This past summer was my third summer shadowing a cardiologist at RUSH hospital in Chicago. My work this past summer was similar to in recent summers- I watched a lot of angiograms and spent time in the patient center. Unlike in previous years, this past summer I was able to observe more complicated surgeries, including a seven-hour CABG (coronary artery bypass graft). Additionally, I did rounds in the Coronary Care Unit with a team of cardiologists, fellows, and pharmacists. It is particularly meaningful to be able to see the relationships between doctors and patients at RUSH. Similarly to last summer, it was interesting to see how cardiac medicine has progressed in the year since I had been there last. It is really fascinating and rewarding to be able to gain some insight about such a fascinating and evolving field.
As someone who attended the Halloween party as a lower schooler many years ago, it felt especially good to set up the halloween party for new lower schoolers. In my years the haunted hallway was a series of claustrophobic boxes children would crawl through while being abused by high schoolers from above; it was a terrifying and somehow fun experience. But it felt good to change the halloween party and the way the kids have fun. The new haunted hallway set up seemed much safer yet still scary and fun, plus I had a great time hiding behind curtains and yelling boo at passersby. I also felt like the set up with plenty of games, a chocolate fountain, and fun ways of obtaining candy, was a wholesome experience and a much better experience for the kids than it was in my day. It felt very good to emulate and improve on the fun I used to have at the Friends lower school party.
Over the summer, I came back to Bideawee for my third year of service with them. I was responsible to doing the laundry, cleaning the rooms, and playing with the cats and dogs. I got to volunteer with my sister. I enjoyed spending time with her while being productive.
It was exciting to be one of the older and more experienced volunteers as I was able to teach the younger volunteers how to do the laundry, and I was able to do more work by myself. Each time, after I finished cleaning the rooms, I would sit in the cat rooms. As soon as I sat down, Pumpkin would jump into my lap. Pumpkin is classified as a red, which means that she can be very frisky. I felt very honored to see her sweet side.
I also got to learn more about Bideawee as an organization. The CEO of Bideawee was trying to shut down the location where I was working. I was so moved by the community’s response as they made it clear how important Bideawee was to them.
Last summer I participated in an oyster cage building activity on June 16. We were split up into groups who worked on different parts of the cages. I was part of the group who cut sheets of wire from a large roll of cage wire. We used clippers and wore gloves to cut the wire sheets for the cages. Next we clipped off any bits of wire that stuck out undesirably. These would get in the way later, so we had to remove them. We left some of the bits on each side, as they would be bent to allow the sheet to clasp onto another sheet. Next the sheets went to a different station that bent the sheets in half. This station formed each sheet into the desired shape of the cage. Next, the bent sheets were brought back to my group. We bent the bits that we left on the sheets from the first clipping and connected them to another sheet of wire. Once we had done this, the cage was completed. After we had finished making all the cages we needed to, I swept the floor for metal scraps, and put away clippers and gloves along with three other volunteers. My experience at BOP was very pleasant. Although I got a large sore bump on my hand from all the pressure during clipping the wire, the atmosphere of the houses we were building the cages in was relaxing. The Billion Oyster Project’s mission is to distribute 1 billion oysters to about 100 acres of reefs located in the Hudson River. These oysters would help clean the water and hopefully clean and bring life back to the river. You can visit the Billion Oyster Project at https://billionoysterproject.org
This summer I worked at Earth Matter, which is a composting center that manages Governors Island’s waste and educates visitors. Besides the compost piles, there are about 80 chickens, two baby goats, a bunny, and a garden. I spent some time maintaining the compost piles, but I also helped out managing the farm, taking care of the animals, and learning about organic waste and waste management in general. On Saturday’s, people would come visit Earth Matter and I played games with the children while teaching them about the importance of composting. A lot of parents had questions too so I was able to share everything I had learned. Earth Matter works with the Billion Oyster Project, which gathers shells from restaurants that would otherwise be thrown away, and regrows oysters in them to return to the harbor to clean the water. I collected the used oyster shells from the restaurants on the island, washed them off, and left them to dry. I had to sort the garbage from the island because people would always put things in the compost that didn’t belong in it like aluminum, plastics, and the occasional diaper. Because of that I’m very conscious of where I’m putting my garbage and I’ve tried to make other people conscious of it too. My time there was a lot of physical work but I still got to learn a lot more about composting, plants, and animals, and I enjoyed getting my hands dirty for a cause I really believe in.
This summer I spent three weeks living on a boat in the British Virgin Islands. While I was there, I learned about sea turtles and how nearly all species of sea turtle are classified as endangered because they are slaughtered for their eggs, meat, ski, and shells, and suffer from poaching and over-exploitation. They also face habitat destruction and accidental capture in fishing gear. Almost every day while I was in the Caribbean, I, along with experts, would jump off the boat and snorkel until I saw a turtle down below. I then would free dive down to the turtle and attempt to grab it by its shell and onto a dingy waiting above. We then would bring it onto the main boat and tag it, take measurements, and then release it back into the sea. Tagging these turtles is important to monitor the changes that the species as a whole will experience. One of the turtles we caught had been previously tagged and we were able to see that it had traveled all the way from Haiti.
This past summer I went on a service trip to the Galapagos Islands, but also spent a few days in Ecuador immersing oursleves in the city’s culture and daily routines. Primarily throughout this trip we focused on climate conservation and contributing what we could to missions devoted to helping endangered animals. In a group of 20 students, coming together from places all around America, we traveled between many of the Galapagos Islands: Santa Cruz, Isabella, San Cristobal, and Baltra. While we were in Isabella, our group worked with a few locals, Gustavo and Angel, clearing our enclosures for the endangered tourtise. For 3 days, we worked for around 5 hours uprooting weeds and harmful plants to the tourtise. Once we had successfully cleared the plants from those enclosures, we began work on the top of a hill cutting down bigger trees. We were clearing these trees so we were able to plant trees that would better contribute to the environment. Afer Isabella, we went to San Cristobal and worked to fix up a school for a day. While we were there we painted and cleaned their entire school, and we able to spend some times with the children. This experience was very heart warming for me because were only 7 children in the entire school, and they have very simple days. So being there and seeing them enjoy them selves just by playing a soccer game for example, was very rewarding.
During the month of July, I worked four days a week at the Hunter school, teaching kids aged eight to nine years old. They had three classes each day, including science, writing, and art. As a student aide, my job was to guide students through what they were learning, encourage them, and supervise them, all while maintaining a positive, yet stern atmosphere that prevents the kids from messing around all day (which is by any means, not very easy). Continue reading
This past summer I had the amazing opportunity of volunteering with the Mitzvah Corps. I went on a three and a half week trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos with 15 other kids my age. For over two weeks we stayed in a small village in Ecuador called Chilcapamba. We housed with a family of the community that was very welcoming. While we stayed there, everyday during the week we would hike over a mile to their work site. There we were helping them with their water supply. Since the village was on different levels, the water at the top of the village was having a hard time getting to the bottom of the village. We helped them by digging for hours every day to put new pipes into the ground for water. Once the pipes were placed, we then had to work to cover them up. The work was tiring, but it also felt very rewarding. We were working right along side members of the community, digging trenches with hour shovels and hoes. Our work made an impact on the community by helping families get water faster and I feel grateful that I was able tohelp make a difference.