This summer I did a community service program with The Road Less Traveled, called Call of the Wild. The program that I chose worked with an organization called Mission: Wolf, which is based in Colorado near a town called Westcliffe. Mission: Wolf is a wolf sanctuary that helps to rescue and house wolves, wolfdogs, and horses and provide a safe environment for them for the rest of their lives. This is due to if the wolves or wolfdogs were released back into the wild, they would most likely be killed by humans who are afraid of them. During my time there, my group was able to interact with the wolves on a personal level and help the staff and other volunteers there with tasks which that would benefit the wolves directly and indirectly. Some of the work that we did there was to help feed the wolves, which involved throwing bits of meat into the enclosures as well as to help process a horse, which was donated by its owner as food. The sanctuary has such a great reputation and relationship with the surrounding towns, that many restaurants will donate vegetable oil to help power the sanctuary’s vehicles, and local farmers or horse owners will donate their animals or surplus meat/game to help feed the wolves, which require an extensive amount of meat. Another task which we performed which helped the wolves indirectly, was we helped to build a cabin for a volunteer who was going to become a permanent resident and staff member of the sanctuary. This involved filling and carrying buckets of sand and gravel up the hill to where the cabin was being built, mixing and loading buckets of cement, and pouring and shaping the cement to help fill in the floor. After we completed our part of the cabin, we also helped to expand one of the wolf enclosures by working on the fencing. We helped by bringing hundreds of yards of fence up the side of the hill and hogringing the fence together to form a ground mesh and top mesh so the wolves could not dig under or jump over the pre-existing fence. We also helped to replace one of the old wolf fences with a new cow fence to help keep out cows, which are allowed to roam freely in Colorado and can cost the sanctuary thousands of dollars by destroying property. One of the last things we did at the sanctuary was take a class on Pet and Animal CPR, which we then became certified in after performing drills and routines on a practice dog (shown below).
This experience was really eye opening to me to see how many people decided to leave the modern world of technology and the “rat race of life” as they called it to help out with animals. The entire time we were there we slept in tents, made our own food, and showered sparingly, which mirrored the volunteers own lifestyles. This not only opened my eyes to a new lifestyle but as well as to the new people who I met on the trip. Another aspect which changed my life was working and interacting with the wolves themselves and learning about the impact that they have on people and the environment and how one species can play such an important role in the world.
This summer I volunteered for three different organizations: East Hampton Public Library, Amaryllis Farm Equine Rescue, and helped participate in Quilts for Pulse.
Every year I help volunteer at the libraries annual Children’s Book Fair. This year I worked at different booths at the fair helping children chalk dye their hair as well as apply temporary tattoos. After the fair ended, I helped take down all of the furniture and clean up underneath the giant tent, since the fair is held outdoors. I also volunteered at the library itself, helping to shelve books and organize the YA section of the library.
This summer I also volunteered for a couple of days at a horse rescue out on long island, that also housed pigs, goats, chickens, and rabbits for the first time. There I was one of the older volunteers so I had to help with harder jobs such as clearing trees out of paddocks, watering the trees, and refilling the dozens of fly traps around the property. The farm houses more than 40 horses along with the other animals, although there are not many volunteers there to help out with the animals.
My friend, Miraya, and I also helped participate in the Modern Quilt Guild’s Quilts for Pulse Drive by designing and making a heart quilt for the survivors of the Orlando shooting. Together over a series of days we designed and sewed together a full quilt top which will be given to someone in Orlando.
This year I definitely felt more involved in the community, both in the city and Long Island. I felt I was given more responsibility at the places where I had volunteered before, as well as given a view into organizations that weren’t as popular and really needed more attention. This summer really helped to expand my view and give me a better sense of understanding at the community.
This August I volunteered for my second time at the East Hampton Public Library‘s annual children’s fair. East Hampton Public Library hosts this book fair for the town to come together as a community and celebrate a number of authors and help support the public library. This fair brings members of the community of all ages together, wether people are attending, hosting, or volunteering to help make the day special. Apart from hosting a day of fun, the fair helps advertise local businesses that show their products, as well as show appreciation for the local law enforcement, such as the fire and police departments.
When I volunteered this year, it was one of the more memorable times I’ve had at the fair because I was able to volunteer with some of my other classmates. I not only worked but got to get to know some of the people who I worked with better than I had before. This was a great experience because you don’t only get the sense that you are helping to benefit the community you live in, but also have fun while doing so.
This year the ninth grade participated in the Youth Project Initiative in history class. The project is for young students to research a social issue and find a non-profit organization that they would like to support. It would be a competition between the groups in the grade for a chance at one of three grants that would go towards their organization. On service day, eight of 16 groups would present in front of a panel of judges as well as the entire grade in hopes of winning a grant.
For our YPI project, my group chose to support suicide prevention for our social issue and our organization was The Samaritans of NYC. They’re mission was to help prevent suicide in New York through a hotline that was available 24/7. Through this project our team had to make a website and a presentation to introduce others to our topic and make them more aware of the issue at hand. Over the course of this project we have all worked together to try and use the best of our abilities. Unfortunately, we did not make it to the finals to present our presentation in front of the judges or the grade. However, we did get to see other people present their projects and show off all of their hard work. This service day was truly memorable, because the entire grade participated even if they didn’t get to present, as some people were judges and everyone was given the opportunity to vote.
This project was somewhat challenging as we couldn’t really connect with our group on any deep personal levels. Also, we didn’t have any statistics or special facts or experiences about our organization as everything was anonymous or confidential. That made it difficult to feel a connection to our organization or those who are helped or have come to the organization searching for help. Our group had to have our site visit in the library at school because or organization’s location is private. Another challenging aspect of the project was that these organizations that we’re all working with are very busy, which made it very hard to schedule. Although, this project did help me develop my patience and a better understanding of the outside world and just how big it is. Overall I loved working on this project as it really opened my eyes!
This summer, I volunteered at the East Hampton Public Library. The East Hampton Library’s purpose is to provide information, knowledge and reading needs for the community of East Hampton and to help maintain the Long Island Collection for historical research . The library is home to over hundreds of books with a large range of genres. At the library, I shelved, shifted, and labeled books as well as adopt the young adult section to take care of while I worked there. I also volunteered to help with the library’s annual children’s book fair, where the entire community comes and attends. There I helped run the booths and the outside attractions. I also helped my fellow volunteers by getting them food and drink or taking over when they got tired. The East Hampton Library is a place where it brings together the community in a sense of learning.
I loved working both at the fair and at the library. This experience helped to give me more of an understanding of community before I volunteered. It showed me how everyone can come together to help build something great, while expecting nothing in return. The library receives volunteers to help manage everything, both children and adults. It is a place where people of all ages can come and learn. To me it also represents a sort of history and family, where children will come to the library to learn or read and someday their children and their grandchildren can come to the library. I found this experience really gratifying and hope to make a tradition of volunteering there.