Ever since I was in kindergarten, I attended the bag decorating event for Gods Love We Deliver. I was always thrilled that something as little as drawing on a large white bag could be something that brought joy to many other people, whether they were the bag recipients or the school community that looks at the finished works in the meeting house. This year was the second year that I could engage in this activity from another perspective of the event. I handed out bags and ribbons and made sure everyone had the perfect amount of glue-sticks to allow them to make their designs. But along the way I was also able to make some bags of my own (and eat some cookies, Yum!). It was only when carrying hundreds of bags onto the balcony of the meeting house that the full weight of our efforts hit me. Such small things can really add up when we all worked together: I only made 4 bags, but if everyone each made 4 bags, we’d have tons of them! This event is truly one of my favorite school traditions and I hope to work some more with it next holiday season!
This year, three classmates and I advocated for the New York Center for Living (NYCFL) for our YPI project. The NYCFL is a non-profit organization that gives services to adolescents with substance use problems. We researched this issue in New York City and looked for organizations. When we found this organization we went in-depth with research to ensure the productivity of this organization. We even did a cite visit, and spoke with several of the councilors and stafff members. We then took our findings, and spoke in front of our peers, to try and win a grant for our organization. Sadly, we did not win the grant; however, hearing all of the other groups was incredibly eye-opening and was a great experience.
This year, I have the pleasure of working with Reading Partners, a volunteer organization that gives specialized tutoring in reading and comprehension to children in public schools. Along with a partner, I have been meeting weekly with a young student from the first grade of PS 188. My partner and I have only been working with this organization for 6 weeks and will continue to work with them until late May. However, over this short time, I have seen my student grow from barely reading their alphabet to reading short picture books completely on their own.
Reading is a skill that many of us take for granted, but many people struggle with. It is a fundamental skill needed for learning, and I am glad that I can help my student progress and develop their skills. In a short time they have improved exponentially and I cannot wait to see where they grow by the end of this year.