This summer I volunteered as a coach’s assistant at the Pier 40 baseball program. Each day I arrived around 10:30 and stayed until around 4:00. I worked with kids from kindergarten up to 5th grade. I helped out in the batting cage and on the field as well as doing things like taking kids to and from the bathroom. I also helped out with chores and cleanup around the training facility.
I have grown up playing baseball all my life, and when I was 6 years old, I attended pier 40 summer baseball camp for 1-3 weeks after school ended. This became a habit of mine and I would go to baseball camp for a week or two all the way until I was 14 years old. I had consistently gone with several other Friends Students that are also juniors and seniors. I have known many of the coaches since elementary school, an enjoyed feeling like one of them. It was remarkable the way the kids looked up to me. I found myself constantly thinking to myself, “that was me 10 years ago”.
This was a great experience for me because I felt like I was helping out the community. I have spent so many hours and hours at the training facility throughout my life, so nothing I did really felt like work. I have seen all of the hours that the coaches put in first hand, so it felt good to lighten their burden. Volunteering at the pier 40 baseball camp was a fantastic way for me to service my community, and something I will definitely continue for many years to come.
Last week I completed my final chemistry project. This year all of the final chemistry projects were focused on a particular aspect of the Flint Water Crisis. I learned so much from doing this project about both chemistry and the dangers of lead. This project was comprised of several assignments that were either research or lab based, and it culminated in a final project about an assigned topic. These presentations were open to parents, teachers, and other school faculty.
My assigned topic was the health effects of lead. Throughout the research process, I found myself feeling incredibly thankful that my tap water is perfectly safe to drink. I thought that I could have easily been impacted by this crisis if I had lived in Flint. The thing that struck me most about learning about the health impacts is that they were irreversible. The thing that makes me sympathize the most with the victims of lead poisoning is that they did nothing wrong. Many of the victims had no knowledge that the water in their faucets was dangerous. Unlike smokers, who know that smoking causes many deadly diseases, there was no warning that the water might be dangerous until the damage had already been done.
This project has taught me to be aware of things going on around the country even if they don’t have a direct impact on my life. I will continue to be informed about this issue and pay attention to its progression over the summer.
For my group’s YPI project, we chose to research the Carrera Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program which works to tackle the issue of teenage pregnancy. This project was initially challenging for my group which originally had difficulty deciding on a social issue. I think my group did struggle at first with working together, but by the end of the project, we had made some large improvements. Even though those improvements were great, I think that our groups team work might have been the thing that prevented us from even making it to the round of 8 on service day.
I learned quite a bit about teen pregnancy from doing this project. I personally had previously never met a teen mother, and I had no idea how rampant this issue was and continues to be throughout New York City and all of America. The neighborhoods that teen pregnancy rates are high in are not those that I usually visit, so when I saw some statistics, I was rather surprised. I enjoyed interviewing Dr. Carrera for my site visit, because he was very polite to us and never once made us feel as though we were wasting his time. I admire that his organization does not merely focus on sex education, but also helps children living in poverty have a better life. They do this by partnering with kids either in school or out of school and providing them with tutors, medical care, eye glasses(if necessary), dental care, and more. Hopefully Dr. Carrera and I will stay in touch and remain involved in this important social issue.