On service day, our grade volunteered at Food Bank For New York City, in the Bronx. We started by watching a video about the organization in which we learned their mission and heard testimonies from people who were helped. During our time at the warehouse, we helped sort materials and repackage them. This semester, i’ve been taking Poverty in the US, and it was nice , service day aligned with areas I was learning about and passionate about. After completing our tasks, we were told that our work would help over 2000 families in the NYC area. The numbers hit home since hunger isn’t always an issue we see around. With just a couple hours of work, we were able to give back to people in our immediate community (NYC), all the while bonding with each other. I enjoy being a part of a community where service is mandatory because I feel as though it is a responsibility to help those that are less fortunate.
This year, I volunteered at “Power Play” which is an organization aimed at involving girls in sports and building their sense of empowerment. For one of their events, a “Girl Power Day”, I made posters to build excitement and encourage positivity among the girls. Through finding inspirational quotes and role models for the posters I realized the lack of positivity around women and how important it is to have young girls see and become strong women in their lives.
I’m really passionate about building this self-worth among young girls, especially those in lower income communities where it can be hard to find empowering activities- which the organization targets.
The social issue of a failing schools in New York City was never something that stood out to me. When we were looking for social issues to do a Youth Philanthropy Initiative presentation on, the issue of our city’s and nation’s failing education system wasn’t something that we overlooked. However, during the project, the issues importance and call for action grew apparent and a need for awareness and change was something that I grew passionate about. My group chose the organization “City Squash” in which students are enrolled in grades 3 and 7 where they then work on academics and squash. Going to the non-profit and seeing first-hand, the work that was being done with the students, on and off the courts was most rewarding. While at the headquarters, Alexandra, the head of programs, informed us of opportunities that were available if we continued our relations with the program. Our help could go as far as helping 3rd graders to filing paperwork in the office.
Being that the YPI project was a group project, some of the challenges that I faced was working with people. Understanding others and their definitions of “work ethic” at times proved to be difficult and required a high level of patience and self control. However, overcoming this challenge demonstrated that I was able to gain new communication skills, problem solving abilities, and understanding the needs and desires of other people. This project left me conscious of the opportunities that I am blessed to have such as a quality education, and aware of the misfortune other people within my own city deal with.