In November, I participated in the Friends Seminary Open Day after school. I was placed in the performing arts booth because of my engagement with performing arts activities at school, and my job, along with all the others participating, was to give information on that particular aspect of Friends to prospective students. One by one, students interested in our area of study came up to our table to ask questions about the programs and classes Friends offered. It was so wonderful to meet students interested in the same things as the other kids at my booth and me. We told the students who came to our booth about the different opportunities students had in participating in this field at school, from classes to extracurricular activities like the plays and the musicals. Everyone who came to the performing arts table was interested in similar things, and it was great to see prospective students have a passion and curiosity for the same subject that we did.
For all of my out of school service this year, I helped out at a nursing home and rehabilitation center called County Manor, where the patients are almost all senior citizens. As a volunteer, I did things like hand out drinks to the elderly patients, read to them, and I even spent some time entertaining them during lunch and dinner periods by performing some songs. This was a really great experience, and I think service like this can put a smile on someone’s face, which is what I found to be the best part about it. People in this center can sometimes be struggling to get back into better health, and I like to think that the simplest things, such as reading a book or singing a song, can hopefully make some of the patients’ days better, which is what this kind of service is all about.
When we went to the AFYA warehouse for service day, I wasn’t sure what exactly we would be helping out with. It turns out, we had to sort different medical supplies into bags with a number of the same type of product in them, labeling the quantity and expiration date of the products on the bag. We were told these bags would be transported around the world along with the supplies we stocked in them. It was really amazing to think about the fact that what we were doing would most likely have a direct impact on people — these supplies would probably save lives and help people who needed them. Just with us spending a couple of hours sorting these supplies into bags, some people all around the world may be having a chance at the life and health they possibly otherwise may not have had if they hadn’t gotten these medical supplies. I thought it was a really fun experience that was really rewarding.
The YPI unit was a really fun and interesting one for me, mostly because we got to work with actual charities and people outside of school, and we were competing for something that would really make an impact on people’s lives. My social issue was homelessness, more specifically finding employment for homeless women. My view on my social issue definitely changed over the course of time, as I studied it more and more. At first I just saw homelessness as a constant in New York City — I thought it was something that would always be present and was something you would simply have to learn to accept. But with more information on our topic, and with communicating with our charity, I started to believe that, if we all support the charities that work to stop homelessness, one day it could all really go away, as our organization tries to accomplish.
The most challenging aspect of the project was probably presenting our PowerPoint in a sophisticated, slow but concise manner. The PowerPoint had a lot of information packed into it, and since I really feel strongly about how progressive and efficient our charity is, I really didn’t want to mess it up, which made it nerve racking to present. The most rewarding aspect of the process was probably the site visit, because it meant that we had successfully communicated with our charity and really got to see and meet the people behind all good work being accomplished there. It made the project feel real and rewarding to know that we were actually trying to help people in unfortunate situations and hopefully give them a better life. I hope to stay engaged in my social issue and in contact with my charity by possibly donating some money to one of their programs or attending some of their fundraisers or benefits one year to support the cause of getting rid of homelessness.