Last Service Day, half of the tenth grade went to AFYA’s warehouse in Yonkers. We were given a quantity of no longer needed medical supplies and sorted the supplies into what was still usable and what was not, taking into account packaging and expiration dates. The usable supplies will be sent to various parts of the world in which medical aid is needed but often inadequate due to low resources.
I had not previously considered the amount of medical supplies that may be wasted simply because of inefficiencies in our own hospitals. I therefore found it enlightening to see just how much of what was discarded was still usable and needed around the world. However, I would have liked to learn more about where our particular medical supplies were being sent, which I think would have given us a better connection to the purpose of the activity. I look forward to learning about more ignored or neglected issues during my future at Friends.
This summer I spent four weeks at the UU-UNO (Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office) as their interim Climate Change Initiative intern. I worked on updating and completing a Unitarian Universalist religious education curriculum on climate change, and on writing congregational action plans for education and service toward the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. I think that through working on these projects, I helped to educate myself about climate change, the politics and ethics around it, and how it can affect all of the world’s peoples. By working on the congregational action plans, I got a better understanding of how the SDGs were chosen and passed and what they entail. Overall, I think I learned a lot from this experience and will use this new knowledge about climate change in my life going forward.
Over the course of the YPI, I think my skills at working with others improved greatly. I think that my group divided the work of the project very well among us, with every member playing a part, but none of us dominating the rest. I think that our caring about the issue brought us together and allowed me to have enough confidence in others that we could put forth a product that was really the result of the hard work of all of us. Service really helped to bring us together this year and I am grateful for that.
I thought that the hardest part of this project was making sure we kept working on it, as we were doing numerous other things in History class and other classes. Stretching the project over a long time meant that every time we went back to improve on it, we had to remind ourselves of everything we had done before. For me, the site visit was the most rewarding part of the project. I really enjoyed getting to see the boats and environmental projects that the teens at Rocking the Boat were working on and how dedicated they were to the issue, and though I am disappointed not to have won the grant for our organization, I think that I learned some very valuable things while working towards that goal.