Penny Landers’ Service Reflection

Over the summer, I helped clean the beach with the organization, Imagination Nature. While considerably unpleasant, it was worth noting the kinds of things people had left on the beach, and for what reason. The places which had the most trash were locations where people had organized a party on the beach the night before. There were a significant number of cigarette butts littering the sand, as well as items of food which had been left behind and forgotten about. I think that the reason people left so much food on the beach is because they assume it will decompose, and it will, eventually, but not fast enough for it to avoid harming the ecosystem.  It was slightly alarming to come back the next week and see how much garbage had returned to the same places we had just cleared of plastic bags and orange peels seven days before. This emphasized to me how important it is for beach-atendees to use the easily accessible garbage cans located in the beach parking lot.

Imagination Nature’s Website: http://imaginationnature.com

 

Chloe’s Experience with Bideawee

Over the summer, I volunteered at Bideawee in Westhampton. Bideawee is a no kill animal with three locations in New York. My sister and I went in four times a week for two or three hours each day. Work at Bideawee made me realize how neglected some animals are. At the shelter there were animals that have been abandoned and beaten. There was a dog that came from the south with a broken jaw. One of the volunteers told me that the dog’s previous own shot its mouth with an air soft gun. Matilda, cat at the shelter, has Feline Cerebellar Hypoplasia (CH). CH makes Matilda have jerky movements and she often falls into her own litter. Matilda has to live in a padded room so she does not hurt herself. The saddest part is that she is the most loving cat in the world and she still hasn’t been adopted. It’s heartbreaking to know that some of the animals at the shelter have been there for at least 8 years. Jackie, a blind dog, has been at the shelter for so long that she is now blind. The no one will adopt her and the shelter can’t kill her. Whenever anyone came in to look at any of the animals, I would get so excited and hope that someone would adopt Jackie or Matilda, but no one ever did.

At the shelter I also has cleaning responsibilities. I cleaned litter boxes, washed windows, did laundry, mopped floor. It was a nice balance of work and play. I loved getting to know the staff and all of the animals.

Here is a video of one of the cats at the shelter. Someone found her with wire wrapped around her leg. The wire gave her a very bad cut. She also came into the shelter with a broken back. She has been in the animal hospital for over two weeks.

 

 

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Here is a photo of me with Matilda.

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The Committee to Protect Journalists

Over the summer, I did a month long internship at The Committee to Protect Journalists. Freedom of the press and freedom of speech are ideals surprisingly unique to certain countries. All over the world, journalists and artists are prevented from speaking or writing freely, and they are often thrown in jail if they do so. This is typically the case in countries with oppressive governments where it is illegal to criticize governments or rulers. One of the best known examples of this limited freedom is in the case of the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, who was imprisoned for his bold art work. The Chinese government finally gave Ai Weiwei his passport back this July. Another well known case is that of Jason Rezaian, a Washington Post journalist who has been held captive by the Iranian government for 447 days. 

The Committee to Protect Journalists works to free imprisoned journalists, promote freedom of the press, and advocate human rights by working with the governments that forbid such freedoms. The issue of freedom of the press is an increasingly pressing one, as more journalists are being imprisoned than ever and as “ authorities seek to silence and retaliate against critical voices covering sensitive topics such as corruption or human rights abuses”. At CPJ, I not only had the opportunity to learn about an issue that is incredibly important to me, but I also got to meet a group of passionate people and watch them work to conquer a problem that they care about.

 

Alex’s Schedule Generator Experience

Last year, one method I used to keep track of my classes was to add them as repeating events to the Calendar app on my iPad. Instead of having to perfectly memorize my schedule, I could, at any time throughout the day, simply swipe down Notification Center and see when my classes were. Notification Center also tells you helpful information, such as how many minutes you have until your next class.

It is a challenge for everyone this year to adjust to the new eight day schedule, and it is even more difficult to keep track of when your classes are than last year. Instead of having to memorize five school days worth of classes, you have to memorize eight, and in addition know what number each school day is. This gets even more challenging when you to take into account the holidays on which we do not have school, and how they shift the entire schedule a day later.

As soon as I learned about the new schedule, I tried to put it into my Calendar app like I did last year. I quickly ran into some problems. Unlike last year, you cannot simply create calendar events that repeat weekly. Making events that repeat every eight days does not work either because it does not take weekends into account. Even if you could make events that repeat every eight weekdays, holidays would still be a problem.

The solution I finally came up with takes advantage of Google Calendar’s “Import Calendar” feature. I figured out a way to create a spreadsheet in Excel that can be imported as a calendar. Earlier in the summer, I had begun to learn some basic HTML, CSS, and Javascript. I realized that I could use these coding languages to create an online schedule generator that others could use to easily generate their own spreadsheets that could be imported into Google Calendar.

After a lot of research, programming, and refinement, I was finally able to create a working version of the schedule generator. From there, I added some additional features, such as the ability to add locations, add free periods, have a separate schedule for Semester 2, and even automatically fill in all classes of a certain block letter.

Here is the link to the current (not yet finished) schedule generator, hosted on Google Drive: https://www.googledrive.com/host/0B2EJ3y8e4rmfdU83dHYyMkhWNmM/. My schedule generator will hopefully be available as a finished product by Semester 2 or by next year.

“We are in community each time we find a place where we belong and find we are needed.”

–Peter F. Block

By being able to create and share my schedule generator, I feel connected with the meaning of this quote. It is a wonderful and unique service experience to be able to share a solution that I found with the entire Friends community, and I hope it will help everyone manage the new eight day schedule.

Malik’s Connect With AFSC

This summer I had a blast doing service. I learned all about the prison industrial complex, mass incarceration, and solitary confinement. These are all dense issues that I learnt about with other highschool and college students. It was a transformative experience because the entire time I didn’t feel like I was doing service. I was learning new things everyday and then putting what I learned into practice. We ended up making a couple of public service announcement videos and documentaries to raise awareness about the issues. The work I did with AFSC allowed for me to get engrossed in the issues and to learn as much as I could while simultaneously putting the knowledge to action. I got to meet so many different people all working for and learning about the same issue. It was one of the best experiences of my life. I would encourage anyone to definetly learn more by going to afsc.org.

Tiffany’s Summer Reflection

This summer I volunteered at the Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation. It is a wonderful center that helps people overcome their housing problems. I have heard the stories of people that are struggling to maintain their housing finances, and have received helped from the advisors at Cypress. However, there was a lot of work to be done without a sufficient amount of people to finish the tasks. I volunteered with my sister. We helped organize files, take phone calls, and log information on a computer. The work environment itself was very friendly and welcoming. I am glad to be apart of something that helps the community and will continue to volunteer throughout high school.

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Isa’s Summer Service with the East Hampton Library

       Over the summer, I volunteered at the East Hampton Library children’s book fair. The East Hampton library is home to a wide selection of books available to all members of the community, and is also a place that facilities children’s learning and reading skills. The children’s book fair is a wonderful initiative organized by the library. The fair includes rides and games, a book fair, children’s book author signings, a raffle with great prizes, and arts and crafts, as well as musical performances and entertainments.

       At the fair, I helped kids with arts and crafts, decorating bags, hats, boxes and masks. I also worked behind various game booths where kids were able to play and win prizes. Participating in this service opportunity was a very rewarding experience. The amount of people that showed up to support their local library was astounding, and very wonderful to see. People and families from all over the area came together in this community event. Lots of children were running around, smiling, eating, and having fun. Kids laughed when they won games and exclaimed when they got to the top of the rock wall. I am so glad I volunteered with the East Hampton Library, because I was able to participate in helping out with such a special and important cause.

 

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Emily’s Service Reflection on Summer at LSTFI

At the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute this summer, I helped teach 11 kids the basics of Lee Strasberg’s method acting and general theatre skills. I was with the children all day and was a Teacher’s Assistant to the teachers who gave up their summer to teach at the Institute, despite being free of the usual NYU and Conservatory program students that they teach year-round.

This year is the last year possible for me to go to Strasberg, where I’ve been going for 11 years now. I’ve watched many a student rehearse for college auditions, read scenes better than I’d ever seen, and generally been inspired by so many of those people who were older than me and are now off doing great things for the American theatre. It was not only adorable, but incredibly nostalgic and also quite amazing to see these kids exactly where I started off at LSTFI: I was only 7 years old and taking the exact same classes they were taking in the same two week extension. Although many people don’t agree with Lee Strasberg’s methods and I wouldn’t dare to argue that they are far superior to any others, the one thing I know for sure is that the people teaching at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute have the power to inspire and keep that inspiration flowing inside of a person. Before I go off to college myself, I’m so grateful that I got the opportunity to be one of those people this year.