On February 8th, I went with a group of students from my statistics class to the 2016 HOPE count. HOPE (Homeless Outreach Population Estimate) is an annual survey of the critically homeless population in New York City. It takes place from about 12 am – 3 am. The survey takes place in the middle of the night in the middle of winter in order to estimate the amount of people in NYC that are inc chronically homeless. During the count, thousands of volunteers are sent to all different parts of New York City. In their specific areas, they are instructed to go up to any person they see and fill out a survey with questions such as “Do you have a place to sleep tonight?”, ultimately making the decision if they are homeless or not. The night we went was code blue, meaning it was an extremely cold night. On a night where it is code blue, volunteers are instructed to call 911 if they believe a homeless person does not have the proper clothing or protection from the cold. Before we began, we were given an orientation on the Do’s and Don’ts of the count. We were instructed not to approach anyone on private property. We were also told we cold not force anyone to get help from 911. We also could not begin counting until it was 12 am. My group was four people. We were assigned an area in Greenwich Village. Our streets were extremely empty. We talked to about six people, only one who identified as homeless. The man was sixty years old and extremely frustrated with the system. He told us that he was taken to a homeless shelter. There, he was beat up and had his I.D. stolen. Although he wanted help, he had to meet someone for some money. He decided it was best to try and get the money first and then to try to find us later. Unfortunately, we did not see him again that night. The HOPE survey was a very interesting experience. I really liked hearing the man’s experience with being homeless. It definitely made me think New York City still has a lot of work when it comes to helping the homeless population.
Over the summer, I volunteered at Lenox Hill Hospital. Although I had been doing this throughout the year, during the summer I was able to go multiple times a week and feel more apart of the community. I worked out of the volunteer office. I answered the phone and did errands. Some of the errands included delivering flowers, selling raffle tickets, assisting patients, transporting blood, and helping specific units in the hospital. I really enjoyed this experience because it allowed me to see the inner workings of a hospital. There are so many job opportunities and different positions in a hospital. Many faculty members refer to it as being its own city. I will continue working at Lenox Hill Hospital throughout this school year!
Over the summer, I volunteered with Lenox Hill Hospital on the Upper East Side. I was part of a high school summer program. I worked on the Intensive Care Unit visiting with patients throughout the floor. I was able to interact with patients and their families and help when they needed a hand or an errand. Not only was I able to help with patients, but I also got to help out with the organization of the unit. In the mornings, I would restock the floors with gloves and gowns and help the clerk on the unit. Through this experience, I was exposed to how a hospital worked and the endless professions within it. I enjoyed this experience because of the relationships I was able to build with not only the patients, but with the nurses and the other people that make up a hospital.
Every year at Friends, the school creates bags for Gods Love We Deliver. Gods Love We Deliver is an organization that delivers food to those who are too sick to cook or shop for themselves. As a way to show that there are people out there for them and to put a smile on their faces, Friends decorates bags that will be given to those involved with the organization. They receive the bags over the holidays and hopefully it brightens their day. Eighth period one day in December, my entire grade decorated bags. Everyone in school was involved and it really brought the community together. After the decorating was over, all the beautiful bags were hung on the ceiling of the meeting house. It looked very pretty and the tradition of the community decorating bags and then hanging them is something I really enjoy about Friends.
On April 19th, Friends hosted Big Fat Service Day. I worked from 10:30-2:30 on several different activities. In the morning, I made loom bracelets with a couple other students. The loom bracelets were donated to children in Nepal. It was nice to see so many different age groups working together. Since so many students, families, faculty, and alumni came to Big Fat Service Day, it really brought the community together. For lunch, everyone came together for hot dogs, chips, and soda. After lunch we made birthday boxes for God’s Love We Deliver. I really enjoyed Big Fat Service Day because of the varied activities and connection to community. I think Friends should host more events like this to bring the students together to help others in the NYC community!