Over the summer, I was given the opportunity to help out at an organization called GO Project, which basically is a summer school for low-income students receive better resources to learn more and enjoy themselves. I was only one out of many volunteers and my main jobs were to assist a martial arts elective class for first and second graders and to also help serve lunch to elementary school students.
This experience has enlightened me on how important it is to help out the youth in need. Many of those children were poor and couldn’t afford enough food to eat or to receive a better education. The GO Project offers educational classes in the morning and extracurricular classes in the afternoon. There were some children who also faced abuse in their families and were avoidant of any interaction. While assisting the martial arts class and serving lunch, I found that the children were very energetic and lovable. They easily attached to me once they saw that I didn’t mean any harm and they were super sweet towards me. However, they didn’t seem to like the criticism that the teachers or volunteers gave to them when they acted too rowdy, so it took some patience to calm them down and let them know what the right thing to do is. All in all, it was a very fulfilling experience to work with such young children for an extended period of time over the summer and to know how it feels like to take an authoritative position.
On Service Day, my advisory went to the Bronx Food Distribution Warehouse where we helped sort food for the day. We were given crates of donated supplies and we were put in charge of sorting all of those supplies into separate categories and we were also responsible for throwing away expired foods.
This experience have given me a sense of how kind people are in the world and how easily we can help others obtain a better life. There were crates and crates of donated supplies, which already showed me how generous some people are to help those in need. Many of those supplies were everyday grocery items like vegetables, cereal, grains, pet food and even baby supplies. Those items aren’t that expensive to purchase, but it helps out those who don’t have enough. We were given a statistic of how many people we helped that day just to sort those foods and it was somewhere in the hundreds and it made me feel pretty good that we were able to help so many people in just one day. It makes me wonder how many people could receive help if everyone does a service day once in a while.
I volunteered for NYC Cares through an organization called Breakthrough New York. What I did over the summer was, for three days, I would volunteer at a different site for four hours with NYC Cares. I entertained elderly by playing Bingo with them for one of the days. Then, I helped decorate a local library for another day. I also worked at a food pantry. Over the course of the summer, I was able to see the joy in helping others out. The elderly was overjoyed that someone came to visit and you could see it in their faces. The librarians and the people working at the food pantry were also appreciative of what we were doing.
My group’s social issue is teenage runaways. The organization that we chose is Safe Horizon. Safe Horizon helps provide teen runaways with daily necessities like warm meals, warm showers and shelter. Before working on this project, I never really saw or noticed any runaways. So, teen runaways never had an impact on me since I didn’t know how they suffered. Now, I know that many of them had been abused, causing them to run away and that once they did so, their lives became increasingly difficult without shelter, or a proper education. During this project, I developed presentation skills, like speaking more clearly and slowly and not looking at the presentation when speaking. The most challenging part was also the presentation because I was very nervous when speaking. I found that visiting the site was the most rewarding because I saw how Safe Horizon made a difference and how happy the runaways were. To remain engaged, with my organization, I might consider volunteering for them from time to time.