This year, for some of my service credit, I helped a master’s student with her thesis by transcribing interviews between mothers and daughters. As her thesis for an MFA program, a friend of mine was using interviews to explore the relationship between mothers, daughters, and grandmothers and write a series of ten short narrative non-fiction stories. Each interview was about an hour long, and each had to be transcribed exactly, including mispronunciations and colloquialisms that aren’t usually written down. There were eleven interviews overall. Since each took about two and a half hours to transcribe, my friend certainly needed any help she could get! I especially liked this service experience because I got to see how different people’s stories could be preserved through someone else’s art, and how writing can connect members of a community together.
This year for service day, part of the senior class worked with an organization called Afya to sort donated medical supplies. Afya takes the donated supplies and creates customized packages that are sent to medical centers worldwide. Of course, it was inspiring to see just how much Afya helps communities and hospitals in need, but I particularly appreciated both how Afya prevented supplies from going to waste and how they only sent supplies according to individual hospitals’ need. I often feel like aid organizations just send whatever they can in the largest quantities possible, which, though still helpful, leads to desperately needed supplies going to waste. I thought that Afya’s approach of asking each hospital what it needs and then giving it exactly that was a way of ensuring that the donated supplies benefit the hospitals as much as possible. I also liked that the personalization of each Afya shipment reinforced that each country, hospital, and doctor is different and that they should not be thought of as one large group of identically under-equipped people. When I was at Afya and was helping to sort supplies, it seemed like we were sending help to people rather than just sending help. I hope I have a chance to work with Afya in the future, and I’m so glad I got to learn about the organization!
For some of my service hours this year, I ran in and organized the FS team for the Susan G. Komen Run for the Cure in early September (http://www.komennyc.org/). It has been a tradition for the Varsity Women’s soccer team to run in this race every year because it falls just before the start of our season and is a great bonding experience. I was happy to carry on the tradition of entering a team into the race and to be involved with such an incredible event. The Susan G. Komen Run for the Cure is one of the biggest charity walks/runs in the world and raises a considerable amount of money for cancer research and for outreach and support programs. One of the best parts of running in this race was seeing just how many people cared about the cause and wanted to help out. It was touching both to see people running in support of family members or friends who suffered from breast cancer and to see people running just to support the charity as a whole. I will definitely run in the race again next year!