This winter, I, with a group of Friends students, planted bulbs in Stuyvesant Park. A woman (whose name I don’t remember, unfortunately) overlooks the upkeep of the park as well as trying to make it a more beautiful and enjoyable space. This year there were thousands of bulbs to plant, so each of us had a lot of work to do. In addition to feeling like I was anonymously contributing to the area in which many people spend a great deal of time, I knew that I would be able to enjoy the results of the work that my peers and I did together. It was a surprisingly good feeling to know that the people who enjoyed the tulips and daffodils would not know that I had contributed, and nonetheless my work would hopefully make people’s park experiences more enjoyable. It was also a lot of fun coming out together, listening to music in the cold, and figuring out a system to get them planted efficiently.
I was in the choreolab class for the duration of this school year. In the second half of the year, I had weekly rehearsals for my dance that was to be shown in DRA, and attended rehearsals for the two other dances that I was in for the show. (both in and out of class). All of these rehearsals created the show at the end of April for the Dancers Responding to AIDS cause, which we raised almost $3000 for. Additionally, my class performed at the Joyce with the Scottish National Ballet, which we also attended rehearsals for in the few days leading up to the show. Throughout the year, we also had several bake sales to raise additional money, which I baked for and worked at.
This year, I wrote for the Friends Seminary newspaper, The Insight. I wrote about the Paralympics scandal this past summer, an op ed about the drinking age, and a recount of this year’s DRA. I learned more about these three topics which interest me, and I helped contribute to the school newspaper.
In being so directly involved with my organization and the cause in the YPI project, I learned to care more about helping others less fortunate than I. Even in addition to learning about my organization and more about youth homelessness in New York City, I became more compassionate and caring, which is a valuable lesson on its own.
I feel that I have become more confident with my communication skills, and became comfortable with reaching out to complete strangers to get what I needed. The most rewarding part of the YPI process for me was probably visiting my site and feeling the success of my research and efforts to connect with my organization. I saw for myself what I had learned about the cause and the organization, and the good work I was doing. I found myself genuinely enthusiastic about making a change.
Although this unit was not what I would expect in a world history class, I think it is still a very rewarding part of my learning this year in history. I learned about current issues in the city I live in, and became more passionate about helping others. These two lessons I believe are just as valuable as anything else I will learn this year.