At the begin of this summer I did a one week fellowship with the Robin Hood Foundation. Each day focused on a different poverty-related issue and organizations Robin Hood works with to combat that specific issue. The last day I did a presentation on alternatives to incarceration and what we learned at the Center for Court Innovation at the Red Hook Community Justice Center. This incredible opportunity segwayed perfectly into my five week long internship with the GO Project. The GO Project happens to be one of the organizations Robin Hood helps to fund, so after seeing the bigger picture and where much of the money comes from I was able to dive into the important work being done on the ground level. I worked with rising second grade students from under resourced schools and low income families, who were at risk of being held back because they were so far behind grade level. Everyday we worked on guided readings, math story problems, writing prompts, and played games together. I developed a deep bond with each student as I learned how their minds worked, how best they learned, and what external factors and obstacles affected their academic performance. For an hour each day the interns gathered to discuss problems in our classrooms and to analyze the serious issues and crippling inequity in the American education system. The education system in America is seriously flawed and little is being done to mend it, this was one of the first times I felt like I was making a direct ground level impact, while also thinking about the larger situation.
Lastly, I traveled to Tobago with the Friends soccer teams, where we held a soccer clinic and distributed gear, such as cleats, shin guards, ball, and tee shirts, to the local children. It was an incredible way to finish off a great summer of service.