On service day this year the senior class listened to presentations given by ninth graders at Friends for the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative. The students delivered their presentations with enthusiasm and were very knowledgeable about the nonprofits they represented. They were articulate and thoughtful when answering questions at the end. I enjoyed learning about the different social issues addressed by the organizations. Overall, it was a great experience.
A meaningful service experience I have had this year is peer tutoring. Peer tutoring is a wonderful program at Friends and really allows students to connect with each other and help each other. I have also peer tutored in previous years, and found it to be highly rewarding. It is amazing to see students make great progress in areas which they struggle, and gain confidence in their abilities. Being at peer tutor at Friends has taught me a lot about teaching and communicating with others, and through my service I have learned strategies about how to make tutoring sessions more successful. It is amazing to see students grow, and I am excited to keep working with students in program in the future. I would definitely recommend other students to get involved in the program so that it can grow.
Over the summer, I volunteered at the East Hampton Library children’s book fair. The East Hampton library is home to a wide selection of books available to all members of the community, and is also a place that facilities children’s learning and reading skills. The children’s book fair is a wonderful initiative organized by the library. The fair includes rides and games, a book fair, children’s book author signings, a raffle with great prizes, and arts and crafts, as well as musical performances and entertainments.
At the fair, I helped kids with arts and crafts, decorating bags, hats, boxes and masks. I also worked behind various game booths where kids were able to play and win prizes. Participating in this service opportunity was a very rewarding experience. The amount of people that showed up to support their local library was astounding, and very wonderful to see. People and families from all over the area came together in this community event. Lots of children were running around, smiling, eating, and having fun. Kids laughed when they won games and exclaimed when they got to the top of the rock wall. I am so glad I volunteered with the East Hampton Library, because I was able to participate in helping out with such a special and important cause.
In the Youth and Philanthropy initiative, my group members and I chose to focus on the issue of hunger in the NYC community. After doing some research, we learned that in New York City, one out of every four children is hungry, and one out of every five people is food insecure.
Researching the short term and the long term impacts of hunger, I learned that not getting the proper amount of nutrition everyday can have many large consequences. Some of these consequences include students not being able to concentrate in school without a proper breakfast, lack of growth and cognitive development among children elderly people having more pronounced symptoms of heart disease and diabetes, and mothers experiencing prenatal birth due to lack of food.
For these reasons, along with many others, our group wanted to reach out to an organization that would help people in need of food and other resources. We chose Part of the Solution, (POTS) a non-profit organization located in the Bronx. POTS is committed to doing whatever they can to make sure people in surrounding neighborhoods get enough to eat. POTS also provides mail services, shower facilities, a legal clinic, and bag lunches for people who need to bring to lunch to work.
During our site visit, we interviewed Jack Marth, the director of programs at POTS. He spoke to us about the many ways that POTS uses its resources to helps people in the Bronx community. One of the things Jack spoke about which really stood out to me was the concept of the food pantry at POTS. The food pantry provides fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as other healthy food options for families in need. The food pantry is designed in a way that allows children and families to feel as though they are shopping in a grocery store.
After completing the YPI project, which included touring POTS, speaking with Jack and doing research on the topic of hunger, I now have a much greater knowledge of what a prominent issue hunger is in New York City, as well as across the country. POTS is a unique organization dedicated to fighting hunger and poverty in the Bronx community, and I hope to continue working with them in the future.