This summer I served as an Intern for Congresswoman Maloney’s office on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC for the second year in a row. Congresswoman Maloney represents the 12th District of New York, which entails Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. Friends Seminary is in Congresswoman Maloney’s district.
My list of responsibilities grew this year as a result of it being my second year. Not only was I tasked with roles that directly benefited my community (answering phone calls from constituents, reading and responding to letters from constituents, delivering packages intended for my community), I was asked to attend hearings and write memo’s describing what I saw. I also was tasked with sitting at the front desk and speaking with members of the community who would travel all the way to D.C with concerns and questions.
My work on Capitol Hill has been a life changing and eye-opening experience. Not only have I been able to support my community, but I participated in work I loved.
On service day my advisory and I went to the Food Bank NYC’s warehouse in the Bronx. Our task was to package certain items (beverages, snacks, cleaning material, etc…) in separate boxes and label them. We did this for well over an hour and a half, and the material that we packed would have fed over 2,000 families.
After leaving, one question that lingered in my mind was: How do they have the manpower to do that all day? It was a very time consuming and rigorous task, and I was honored that the people working there decided to make it their full time job, as they are actively helping people in need of assistance. After this experience, I definitely want to remain engaged with this organization, and I have made it a goal for myself to waste less food. I also believe service is a responsibility rather than a call. It is a responsibility because we (students @ Friends) have a much easier and more privileged life than many other people, and by participating in service, we get to give back and hopefully make a difference.
This summer I was an Intern for Congresswoman Maloney’s office on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Congresswoman Maloney represents the 12th District of New York, which entails Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. I actually learned that Friends Seminary is in Congresswoman Maloney’s district.
As an Intern, I had a variety of jobs/tasks I had to complete. I would work the phones, answering calls from constituents in the community, staff members from other congressional offices, or even the Congresswoman herself. When I was answering calls from constituents, I ended up developing a real sense of pride, because I was helping members of my community with their issues. I also would write letters back to constituents who had written in, in the voice of the Congresswoman. Since I had to research the topics that the constituents wrote in about, I learned a great deal about topics I would have never thought I would learn about. I wrote letters about the banning of Shark Finning, the ending of the Yulin Dog Festival, Funding of Military Bands and a variety of random subjects.
I also worked on projects for the Congresswoman, mostly consisting of working of trying to pass the ERA, or Equal Rights Act. Since the Congresswoman is the sponsor of H.J.Res 52, or the Equal Rights Act, she was working her hardest to get members of congress- Republican and Democrat- to sign the bill. The Interns jobs were to call the offices of other members who had not signed, and try to find the correct staffer to talk to. We also were tasked with finding inequalities in men and women’s pricing and putting it in a spreadsheet for her. I was the only intern whom the Congresswoman brought aside and she told me that my work really impressed her.
Overall, I had a fantastic experience this summer, in which I learned what it was like to work in an office and also be able to help my community at the same time.
For my inschool service this year, I volunteered at Tamid, the Downtown Synagogue as a part of their DHAP program, or Downtown Teen Hunger Action Project. ( Link) DHAP is a program for youths in NYC to make a difference and feed the homeless. We first began with a Guest speak from the community who has done considerable community service, and they would tell us what they did, and how their service has made a difference in their life. I distinctly remember one man talk about how he would watch over Homeless people in a shelter to make sure they were safe and comfortable, and how he would also give them food and water. After the guest speakers, we prepared meal bags and another bag full of other necessities. The meal bags would have sandwiches, water, and an assortment of snacks. The other bags would have soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes and socks. After we were done packing these bags, we would spend around two hours walking around New York City looking for homeless people to give these bags too. If at the end of these two hours (and very often we went longer searching for people) we still had bags, we would donate what was in them to a homeless shelter.
This whole experience was very rewarding and fulfilling experience for me. I felt as if was doing something really positive for others, because the people who received these bags were always extremely happy once they got them.
For my YPI, or Youth Philanthropy Initiative, my group and I researched, visited and presented about the Non for Profit CitySquash, which provides tutoring and competitive squash to students from failing schools in New York City. We wanted to research the social issue of Failing Schools in New York City, while also incorporating a sport element into our research. After finding multiple Non-profits, we decided on CitySquash. Before our research into CitySquash, I never realized how privileged I am to go to this school and to be able to receive such a quality education. CitySquash teaches these kids important life lessons and morals, while along with winning competitive Urban Squash championships. After these students joined CitySquash, their average grade point average was raised to 84 percent. Also, as of me writing this reflection, 52 students from the program had been accepted into private independent high-schools.
During our site visit, we met with Alexandra Boillot (Pictured down below). She gave us a whole overview about how they run their organization, how they make sure the students are maintaining good grades by checking in on them with their parents and their teachers, and how they stick with the members in the program all throughout their middle school and high school careers, and even throughout college. And once the members are in college, CitySquash helps them find jobs and internships in professions they want to specialize in. After our talk with her, we all walked over to Fordham university to see the kids in action. When we arrived in the courts, the kids were already playing intense matches of squash. This whole experience was very informative and humbling, and I was moved by learning of and being involved with CitySquash.