This summer I volunteered as a camp counselor at the Fun and Friends Camp. This camp was dedicated to spreading cultural awareness to children of color. The story of how the camp was started was inspiring. The camp leader, Patrick Cox, has an adopted daughter named Isabella. He found that she was one of the only black children in her school and wanted to create a place where she could interact with other children whom were both physically and culturally alike; thus Fun and Friends was created. There were approximately 40 kids ranging from ages 5-12. It was incredibly fun watching over the kids, wether that meant playing with them or giving them a hug if they became homesick. I was designated to find videos for the voting period of the day, where the kids would watch a video and vote on their favorite one. They all seemed fascinated by children in their age range doing things as incredible as the kids in the videos. We also had a steel drummer, movie director, author and many other incredibly role models come and educate the children on their profession. It was an incredible three weeks working with lovely children and ultimately building a strong, loving community for people of color.
This summer I volunteered at the Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation. It is a wonderful center that helps people overcome their housing problems. I have heard the stories of people that are struggling to maintain their housing finances, and have received helped from the advisors at Cypress. However, there was a lot of work to be done without a sufficient amount of people to finish the tasks. I volunteered with my sister. We helped organize files, take phone calls, and log information on a computer. The work environment itself was very friendly and welcoming. I am glad to be apart of something that helps the community and will continue to volunteer throughout high school.
For my teams YPI project we decided to bring attention to the issue of homelessness. At first I found it difficult to enjoy the finding information and even found myself wanting to change the subject. Then as my group and I started going into depth with the issue we all started to gain a sense of awareness of those serious our issue was. Once we went to visit our site, I was amazed to see that they are located inside of an elementary school. Seeing all the men in the building smile and focus on work, I found it hard to believe that they were once homeless. Having now finished the YPI project, I leave with views on homelessness. I now realize how much of a problem homelessness is in NY. However, it makes me happy to realize that despite this issue being a big problem, there are wonderful organization such as The Doe Fund that can help individuals that need help. Not only do they gain a shelter at the Doe Fund p,but they gain a sense of independence which I consider to be a very beautiful thing. All in all I hope that other people will check out how important the Doe Fund is and am glad I could participate in the YPI project.