Ryan’s Experience with the HFDA

Over the summer, I volunteered for the Halcottsville Fire Department Auxiliary, a very small organization that works with the small town’s volunteer fire department. The focus of the fundraiser that I helped with was to raise money for the renovation of the old fire department building, currently rotting away on main street,with the purpose of making the building into a small museum about the town’s history. Just like the old building, Halcottsville has seen better days, so this is also an effort to revitalize the town by bringing in people who might not otherwise stop while also making the town more presentable. The event was a “Penny Social,” a mix of garage sale and auction, so throughout the event I was delivering to people their winnings and moving dozens of metal folding chairs and tables. I was mostly working with people who I have known for a long time, and it was a great feeling to give back to my  community.


During the 9th grade YPI project, my group and myself worked with the NYIC, the New York Immigration Coalition. At the beginning, I was influenced by the assembly where the presenter spoke about the Syrian refugee crisis. I was moved by the images of the refugees’ long march to find asylum. This caused me to immediately suggest to the group that we change our presentation to immigration. I was happy to find that my group mates, Terry and Jordyn, were of the same mind. After doing more research I really was alerted to the plight of so many Americans who do not have the opportunity to decide their own fate by voting and being civilly involved.

Over the course of the project, I learned how to speak in front of people more effectively than I was before. I also learned how to better communicate with my group mates and to set deadlines for myself. I feel that I have become more effective in group presentations.

The aspect of the project that I found most challenging was standing up in front of my class and presenting. This was difficult because I was representing the NYIC, and I did not want to let them down. This caused more stress for me. In the end, although my group did not win the grant, I was very happy with how we preformed. As a result of this, this aspect was also the most rewarding.

I definitely will consider volunteering for the NYIC in the future.

I think that YPI is a wonderful connection to the curriculum. It teaches students presentation skills, and how to be involved in the community. Plus, it teaches students leadership as they have to guide their groups and themselves through the project.