During the summer, I was able to volunteer at Javits Center to welcome His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama to New York City. Over a period of 4 days, two of those for preparations in the center, I met dozens of other Tibetan students (many of whom were older than me) and had the opportunity to connect with alot of them. The first two days of preparations were more focused on the labelling of seat numbers and distribution of the prayer books for the 15,000 people to come. With only around 200 volunteers, it did take a while to get the job done; however, once we finished the place was truly a sight to see. On the first day of the teachings (“Tenshug”), I was stationed inside the area where HHTDL was, and I put wristbands on the people leaving the building. My friend and I wristbanded a good 7,000 people during the lunch break. However, the next day I was stationed outside of the seated area, and was placed at the media table and the donation center. I collected and wrote receipts for donations made by Tibetan members of the community. At the media table, a volunteer and I handed out ID badges for the media groups that stopped by. By the end of the last day, a group of ten volunteers (including myself) sorted out thousands of ear and head pieces (used by people who needed translations for the teachings), which took around 2 hours. Throughout the four days, not only was I blessed to be able to volunteer and contribute to the Tibetan community that raised me from an early age, but also honored to meet hundreds of other unique, wonderful, and compassionate Tibetans I would have never gotten the chance to meet.
Over the summer I volunteered at my Tibetan school’s summer camp program. During that time, I was able to help teach young Tibetan students on Tibet’s rich culture and language.
One of the best things I was able to do while volunteering was to help teach the younger campers how to sing and dance a Tibetan zodiac dance. Not only did they perform the dance superbly, but they also learned how to say the 12 zodiac animals and what each animal does in Tibetan. I was able to play the music for this dance, and I’m still amazed by how quickly these campers learned the song and dance.
I was able to not only learn how to play the “piwang”, or better known as the Chinese “erhu”, but to also play the piwang for a final summer camp group song. Lastly I helped create (fake) instruments for the older campers’ dances, and Tibetan masks for the Lhamo (Tibetan opera). During this time, I was able to learn about the history of Tibetan arts, and how it has changed over time.
I was so thrilled to still be a part of my old summer camp, and to be able to learn more about my heritage while helping to teach others as well.
In November, 2013, a group of Friends students and families went to Central Park to run 4 miles. My friends and I wanted to get some service completed, but in a fun way. God’s Love We Deliver was holding a race/walk, and my friends and I were eager to take part in this race. When we arrived at the location, it was freezing!! Though it was extremely cold, we managed to get through the race. Running alongside friends made the race fun, despite the temperature. For 4 miles we ran, jogged, even walked to catch our breath. When we crossed the finish line, the feeling was amazing. I felt so accomplished that I had actually finished a race for charity. It was also quite amazing discovering that it was only 11 AM. Taking part in this race allowed me to share with friends and family about this organization and my amazing experience.