At the end of August, the boys and girls varsity soccer teams went on a weeklong trip to Tobago. The trip had two main components; preseason training and service. Firstly, we organized a soccer equipment drive before the trip began where we donated clothing, cleats, and other soccer accessories. We donated some of the equipment to teams we played matches against; however, the majority of equipment was donated in a soccer clinic for the local kids aging from 5 to 17 years old. At this clinic, we donated equipment and also ran through drills and games with the kids. We all had a tremendous amount of fun and it was ultimately regarded as the most meaningful part of the trip.
This summer, I went on a service trip to Portland with some of my close friends. We volunteered our time to Habitat for Humanity and the Boys and Girls Clubs of the City of Portland. Habitat for Humanity is a Not-for-Profit organization that partners with people in local communities to help them build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. The Boys and Girls Club of America and all their local branches, enable young people to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens by providing club experiences that promote positive and productive behavior which demonstrates good character and citizenship to help all children live a healthy lifestyle.
Our first day was spent at Habitat for Humanity. We helped on a project to build a neighborhood where the average mortgage payment would be around $800. The project is an effort to reward low income hard working families with affordable housing. We spent the day moving wood and dirt in order to clear a building site in order for construction to begin. Despite contrary belief, Habitat for Humanity houses are in fact very nice. Most of the homes in our project were very spacious and had multiple floors, a basement, and more than three bedrooms.
The rest of our time in Portland was spent working with the Boys and Girls Club of the City of Portland. We volunteered at their summer camp acting as camp counselors for boys and girls aged anywhere from 5 to 13. The Boys and Girls Club mission is to provide a low-cost summer camp to keep both teens and younger children occupied during the day so that they are not left alone while their parents are at work. We ended our time at the Boys and Girls Club by hosting a carnival for the kids. It was extremely empowering to see that our volunteer efforts made all of the children very happy and made a difference for their summer and in their lives.
During service day, I went to the AFYA foundation in Yonkers, NY. They gather medical supplies disposed by various hospitals and clinics and ship it to places that need it such as refugee camps in Syria.
We were about 48 students working there sorting medical supplies into categories and putting them into bags for shipment. We worked efficiently and did 18 days of work for one person, which is about 144 hours in total. We were able to help by making sure all supplies had not expired and were sorted correctly. By sorting as much supplies as we did, we were able to contribute to a shipment on a larger scale.
In working with AFYA, I learned about the value of medical supplies and how difficult it is to obtain when it is not readily available. The work we did is especially important in today’s political climate considering the violence going on in the middle east leaving many without homes seeking refuge.
During the second week of spring break, the Friends Seminary varsity baseball team took a spring training trip to Orlando, Florida. Because I had unfortunately injured my arm the week before, I was unable to participate in both practices and games. Thus, during the games, I recorded the events of them in the book. The book is a template made to record hits, runs, errors, and all other things that happen in a baseball game.
At the start of a game, my coach would write up the lineup (the order of batters and their positions), and I would bring it to the announcer in the press box. Then, once the game started, I payed close attention to record every detail for both Friends and the opposing team. Each game was about two hours long and four took place.
In what ways has your attitude toward your social issue changed over the course of the project?
In learning more about the issue, I can understand it’s gravity and it has caused me to care much more about it. At the beginning, I did not know many of the details, but I now feel fully involved with the issue. I am also more passionate and I am always looking out for things about it on the news and social media.
What aspect of the project did you find most challenging? rewarding?
I felt that the most challenging part was actually gathering the information for the presentation. Their offices were hard to get to because the doorman would not let us upstairs. The most rewarding part was learning about this issue and as a result caring about it much more.
– Cosmo Gigante