Christian’s Service Reflection

This summer, I volunteered at the Children’s Museum of the Arts. CMA is “a nonprofit arts facility that brings hands-on art programming to children throughout New York City” (CMA Website). During the summer, CMA has classes at their main facility in West Soho, and classes on Governors Island that are held in what used to be U.S. Naval Officer housing.

This was my third summer volunteering at CMA which offers a wide variety of arts classes. I assisted with three, weeklong film classes on Governors Island. Classes was based around teaching kids, ages 7-13, an animating computer program called iStopmotion.

Each day, I helped chaperone the kids to and from Governors Island. I was put in-charge of workstations and groups and assisted kids if they had questions. This helped me gain a better sense of effectively teaching kids and also furthered my understanding of iStopmotion and filming techniques.

When I was younger, I took classes at CMA, so it has been very rewarding to teach kids and help them have the same experiences I had. It was also nice to learn that some of the kids taking the class were lower school students at Friends. Overall, it was a great experience taking on a larger role in helping younger kids express themselves through new forms of art.

Fouad Dakwar’s “Love Trumps Hate” Walkout Protest Reflection

In the week following the election, I did what most other New Yorkers did: I mourned what was to come, I posted on social media, got in some arguments in various comments sections, and kept up with news of a rise in hate crimes, and distressing announcements on additions to the Trump administration. As a Friends student, I participated in discussions throughout the day following the election and even spoke during Meeting for Worship. Even though these things seemed important to me, I realized that, on a larger scale, they meant nothing. While scrolling through many status updates similar to my own rant about the status of our country, I stumbled upon a student led walkout protest entitled “Love Trumps Hate.” I couldn’t help but appreciate the trending pun, and more importantly the fact that it had garnered over 200 students’ interest according to the event and this only included students with Facebook, arguably the least cool social network nowadays. Among those interested were 3 other students of Friends. I messaged one of them, Maeve Woollen, asking if we could really gather enough students in our community willing to face consequences for cutting class in order to send the message we wanted to. I went through my entire friends list, adding every Friends student to a massive group chat to share our idea. In order to make it more orderly, I suggested people respond “yes” or “no” regarding joining us. Immediately, three “yeses” darted on the screen. Maeve and I messaged each other delightedly. However, we also faced some backlash. People argued that we should not be protesting Friends, a place that has been incredibly supportive throughout this. Although this makes sense, the point of the walkout is that students, most of whom had no say in the election, are so disapproving of the election’s successfully hateful rhetoric, we could not continue on with our daily lives. Other students mentioned other opportunities to do more “productive” things like volunteering at Planned Parenthood or the ACLU. I agreed that we should definitely be doing those things but that they do not negate our ability to participate in a peaceful protest.

In the end, we gathered more than twenty students and the school administration allowed us to miss class without penalty as long as our parents sent an email excusing us. My human rights lawyer dad was happy to do so. It was an incredibly rainy day and I got back in the middle of third period soaked but feeling more invigorated than ever. That Trump rump I was in right after the election had been replaced by a desire to continue fighting. Walking in a group of hundreds in the middle of the street of fifth avenue, stopping traffic along the way and chanting “Black Lives Matter” will do that, I guess. Perhaps my other peers were right that there was something more productive we could do. If a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood had popped into my feed, perhaps we would be doing that, but this was the first student focused action I had seen rise up. Protest is important, especially for those whose voices are not heard in the voting system and the fact it changed how at least one person felt hopeless shows how important it can be. The only way those working for equality can get through these four years is by working together.

 

My Summer in Argentina

This past summer, I went to Argentina, where I taught English and learned about Argentine and Mapuche Culture. I first took the 31 hour trip to Villa Pehuenia, a village of 2000 in the Andes Mountains

villa-pehuenia

When I arrived I was completely overwhelmed by the generosity and genuine interest that the people expressed. I lived with a woman named Sandra. A little back story, my mom went to Argentina with a program called AFS, American Field Service, when she was 16. She lived with Sandra’s mom, but Sandra and my mom are both the same age. Anyway, I began to go to school there, eat incredible food, and teach English in the English Institute. I taught twice a week for 4 hours and I helped the students, most of whom also were in regular school with me, with grammar and vocab. I thought that this experience was absolutely incredible because I was able to live in another part of the world with such a different culture. The level of poverty there was very apparent, but everyone was nice and EXTREMELY generous. Teaching English was very humbling, because I was able to give a gift in exchange for the Spanish and culture that I was learning. I also felt so proud to be able to teach people about America and be listened to. I am thrilled that Sandra and one of her son’s is coming to America in December. I hope that you all can meet him. If you want to learn more about what I did there, not just about my school experience, visit www.maxblogargentina.wordpress.com

Fouad’s Service Reflection

This year, I assisted in calling and writing notes to Friends Seminary alumni in regards to donating to this year’s Annual Fund. Of course,
receiving a donation from someone you had recently called felt rewarding since it gave me a chance to give back to the community which gives me access to my community which offers me an education, is open to my many complaints, and allows me to perform in a professional setting. However, the most interesting part of this seemingly-awkward task to me was hearing what Friends Seminary alumni were doing today.
After dialing the first number, I was greeted by a friendly voice regarding his law office which I realized was a voicemail mid-response. After the beep and an awkward voicemail, I proceeded to consider this man’s life. At one point or another, he lived day to day under the same roof, taking the same classes, with some of the same teachers I am now. After dialing more numbers, I realized that all of these people had once led extremely similar lives yet somehow spread to all different jobs of the world.
While calling and writing to more alumni, I kept bringing my attention to the fact that they were once Friends students like me and that one day a future student could be calling me. Hearing the questions alumni had about Friends today led me to wonder how Friends will evolve in the future. How would the life of that future Friends Seminary student; a most-likely stressed, tired, determined, and service-credit-needing (and service enjoying) person be different from the one I lead today. If they’re having a bad day, will their go-to place be the new art piece Friends is planning on displaying. I look forward to hearing about the future of Friends and thinking back to this service experience.

Justin’s Summer Service 2015

Over the summer on a 5 week trip, I had the unique opportunity to live with a family in Medina de Rioseco, Spain for three weeks.  During that three week period, I tutored my host siblings, Maria and Mateo, in English. They were taking English classes over the summer.  They had to do projects and worksheets.  Several times a week, I would tutor Maria and Mateo teaching them grammar, working on reading comprehension, and teaching about American culture. Before each lesson, I would think of ways to make the lessons exciting and educational. My host siblings caught on quickly. My summer experience gave me a new perspective on bilingual education.  I definitely will incorporate tutoring into the community service I perform in the future, and I will always look fondly upon my experience.

 

Advisory Reflection

Today we reflected on how three Quaker quotes relate to the role individuals have in responding to community needs.

“Let your life speak.”

– It’s what you do, not what you say

– If you do community service, you don’t need to brag about it. Let your actions speak.

“…the Testimony of equality beings with the belief that the Light is present in us all.”

– We wonder whether ALL people are truly worthy of “respect.” Would “thought” or “a voice” or “love” be a better word?

“… consider the ways in which our testimonies for peace, equality, and simplicity interact to guide our relationships with all life.”

– Be the people who show these qualities in everyday life.

– Don’t think of service as a “task” but rather as useful/helpful. Do it for the sole reason of doing something good for someone else.

– Since this quote is so old, it shows that there has always been a need for service, and will always be one.

– A big part of service is helping people with things that we take for granted (shelter, food, safety, etc).

 

Christian’s Experience with CMA

This summer, I volunteered at the Children’s Museum of the Arts. CMA is “a nonprofit arts facility that brings hands-on art programming to children throughout New York City” (CMA Website). During the summer, CMA has classes at their main facility in West Soho, and classes on Governors Island that are held in what used to be U.S. Naval Officer housing.

This was my second summer volunteering at CMA which offers a wide variety of arts classes. I assisted with three, weeklong film classes on Governors Island: Claymation, Epic Adventure Film, and Pixilation. Each class was based around teaching kids, ages 7-13, an animating computer program called iStopmotion.

This year I was much more involved and given more responsibilities. Each morning and afternoon, I helped chaperone the kids to and from Governors Island. I was put in-charge of workstations and groups and assisted kids if they had questions. I also gained a better sense of effectively teaching kids and also furthered my understanding of iStopmotion and filming techniques.

When I was younger, I took classes at CMA so it was very rewarding to teach kids and help them have the same experiences I had. It was also nice to learn that some of the kids taking the class were lower school students at Friends. Overall, it was a great experience taking on a larger role in helping younger kids express themselves through new forms of art.

Bea’s Summer Service Reflection

This August I volunteered for my second time at the East Hampton Public Library‘s annual children’s fair.  East Hampton Public Library hosts this book fair for the town to come together as a community and celebrate a number of authors and help support the public library.  This fair brings members of the community of all ages together, wether people are attending, hosting, or volunteering to help make the day special.  Apart from hosting a day of fun, the fair helps advertise local businesses that show their products, as well as show appreciation for the local law enforcement, such as the fire and police departments.

When I volunteered this year, it was one of the more memorable times I’ve had at the fair because I was able to volunteer with some of my other classmates.  I not only worked but got to get to know some of the people who I worked with better than I had before.  This was a great experience because you don’t only get the sense that you are helping to benefit the community you live in, but also have fun while doing so.

Justin’s YPI Project Reflection

beyond surviving banner image

I worked with the non-profit organization, Samaritans of NYC, which is a 24-hour crisis hotline for those who are contemplating suicide. During the course of the project, my views and attitude about teenage suicide changed exponentially. I used to think that suicide was something that happened without warning. I learned that most people who commit suicide speak about it first. This fact makes suicide preventable. I realized that suicide was not just an unfortunate fact of life. Having someone there to listen at any time of the day, makes the difference. Further, confidentiality allows for free and open communication without judgment.

The project not only educated me about suicide, but it also taught me valuable skills. I learned the importance of being organized, persistent, and flexible. Gathering facts and statistics from the Assistant Director of Samaritans, Joy, required organizational skills and determination. I had to organize the meeting with the Assistant Director being mindful of everyone’s busy schedules. I emailed the Assistant Director several times to organize a time when we could interview her and learn more about Samaritans. We could not visit the site of the hotline because it is confidential, so the Assistant Director met us at school. I learned that when one has to get a job done, he or she must be flexible and solution oriented. When we found out that we could not make a site visit due to confidentiality concerns, I had to come up with an alternative solution for getting to know more about The Samaritans.

The most challenging part of the project was organizing the interview. Unfortunately, the Assistant Director had to cancel twice due to other obligations. When we finally had our meeting with the Assistant Director, we were almost at the deadline to do the site visit. Therefore, we made sure we were thorough in our questioning to be prepared for the presentation.

The most rewarding part of this project was presenting the issue of teenage suicide and our non-profit organization to our classmates. Education leads to prevention. I was gratified to know that just telling my classmates about suicide, prevention, and Samaritans, could impact the life of a classmate or the friend of a classmate.

Regrettably, I will not be able to continue with volunteer work for Samaritans because volunteers generally work on the hotline, and they must be 21 years or over. However, I would like to still focus on this social issue. I learned that multilingual resources for suicide prevention in New York City are scarce. This summer, I am traveling to Spain for a language immersion program. If I can become fluent, I might look into working with an organization that helps educate Spanish speaking people in New York City on suicide prevention.

YPI Reflection

For the YPI project my group and I researched unemployment among veterans and the issues connecting to it. As New Yorkers we are witness homelessness and unemployment walking down the street so this was an issue that interests us. We choose the organization IAVA-Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. IAVA has countless programs that help veterans returning from war get back on their feet.
When we went for a site visit to the IAVA headquarters, we got a sense of the community and how welcoming and kind they are. We interviewed Mr. Hansman a board member, who was a veteran who rose up through the organizations programs and wanted to become involved. After our interview, we were shown around the office and we met some of the other people working there. In the middle of one of the rooms there was a floor to ceiling column that was covered in letters, pictures and names. They told us that they called it the “Wall of Why.” They explained to us that they posted anything they received from people they had helped or their families and it helped remind them why the work they are doing is so important if they ever got discouraged.
In the news and in the world we are constantly flooded with images and the events of all these horrible things that are going on and it was really beautiful to see this group of people and this organization that was focused on helping others that have gone through a rough time and really improving their lives. This experience really opened my eyes to good people can be. I learned a lot about the issue of unemployment in general (and specific to Veterans) and the outcomes or effects that can happen because of it. Although my group did not make it to the finals or win the grant, I hope to continue contact with the organization and volunteer with them.