This summer, I was part of the Boys Varsity Soccer Team’s trip to Tobago. The trip was a bonding experience at heart, doing so while traveling the island, playing local soccer teams, and engaging in meaningful service. The service we did on the trip was through Kleats for Kids, an organization that I lead. My organization delivers soccer equipment, primarily cleats, to underprivileged children across the world. For this trip, I helped facilitate the gathering of over 100 pairs of cleats, which we carried with us to Tobago. Once there, we led a few clinics for local children, one for kids from the former high school of our coaches and the other for kids from their former soccer academy. After each clinic, we distributed the cleats, along with other gear like jerseys, shinguards, and goalie gloves. Seeing the joy and appreciation on the faces of the young kids was highly fulfilling. Overall, the trip was an incredible experience, made much more special by this great service that we partook in.
For the YPI project, my group chose to research the social issue of immigrants and their immersion into a new city and culture. When immigrants come to New York City, it is very hard for them to acclimate to the society and support themselves and their families. They often struggle to find jobs and to pay for housing and an education for their children. Additionally, they also struggle with the new language and their lack of connections in the city. We chose to address this social issue by researching a non-profit organization called Hot Bread Kitchen. Hot Bread Kitchen is a business that provides immigrant women job training and teaches them skills that they need to strive in the culinary industry. Additionally, the give independent baking companies, mostly companies of immigrants, that need support, the resources that they need to get kick-started. Along with baking instruction, they give the women English lessons and provide them with many essential public resources like housing and child care.
Over the course of the project, I came to understand the hardships that immigrants endure when arriving to new places, especially one as big as New York City. I previously did not understand how hard it is to adjust and thrive in a new city, but learning about the problems immigrants face and talking to some about these problems changed my previous perception. Actually seeing the women work and succeed in the kitchen was very rewarding to me, as I realized what great work Hot Break Kitchen does. Also, I realized how far simply giving a job to people who have struggled to find one can truly go. I also improved my communication skills, as I was in constant communication with Hot Bread Kitchen, coordinating our site visit. As I live near the Hot Bread Kitchen headquarters, I hope to continue to visit their headquarters and buy their bread in the future.