Sara’s YPI- East Harlem Tutorial Program

EHTP site visit

The other members of my YPI group (I took the photo).

 

My YPI group chose the East Harlem Tutorial Program for our charity.  They work to combat college inaccessibility and tuition rise.  My YPI group originally wanted to focus on a different topic, but we eventually decided on college accessibility and tuition.  Since it wasn’t our first choice, it felt at first like we were just settling for the next-best topic, but we quickly grew to appreciate the complexities and details of our issue.  I had wanted to do a topic that focused on people and their feelings, so I was kind of dispassionate about college accessibility, an issue focused on money.  However, over the course of the YPI project, I grew to see the effect that college accessibility has on young people, and I became more passionate about it.  I realized that one of the reasons I felt so uninterested initially was my own privilege.  Being able to afford college tuition has never been a prominent issue in my mind, as my family has fairly high socioeconomic status.  Working on the YPI project really opened my eyes to what an issue college accessibility is.  Researching the long- and short-term effects of college tuition rates was especially rewarding, as it really demonstrated to me the practical and emotional issues that stem from the rise of college tuition.

Walter’s YPI Experience

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In what ways has your attitude toward your social issue changed over the course of the project?

In the beginning of this project, I understood that Innovation for Cancer Treatement was a major concern but I had not quite internalized how serious it was. Then as the project progressed I did more research on the cause of pediatric cancer and read more stories about children who had lost their lives from this deadly disease and it began to affect me on a more emotional level. This was especially true after meeting with the director of the charity. This motivated me to work harder on my presentation to make my charity receive the $5,000 grant.

What communication skills did you develop over the course of the project?

I think this project taught me a lot in commnuication. Being able to communicate with proffessional adults is a very underrated skill and this project gave me a lot of practice with that.
What aspect of the project did you find most challenging? rewarding?

I found the beginning stages challenging when we had to use our sharred values to think of a topic that we all connected with in some way. Then we had to take this topic and find a charity that met the ypi standards. For me, since our sharred value of innovation was borad, I found it difficult to come up with a local cause that incorporated this value. Then we had to find a good charity that funded innovation in this cause which was also tough.
How might you remain engaged with your social issue or non-profit organization?

Our organization has four main fundraising events that they work pretty hard on. I am going to go to these events and participate. For example one event is a walk, that I think would be really fun to go to with friends and raise a lot of awareness for the charity.

My organization is Hope and Heroes at Columbia Unniversity Hospital. http://hopeandheroes.org

Amelia’s Summer Service Experience

This summer I took a trip to New Mexico to volunteer at food banks children’s camps and the national parks. The children we worked with were from the ages of 5 to 10 and were sent to the camp because their parents had long working hours. We worked with the kids from around 8 in the morning until around 5pm.  It was interesting to me how over the course of three days the young children became so attached to an older child. In this picture I am playing with one of the children named Jordan.

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The children were very sweet and I had a great time volunteering with them.

Then, we volunteered in the Santa Fe National Park.  We worked on restoring trails, which included rolling grade dips to make sure water runs off the trail, moving rocks off the trails and removing teepees from along the trails that people had built out of tree branches and which were fire hazards. It was very hard physical work, but well worth it. I tried every tool and learned how to use them properly.  I also learned good outdoor survival essentials in case of a disaster, such as the 30-30 rule, which means that in case of lightning you descend 30 feet and wait 30 minutes before climbing back up.  Here are some photos of us working on the trail.

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I learned a lot doing this trail work. With trail maintenance, our guide explained that no one thanks you for what you have done, because they do not notice maintenance when they are walking, biking or skiing on the trails. But I got personal satisfaction knowing that I had maintained a part of nature that could then be safely enjoyed by others. I loved how at the end of our time working on the  the trail it was apparent how much we had improved it.

My favorite service work of the trip however, was working with two food banks, The Food Depot and Feeding Santa Fe. At the Food Depot we packaged food that would then be given to families who needed it.  We did this for six hours two days in a row and even though it should have been tedious work we made it fun and had a great and productive time.  The Food Depot provides food for poor individuals and families who can “shop” from the good that are available.  The next couple days, we had to wake up at 4:00 in the morning to go to Feeding Santa Fe, a non-profit, volunteer organization that also provides food to hungry families.  It has been helping people in Santa Fe since 1979 and I was amazed at the dedication of the people who work there.  They give out up to 900 bags of food a week. We helped the volunteers at Feeding Santa Fe fill the bags that they would be giving out the following day. In each bag is two potatoes, two cans of canned vegetables, three pound bag of beans, rice, or pasta, one dozen eggs, a loaf of bread and any fresh fruit and vegetables they have that week. The next day we had to wake up at 4:00 again and go to Feeding Santa Fe to hand out the bags of food. When giving out the bags Feeding Santa Fe does not ask any questions, but just gives people the food.

Giving out the bags of food was the most meaningful part of the trip for me, because the recipients of the food were so grateful for what we did and it was such a personal service.  Often times there would be many children in the cars and we would give them milk and raisins.  Although I know the people were grateful I felt sometimes like they were embarrassed to be there.  One time, when I was giving a bag to a women she looked through it and began to cry. I was very surprised but did not say anything.  She reached into the bag and held up one of the cucumbers we had put in. She explained that she had wanted to buy a cucumber from the supermarket the day before but did not have enough money. This experience really stuck with me.  It clearly showed me how much this meant for the people in need, but also reminded me how lucky I am to not have to worry about things like buying cucumbers or any food for that matter.  This is something we should not take for granted!

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My summer service trip in New Mexico was a very special experience to me because I think that I learned an enormous amount about people and service and grew as a person myself.

Danny’s Service Reflection

For several years, I have attended the Martin Luther King, Jr. Concert, held to benefit the Friends Shelter. As much as I have enjoyed helping the Shelter by listening to spectacular music performed by both the Meetinghouse Jazz Orchestra and my peers, I was excited to finally be able to play in this year’s concert. On January 22, I and the Jazz Ensemble had the opportunity to play alongside professional musicians for the wonderful cause of the Friends Shelter.

While I was slightly disappointed with how the actual performance went, I couldn’t be happier that I had the chance to help the less fortunate through playing music. I believe both the shelter and the concert to be institutions uniquely tied to Friends Seminary, and I’m happy that I had the chance to entertain my community at the same time as improving it for those who rely on it for shelter.

Philippe’s Service Reflection

On Monday, February 9, 2015, members of my Statistics class and I participated in the HOPE Count Survey (https://a071-hope.nyc.gov/HOPE/welcome.aspx), which is an annual event aided by the NYC Department of Homeless Services. The point of the survey is to find out how many people are homeless in different areas of the city so they know the most beneficial places to build shelters. At around 11:00 p.m., volunteers gathered at PS41 to start training. At 12:15 a.m., we split up into small groups and started the survey. Statistics class has taught me all of the important aspects that are needed to find accurate results and avoid miscalculations when recording data. To make sure that the volunteers were truly surveying every single person they walked by, decoys were sent to our areas and acted like normal pedestrians. My group did not find one decoy, which makes me wonder if we truly did survey everyone we passed. Not only did I learn more about taking data for a statistics project, but I also learned about the importance of caring for those who are not fortunate enough to have a roof over their heads every night.

I pass by people without a home almost every day, but I never had such personal encounters until I participated in the survey. Although no homeless people wanted to go to a shelter that night, many of them expressed their gratitude because of our service as well as those who were fortunate to have a home. Not only did I learn more about counting data for statistics, but I helped the city with a large problem that we need to fix as soon as possible.

Sammie Barkan’s Summer of Service

This summer I was an unpaid intern with Teach For America, and I worked in their National Office. This was the second summer that I worked there. I worked in the Admissions Department, specifically the selector impact team. They are in-charge of training the selectors, and then the selector choose the teachers. While working there, I took the selector training, became a trained selector (although I did not actually get to choose any teachers), did research on new technology that the team is going to use to create their training, and created and reorganized some of the slides used in the training.

My motivations for working with TFA have really changed over the past two years. I went into it with the goal of obtaining an internship and not much more. I new a little bit about education inequality, but it was not something that I though about often. After working there my views on the problem have completely changed. It is now something that I know a lot about and care passionatly about changing. Yes, I obtained the internship, but I gained a lot more than just community service hours. I learned all about a huge issue that our country has and the great ways that one organization is trying to fix it.

To look at TFAs website click http://www.teachforamerica.org/

Danny’s Service Reflection

On Saturday, May 10, 2014, I went with my father to the Yung Wing School in Chinatown for the Yale Day of Service. While there, we performed tasks such as garden beautification and organization of the library. Although the organization of the books was occasionally tedious, it was nice to know that it was for a good cause, helping in the students’ education. Although I don’t know how long the organization lasted, I imagine some children were more easily able to find the books they were looking for, and hopefully they enjoyed and will continue to enjoy reading. I had the opportunity to speak with the principal of the Yung Wing School, and I could tell how much our contributions meant to her personally and as a leader of the school community. I hope to participate in the Yale Day of Service next year.

Elinor’s experience with Knit Witts

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Nell Pearson and I started the activity Knit Witts this year to help students learn how to knit and increase their knitting skills while giving to charity. We are currently making a quilt (out of squares that our members have made), hats and scarves to send to the beleaguered people of Afghanistan. We are working through an organization called afghans for afghans. This was a really fun way to complete my out-of-school service hours. We gathered every other friday and knit as we watched interesting documentaries, videos or just talked. It was essentially an old lady knitting circle–which was awesome.

A lot of times while I am doing service I wonder what the actual impact is of my efforts. With Knit Witts, I have real faith in the organization and understand that this knitwear will go to people who actually need it to keep warm. It is also very fulfilling to actually make something. With the time it takes to knit each item alone, it is clear the immense effort and care that each item carries. I often donate to charity, or bring things in for a charity drive, but there is something so special to sending something that you made on your own. Nell and I looked at a lot of places to send our knitwear and thought Afghans for Afghans was the clear best choice. At Friends Seminary, we learn about how awful war is in history class and the active protests of the 60s but I often forget that there is a war going on right now. The organization gives us a real chance to connect and help the civilians and families there who have been devastated by this war. I really enjoyed knitting hats and squares for these people in need and cannot wait to continue this next year.

 

Sammie’s Summer of Service

This summer I was an unpaid intern at the Teach For America national office. Teach For America take college graduates and trains them to be teachers in underprivileged schools and communities throughout America.  I worked in their admin department which is responsible for opening and renovating offices all over the country.  Because TFA is a constantly expanding organization they have a need for a department like this.  I had a few projects that I worked on. The first was that I sorted through thousands of photos and uploaded them to flickr. The flickr link was sent to all of the people responsible for opening up new offices and they used the photos as examples and ideas for what they want their office to look like. The second project was I made a furniture catalogue that was also sent to the people in charge of decorating the offices so they can order furniture for their office. My final project was i made a mood board activity that my supervisors will take with them when they do focus groups on what employees in a given office to feel like and what type of vibe they want it to have.  I also had to make sample moodboards.

Teach For America’s message really relates to the part of the Quaker Quotables quote speaking to equality “All are deserving of respect, no matter what our differences. When we respect the Light in ourselves and others, we encourage all to turn inward for guidance and truth.”  Teach For America believes that no matter where a person is from or what their background is they deserve a quality education.  Teach For Americas goal is to give everyone a quality education.  This is an organization whose mission is worth supporting.

Danny’s Service Reflection

This fall, I volunteered to help out with Upper School Back to School Night. I enjoyed handing out information sheets to the arriving 10th Grade parents not only because it was entertaining to meet the parents of some of my classmates but also because it helped foster communication between parents and teachers across the Upper School. During the night, I spent time volunteering with several peers and was able to enjoy the time spent with them throughout the night. I was glad that I was able to complete a large chunk of the service requirement while having a great time! I hope that I will be able to volunteer at the event next year like I have in both freshman and sophomore years.