Throughout this past year I have been volunteering at the GO Project (http://www.goprojectnyc.org/) where I had been volunteering as a committed volunteer, and then a leader volunteer. For the first half of the school year I had been a committed volunteer. This meant that every Saturday I would go to the LREI school and be a TA/tutor for a class of 5th graders who either struggled in school, or needed a support system. I got assigned the class of 5B and quickly found relationships between the kids and the other volunteers. However, about half way through the leader volunteer needed to leave, so the GO Project asked me to step up and I did. Now in addition to the other duties, I spoke with the head staff about issues and strategies that could be used in the classroom. I am very very happy that I found the GO Project and will be returning next year.
For completing my service in 10th grade I had decided to work with Zani’s Furry Friends (http://zanisfurryfriends.org) a non-profit dedicated to help the lives and well-being of animals in New York city. I had started off my calling them and just asking what I could do. Since I was under the age-limit at the time I was not allowed to help take care of the animals so I suggested a possible supplies-drive. A middle-school club and I teamed up through Claire to collect blankets for the shelter. The middle school club completely surprised me as they collected around 25 blankets for the shelter which I dropped off and helped out at their central park-gathering.
I found that presenting was the hardest part of this project was the presentation. I feel quite uncomfortable talking in front of a group and found that being clear and concise was quite hard. My group was very good at presenting so I felt like I had to meet their skill. I also found creating the presentation to be difficult because it was hard to make a presentation that had to involve all that we learned into only a 10 minute presentation. My attitude toward my topic changed. I used to have some sort of stigma, thinking that mentally ill people were dangerous. But now I realize that people with mental illness are very similar to people without a mental illness, although they are not treated that way. I also found that the site visit was definitely the most rewarding. The facility was very well made and the people there were very happy. The people were working along side the staff members and you couldn’t tell who was who. The site visit had changed my look on mentally ill people.
Fountain House Logo, and Hyperlink:
Photo of our site visit: