For the third year now, I helped out with Judy’s Kindergarten class. Although my responsibilities vary from class to class, my responsibilities have increased this year. For example, I was asked to run a lot more specific activities independently this year. One that I specifically enjoyed was helping the students paint their dioramas. It was interesting to me how some kids very carful painted the background colors, paying attention to every detail, while others carelessly spread the colors in an attempt to cover their background as quickly as possible. I enjoy helping out with Judy’s kindergarten class and plan on doing so again in the future.
This year the ninth grade participated in a competition to compete for $5000 that would go to a non-profit organization of our choice. My group decided to compete for the organization Safe Horizon. We were amazed at the kindness we were welcomed with the second we walked through the door of the organization. Domestic Violence was an issue that my entire group had heard of, but none of us were necessarily familiar with it. When researching social issues for our project we were originally interested in Domestic Violence particularly the impact it has on education. However, as we researched more we found out about the extreme impact Domestic Violence has on all aspects of its victims’ lives.
One thing that shocked me when researching Domestic Violence was the specific aspects of Domestic Violence that appear different in New York specifically. After speaking with a shelter head we found out that the tactics used in order to isolate someone from their family and friends can be especially harsh in NYC. This is mainly because how close everything is. Therefore, the abuser can often use harsher and rougher means to keep one isolated from the outside world. Besides that there are two main themes that remain constant no matter where one is. These two themes are power and control. We learned that what differentiates between Domestic Violence and an unhealthy relationship is that in Domestic Violence abusers often have higher power in the relationship than their partner.
We decided to focus on packages that are given to survivors when arriving at a shelter. These packages are filled with all of the basic necessities that one needs: diapers, toiletries, food, clothes, etc. The time frame that a victim has to get into a shelter is very limited. Some people, due to isolation, have no money of their own, and no person items. Others, cannot afford to pack a suitcase because their abuser might realize they are trying to leave. Safe Horizon’s starter kits and supplies make this difficult time much easier. We already knew that escaping an abusive relationship was hard, but not bringing anything with you and traveling to a community that you are not at all familiar with takes tremendous bravery. That journey that each victim takes was what inspired me the most when hearing about all the survivor stories.
Helping win Safe Horizon $750 was very rewarding and helped me realize how much we as high school students can do to improve people’s lives.