warehouse for service day, I wasn’t sure what exactly we would be helping out with. It turns out, we had to sort different medical supplies into bags with a number of the same type of product in them, labeling the quantity and expiration date of the products on the bag. We were told these bags would be transported around the world along with the supplies we stocked in them. It was really amazing to think about the fact that what we were doing would most likely have a direct impact on people — these supplies would probably save lives and help people who needed them. Just with us spending a couple of hours sorting these supplies into bags, some people all around the world may be having a chance at the life and health they possibly otherwise may not have had if they hadn’t gotten these medical supplies. I thought it was a really fun experience that was really rewarding.
Last Service Day, half of the tenth grade went to AFYA’s warehouse in Yonkers. We were given a quantity of no longer needed medical supplies and sorted the supplies into what was still usable and what was not, taking into account packaging and expiration dates. The usable supplies will be sent to various parts of the world in which medical aid is needed but often inadequate due to low resources.
I had not previously considered the amount of medical supplies that may be wasted simply because of inefficiencies in our own hospitals. I therefore found it enlightening to see just how much of what was discarded was still usable and needed around the world. However, I would have liked to learn more about where our particular medical supplies were being sent, which I think would have given us a better connection to the purpose of the activity. I look forward to learning about more ignored or neglected issues during my future at Friends.
The Sunday following pre-season soccer camp, the Boys Varsity soccer team went on a week long trip to Tobago, home nation to Coach Warren Salandy and former Coach Sherwin O’Neil. We stayed at the famed Coco Reef hotel. This beautiful resort consisted of a warm, biologically-rich beach where we would spend much of our free time in, whether it be swimming, chilling, or snorkeling. Snorkeling was remarkable, as I was able to see a wide variety of species of fish as well as the occasional squid.
We trained at a couple of different fields, each not more than a 20 minute drive from the hotel. One thing that struck me was the intense humidity, an environment I was not used to.
The biggest takeaway experience from this trip was doing the clinic with the kids of Tobago. We had two clinics, one with Warren and Sherwin’s old soccer academy and the other with the school they went to. It was very fun working with these kids, who were passionate to get better, and run drills with them that we ran at our own practices. It was fun to see the smile on their faces at the end of the clinics, when they picked out a pair of cleats out of the vast collection we had gathered back home and brought to Tobago.
Overall, it was a very fun experience. As a sophomore, I would be ecstatic to repeat this trip next summer.
During the last week of August the mens varsity soccer team were lucky enough to travel to Tobago. This trip held meaning for us because we were traveling to our coaches hometown (Warren Salandy and Sherwin O’Neill). We played local teams and did many different activities on the island, like snorkeling and cliff jumping. As well as having fun and playing games we brought soccer equipment to the island for coaches, players and teams. During some of the days on the island we ran clinics for schools and club teams on the island. At the end we would donate some of the equipment. Seeing what we could do and what impact we could make made me very joyful. By the end of the trip most of the island knew who we were. Our captain went to a TV station to conduct an interview with our coaches and David Lieber. Overall this experience was very fulfilling to what the Friends community stands for.
Nonprofit – Kleats For Kids
This summer I spent four weeks at the UU-UNO (Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office) as their interim Climate Change Initiative intern. I worked on updating and completing a Unitarian Universalist religious education curriculum on climate change, and on writing congregational action plans for education and service toward the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. I think that through working on these projects, I helped to educate myself about climate change, the politics and ethics around it, and how it can affect all of the world’s peoples. By working on the congregational action plans, I got a better understanding of how the SDGs were chosen and passed and what they entail. Overall, I think I learned a lot from this experience and will use this new knowledge about climate change in my life going forward.