Ben’s Summer Service with New York Theatre Ballet

This summer I helped out at my ballet school’s ballet camp for younger students. In the camp, children learned ballet and other forms of dance (such as jazz) and also worked on a group choreography with costumes and music. They also went on several field trips to museums and shows, getting inspired by the art there.

While I have helped out at this camp every summer since 8th grade, this year was special because I was asked especially to work with a young boy who was new to ballet. His family had recently moved out of a homeless shelter, and the director of the program asked me to help him adapt and feel comfortable in this new environment. Over the course of the camp, he became very attached to me, boasting to the other kids that he was in my group for field trips and even once refusing to go on a trip unless I chaperoned.

Meeting and becoming a mentor to this boy was a really touching experience. I was able to be a teacher and role model for him while also being a friend. I felt like I was able to truly make a positive difference in the life of somebody who has lost a lot.

Ben’s Service Reflection

Over the summer, I volunteered with New York Theatre Ballet to create an advertisement video for the company’s nonprofit outreach program. The program is called LIFT, and it finds at-risk children in New York and gives them free classes, tutoring, supplies for school and home, and anything else they might need. Not only was the experience different from what I normally do over the summer with NYTB (I typically assist classes) but it also allowed me to feel involved with the community of the city. Editing the video was fun for me, and it also gave me the chance to help children gain opportunities. Several of my friends from NYTB came from the LIFT program, which made the experience all the more personal and special. The volunteering was incredibly special and a fun, interesting, and morally amazing opportunity.

Ben’s Volunteering at a Ballet Camp

This past summer I helped out at my 9-year-old sister’s ballet camp. Since I go to the ballet school during the school year, the teacher knows me and trusts me with teaching anybody who needed help. I helped some kids with choreographing solos and others with simply learning new steps and polishing technique. It was a gratifying experience to be able to see how my work at the camp improved the childrens’ work, and it was also fun to do.

Benjamin’s YPI Experience with POTS

My YPI project was on the issue of hunger, with Part of the Solution, or POTS, as my group’s nonprofit organization. During our research, we learned that one out of five people in New York City is food insecure. This level of hunger in our community was shocking to us, which is why we focused on hunger.

POTS, a Bronx based nonprofit, help food insecure families and individuals in many ways, such as a food pantry, a dining area, showers, laundry, mail, a medical and dental clinic, and a legal clinic. POTS is not just an average nonprofit in a rundown building – their building is modern, clean, and all its space is put to good use. The reason for this is to help food insecure children retain their esteem; many children receiving free food can tell no difference between POTS and a grocery store or restaurant.

In our interview with Jack Marth, the director of programs at POTS, we learned about how POTS did all they could to not only help food insecure people, but to help them break the hunger cycle. He showed us how their food credits made sure that when receiving food from the pantry, clients would have to receive a healthy, well balanced supply of food.

One of the most challenging parts of this project was our presentation. It was hard to coordinate rehearsal times with our group members’ busy schedules, and of course memorizing a script is never an easy task. Despite this hardship, the project really enlightened me to how prominent of an issue hunger is in our society. Despite being one of the economic and cultural capitals of the world, New York City still has these problems, and I would like to help fix this.

I have included some pictures of POTS and our site visit below.
POTS Kitchen
POTS Outside

Benjamin Levine’s Summer Service

This summer I helped out at my 8-year-old sister’s ballet camp. Since I go to the ballet school during the school year, the teacher knows me and trusts me with teaching anybody who needed help. Some kids I had to help with their choreography. One wanted to be a swan playing tag, but she didn’t know what to do. I helped her create moves. Another said that his mom had told him to bow while bending his knees (which is a curtesy). I had to convince him that he shouldn’t do that. The boy also insisted that he was always right, and he became violent at times. It was definitely a learning and character building experience to make him stop. Although I eventually succeeded, I now sympathize with teachers a lot more.

It was extremely gratifying to be able to see that I had made a difference. I’ve always liked little kids because they are so cute, and it was very fun to to teach them. I was also assigned a group to watch during field trips. My two kids decided that we were the “strawberry pineapple chocolate whipped-creams” and declared me as their leader. They would ask to hold my hands and we would make up the best desserts possible with our 4 foods. To see that I had done something that made others so happy made me happy. It was an extremely fun and interesting experience.