Back in July, I volunteered for the Randy Abreu campaign for City Council, District 14. One of the main things that caught my interest about the campaign was about how it focused on progressivism and youth. Abreu was only 28, yet he had worked on the Obama campaign and gained the support of Bernie Sanders. The other people who were working the campaign were all college students, and it felt like a small yet tight-knight group of people. The high school volunteers came mostly from schools in the Bronx, and going to school in lower Manhattan, it was nice to have a sort of change of pace. Mostly, the volunteers went out to canvass, and seeing parts of neighborhood (Fordham Hill) I was not very accustomed to was very interesting, especially since I got to interact with a wide variety of people. It was fascinating to see which type of person supported Fernando Cabrera, the more conservative candidate, and who supporter Abreu. While Randy did not end up winning the election, he still did well for a new candidate, getting in second place with about 20 percent of the votes.
This summer I got to volunteer at Mount Sinai Queens. It was an honor to work there and I throughly enjoyed it. There were many components to my work there: I worked with equipment, I assisted the doctors, and I talked to the patients, which was my favorite part of the experience. I loved getting to know each of the patients because of their diversity. The hospital is located in Astoria, one of the most diverse neighborhoods in New York, and because of this, I got to meet people of all different different walks of life. Of course many of the people were elderly, and I loved hearing their stories about their life. I particularly liked hearing about the New York of old, given the constantly changing nature of the city.
For my out of school service requirement, I helped out at my old synagogue West End Synagogue(http://westendsynagogue.org). What I did was for Purim and Yom Kippur, I set up decorations and tables with games and food on them. The games were meant to entertain little kids who were not old enough to attend the proper service. I liked setting up the decorations because I could be creative in making them. While it was a big commitment, the experience was still fulfilling to me. Helping the little kids be entertained was difficult but rewarding. After all, I was once their age and similarly bored by when I had to go, so it felt nice being able to make the experience more entertaining for them. Also, some of my other duties like making decorations and giving out food made the experience more enjoyable for everyone of all ages, Finally, I had not been to West End Synagogue in a long time, and so it the service was a good opportunity to reconnect with the place and people I had not seen for a long time.
Our History service learning unit was dedicated to working with YPI(Youth Philanthropy Initiative). Our project was to find an NYC-based non-profit that deals with a social issue that we(we were split into groups) felt was important. My group’s social issue was domestic violence. The non profit we decided to help was Volunteers of America.
Before we visited VOA, we researched the issue of domestic violence.
In our research we found just how prominent this issues is in New York City. We also discovered the horrible repercussions of this issue. I felt that during this phase that my presentation skills improved and that I learned a lot about domestic violence.
After that, we went to VOA location in NYC. There we listened to a presentation about the work this organization did. We heard personal stories about the victims of domestic violence and how they overcame their horrible experience. We also learned how VOA helps these people. I thought it was a very eye-opening experience. I hope I can do more work for them in the future.