At the end of April, I participated with a rag-tag band of fellow Friends Seminary upper schoolers and faculty in the Peoples’ Climate March in Washington D.C. Despite having to wake up at an hour significantly earlier than I was used to, I was feeling enthusiastic to participate in something meaningful while on the bus ride there. Upon arriving, I was immediately discouraged by the intense heat that awaited us(which was suited the cause of the march) and already tired from an early wake up. However, I was inspired by the unwavering passion of the other protestors and their commitment to spreading our message (even though the President was not even in DC at the time of the march). There was also a band of Pro-life advocates trying to distract us from the march which was irritating, but I was grateful that I had the rare opportunity to meet people with a range of opinions much different than mine. Although the heat was excruciating, it constantly reminded me of our cause and motivated me to continue marching. It was truly something I will never forget.
Over the course of working on this project, I not only learned a good deal about my social issue (poverty in NYC), but I have also become more passionate about it. Working on this has made me more aware of how much of an issue poverty is for our city. Therefore, it has compelled me further to help others combat the issue of poverty. I was especially moved to help combat this issue after working with our non-profit, the Bowery Mission, to serve breakfast to the homeless during our site visit. Although it was very enjoyable to interact with all of their clients, it was sad to see that we were only permitted to serve each client a specific amount of food even if they asked for more.
Working on the YPI project, my communication skills developed in a variety of ways. As this was the most major group project I have ever worked on in my academic career, my skills when it comes to collaboration have gotten better. Interacting with the employees and clients of the Bowery Mission during my site visit has also significantly bettered my communication skills. However, I think presenting has benefited my communication skills most of all. Before the YPI project, I was deathly afraid of public speaking, no matter the size of the audience. Although I wasn’t thrilled about moving on to the finals, since that meant speaking in front of even more people, I began to realize that it wasn’t really that bad during my presentation and in fact, pretty fun.
Bowery Mission Website: https://www.bowery.org