This summer I volunteered at a summer school for a day where I was able to be a stand-in teacher and lead a class. I began by teaching similes and metaphors to the young students where I explained several examples from their textbooks. After the students felt comfortable I had them to do sample questions on their own. Then I spoke to them about current events and had the students write a short piece about a topic of their choice. Lastly, I had the students write a story with the prompt, “I opened the door and,” After a lunch break I returned and proceeded to go over variables in math with students and had them write a brief essay. I enjoyed a day of teaching students in summer school as I gained experience as an educator.
This year on Service Day I was able to go and volunteer at the Community Kitchen of West Harlem. We were able to go help stack up and hand out food to people in need as they shopped at the kitchen. We put all the cans and food up to make a supermarket for people to come and pick things up that they needed. They were able to shop with a point system and my classmates and I guided them throughout the kitchen. All the people I helped seemed happy and seemed to be thankful that I was helping them out. I really enjoyed talking to the people getting food and helping them find what they need.
I volunteered at an Earth Matters service event on Governor’s island. On the island we helped plant seeds that will grow this summer, played with animals, learned about bees, and were taught about composting. I thought the day would simply be long and tedious, but as the day progressed I found myself enjoying it learning a lot about nature and how we have to take care of it. I learned how to plant in rows by hoeing dirt then making small holes and planting the seeds. We watered the seeds after hours of planting, and I felt good knowing that they will grow into fruits and vegetables for people to eat. During the process we had a short break where we learned a lot about bees and how they are transported to make honey, and I was surprised to find out how smart bees actually are. The people with Earth Matters who worked with us seemed to be very passionate about their job, and enjoyed every minute of their work. I enjoyed my work with Earth Matters, and hope to work with them again.
World History 1
May 8, 2015
Service Learning YPI Reflection
The social issue my group and I chose to research was Down syndrome, and our concern was of the discrimination against people with Down syndrome in New York City. During my research I discovered that there are 11,577 New Yorkers with Down syndrome, and less than 50 percent of them are actually receiving the proper help the need. I also learned that 90 percent of parents who find out their child will be born with Down syndrome abort their child. My group chose to advocate for the non-profit organization known as Gigi’s Playhouse, which provides a safe haven for people with Down syndrome to interact with each other. Gigi’s Playhouse has programs in which people with Down syndrome can come and play with other people with the same disorder. These programs include learning and physical activities to help with the cognitive and physical delays that result from Down Syndrome.
In addition to having programs for families with people with Down syndrome, Gigi’s Playhouse provides therapy services for people with Down syndrome, and parents who have just found out their child has been diagnosed with the disorder. Because I don’t have a personal connection to someone with Down syndrome, I may not feel the way families do, but I can still understand the plight of living with Down syndrome. I imagine the difficulty of being stereotyped on sight, and being presumed to be lacking intellect. After researching, I have a better view of people with Down syndrome, and hope that society changes to better serve the Down syndrome community instead of isolating them.
Through this project, I developed better public speaking techniques, as well as better researching techniques, as we had to improve on these skills to become better advocates for out non-profit. I procured a better understanding of the difficult lives for people in the Down Syndrome community, and hoped to change at least some lives in the community by raising awareness of the disorder. The most difficult aspect of the project was finding information on Down syndrome in the media, because the community is not recognized widely. Before 2013, there was a very scarce number of data and research for this disorder, which required more research to find helpful information. It did, however, feel very rewarding when we were able to attend the site and share our care for the disorder with a volunteer at Gigi’s Playhouse. I hope to someday visit and assist with some programs to help people with Down syndrome escape from the detriment of a society in which they are not recognized.