This summer I worked at the GO Project, organizing HR files before the summer session. It was really interesting to work in such a professional office setting and I learned a lot about communication. I communicated with people who had been hired to make sure that they all had their hiring paperwork sent in. I was surprised at how slowly people would respond with their paperwork, especially after we had ask them to send in the paperwork many times.
This summer, I worked for a non profit called Go Project. Go Project is a nonprofit that works on helping kids all the way from K to over 5th grade catch up in grade level. Instead of summer school, they can learn over the summer in a fun and inclusive learning environment. My job was helping in teaching sports. Sports was one of the enrichment activities, meaning one of the activities that the kids took part in from 2-5 after finishing their academic classes for the day. The kids enjoyed playing sports and various activities like Soccer and Dodgeball a great deal. They got to take part in extracurricular activities like music, art, and more after they finished their academic work. This experience was very rewarding for the kids and for me. Not only did it help the kids have a fun time, but it also helped them improve athletically and learn about various sports that they did not know about. It gave them a chance to grow and explore their interests with extra curricular activities after their classes were done. It also helped me grow as a teacher. I hope others will work for Go Project and helping the kids continue to excel in school and have a great time too. The opportunity was very eye opening and rewarding too. Go Project was a great opportunity that I recommend for people to take part in over the summer or even during the school year if they have the time. It accommodates people of all ages and helps them improve and grow both as people and as students. Some of the kid’s attitudes towards learning also changed where some of them were discouraged, but after entering into this welcoming and warming opportunity, they started loving to learn. You can access the site here (http://www.goprojectnyc.org).
In Ethnic New York, everything we learned led up to a single final research project, in which we had to provide a historical and ethnographical look at the neighborhood immediately surrounding where we live. Going into it, I was excited to have the opportunity to look into the lives of people who previously lived there and how what they did has shaped my experiences living there. One important part of the project was to conduct and record interviews with long time residents of the neighborhood, which at first seemed like a daunting task but became extremely rewarding after doing it. Being able to hear people talk about streets that I walk along everyday and describe a completely different world and experience honestly amazed me and only made me appreciate living in this city more than I already do. Not only did it change my perspective of the past of my neighborhood, it changed how I see it now. I find myself looking at the details of the world around me more, trying to figure out the significance that I now know that even the smallest thing can have.
I had a great time being the scorekeeper for Friends Varsity Basketball for the second year in a row. I score kept for all home and away games and went to Arizona over winter break to help score the team there. I helped to compile player’s individual and as well as team statistics for every game as well as the season as a whole. I also filled in for Andrew Harsh when other basketball team’s games needed scorers. It is a great position to have as you get to interact with the team throughout the season and work with numbers.
Victoria’s Service Reflection
In my 12 years as a Friends student and in the past four years in high school I have worked with many organizations all around NYC to not only fulfill the service requirement but to support issues that mean a lot to me. However, despite the countless hours I have spent cooking meals, picking up trash, teaching english, and planting flowers, this year was the first I helped in the Friends Shelter. Since I was in kindergarten I remember seeing the cots unfolded in the common room as we were leaving activities held in the evenings, but had little connection or knowledge to the shelter. Just this week, although knowing about it for 13 years, I volunteered for the first time to help the shelter by making dinner (a main-course, vegetable, and breakfast for 14 people). It took me over four hours to buy and cook the food and prepare it to be delivered to those staying the night at Friends. In the time I have been connected with friends, individuals have contributed in serving roughly 4745 meals, of which I have contributed one. Although I relish the hours I spent helping with other organizations, as I prepare to leave I see that I wish I had helped serve the organizations that are fundamental in our community. Given my history with the school as well as my home’s proximity to the school, I will most definitely cook another meal, but realizing the time lost has taught me that I should be looking around my immediate community first and foremost, as we don’t have to go far to lend a helping hand to someone in need.
On Wednesday, February 3, I traveled with fellow students from Friends to the AFYA Foundation in Yonkers. We helped to sort and pack refugee donations for shipment at the AFYA Foundation. When we were there we learned more about the refugee crisis and the role the AFYA Foundation plays in supplying donations for the many refugees that are currently in need. I initially became interested in this event because it was during peace week, in which I took part in many lectures and discussions about the current refugee crisis. Also, because I was travelling to Paris with Friends in March, I thought it would be a good idea to participate in service for the refugees. I loved my brief time at the AFYA Foundation, and through all the information I gathered I truly comprehended the gravity of the situation at hand.
On Saturday, April 9, I participated with fellow students from Friends as well as other schools from other independent NYC schools in a Sustainability Through Student Voices Conference. I attended many workshops that informed me of critical environmental issues that occur on a daily basis and provided me with solutions on how to become more sustainable in my daily life. There were multiple guest speakers who also have taken many steps at their young age to promote environmental sustainability; they were able to share their message on the importance of sustainability through showing everyone the amount of time and effort that was put into enforcing sustainability. I learned a lot from this conference on how to become more sustainable and how to effect a change in my daily life as well as the daily lives of those around me manifested in my community’s becoming more sustainable.
This year I attended the first annual Sustainability Through Student Voices conference. It was a great way to learn about the various environmental problems facing our planet. The conference was setup with two speakers, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, and then there were three periods with many different presentations on different issues and I got to choose which ones to attend. The presentations included talks about plastic bag bans and issues with our shrinking clean water supply. There was also a reflection session at the end and it was really interesting to hear other people’s takeaways from the conference and how they would change their daily lives based on what they learned at the conference. I learned about changes I could make in my every day life to reduce my impact on the environment; however, one of the biggest takeaways I had from the conference was that we are still not doing enough as a society to reduce our impact on our planet. I really recommend this conference to anyone who is looking to educate themselves about ways to help save environments all over the world. One of the best parts about this even is that it is led by students so you are learning and discussing ideas with many of your peers.
This past year I volunteered for a book drive with Project Cicero for the third consecutive year. Project Cicero holds these book drives for teachers who work at under resourced schools and may not have all the books they wished to have. Once again I really enjoyed it and still believe it is a great way to do some service. This year I was assigned to organizing books into their respective categories. The past two years I worked with moving boxes of books to the sorting areas and crushing old boxes to be taken down to the basement. Those two jobs were very rewarding in their own respect; however, this year was probably the most rewarding. We would organize books for about a half hour, and then the teachers would come in a take books for their classrooms. It was great to see my work directly making an impact in another person’s life, knowing that those books would be available for students and other schools to read. After the teachers left, the shelves of sorted books would be almost empty and I could really feel the impact that this book drive was making on school all across the city. Not only is this volunteer opportunity rewarding, but it is also a great activity to do with friends since you can work as a group and talk with them as you sort the books.
This year, I worked at Tsejin Bhotia’s booth for Around the World Day. Tsejin is Tibetan-American and is incredibly passionate about her culture and Tibet’s liberation from China’s oppressive rule and invasion. She works with Students for a Free Tibet, and the entire event Around the World Day was centered around raising awareness and money for the organization. At her booth, I helped sell merchandise from the organization, and I also asked students and faculty to sign petitions to free Tibetan political prisoners who have been wrongly abducted or imprisoned by the Chinese government. I have always been aware of the situation in Tibet, and working at the booth was a good way for me to gauge how much and how little I know about what is going on right now. Some students had no idea why Students for a Free Tibet even exists, and I explained that Tibet has been struggling for its liberation since the mid-Twentieth Century. However, hearing Tsejin talk about the situation I realized how little I really know about the history of the struggle. She explained that in relation to other oppressed countries, Tibet is more oppressed than North Korea. However, China tries its hardest to give off the impression that Tibet is part of China and that nothing wrong is going on in the region. In reality, China is trying to erase Tibetan culture, and will imprison anyone who advocates for the country. I want to help spread awareness about this issue that has been largely ignored by the international community and is not talked about enough in conversations about international human rights. Overall, the experience was very positive and it was wonderful to see so many students and faculty asking questions and wanting to learn more about Tibet.