Over the summer, I volunteered Green Acre Baha’i School, a center of learning for Baha’i youth and children and a popular summer camp for Baha’is around the world. During my time there, I was a co-counselor for young children who were around ten years old, and my fellow counselors, the class teacher and I spent about five days teaching the kids about the meaning and the act of tolerance. Oftentimes we would read quotes from the prophet of the Baha’i Faith, Baha’u’llah, about tolerance, as well as quotes from other significant figures in the Baha’i Faith, such as Shoghi Effendi.
Through the time I was there, I made great friends with both my co-counselors and the children I was teaching. Sometimes I would sit with them during lunch, and we would talk about the class materials or just our lives in general. While I was there, I also met many long-lost friends, one of which was the class teacher I was working with who had taught me at Green Acre many years ago. It was wonderful to see her again and to catch up on all the time we hadn’t seen each other. As always though, the time I was in Green Acre quickly ran out, and before I knew it I had to leave. I was sad, but I made sure I would come back soon. Green Acre is such a wonderful place; it’s spiritually uplifting and it’s one of the best places to meet new friends and see old ones, and I can’t wait to go back and serve again.
Over the summer I volunteered at a non-profit organization called Artemis Farm. Artemis is a farm that rescues abuses horses and donkeys. Most of the horses that they rescue are mini’s which means they are much smaller than an average horse or donkey. While working with them I was given the opportunity to interact with these horses. I cleaned stables and water buckets as well as got to give the horses their medications and just spend time with them in order to help them become less afraid of people. Even though almost all of the horses had been abused or neglected in some way they were generally really sweet and gentle. It was an interesting experience for me as I have only ever worked at non-profits where I am sitting at a desk in an office. I enjoyed getting to do hands-on work with these animals. I also got to hold and spend a lot of time with a newborn horse which was so cute! Overall I greatly enjoyed getting to know the horses and the farmers who work with them.
When I was in 8th grade last year I attended Lunar New Year. I enjoyed the night very much, so this year I decided to attend again. I started out the night folding paper. After this, I began preparing each table for guests. Soon they began to arrive, so I and one other were sent upstairs to man the “Chopsticks Race” table. Everybody that I had come there with agreed that they had a good time helping out.
During the service day with Earth Matters we were given several options of things to do. I decided to assemble park benches. That is what I and a small group of others did for a few hours. During the assembly we had a good time talking about random things. I realized from this experience that service is not just about helping others and good will, it is about community and fun.
Since I was able to visit the organization my group represented, I was able to understand the full scope and mission they supported. We were welcomed in and toured around the facilities. We saw actual patients successfully receiving help from the organization’s staff.
I was exposed to the idea of nonprofit organizations and how they strive help our communities. This experience was a gateway that lead me to be interested in helping out and advocating for the unfortunate unite in our community. I think that I would like to be active with my organization I chose for the YPI project.
Service is a way of connecting to the community, and making a change in it greatly affects a large amount of people as a whole. This change is your giving back, and your effort to change the world. Service is a responsibility that all people should be active in doing, but it can also be a call. What’s most important is if you enjoy the service, and are happy about the changes you may make.
In January of 2017, my father and I flew to Washington DC for the Women’s March on Washington.
The Women’s March on Washington was a March that took place the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration. It was a March in which we marched in solidarity with the women of the US because of our new president and his masaugonist tendencies.
As well, it was somewhat a protest against Donald Trump in general, as we felt his election was a horrible development in the state of the USA.
Even though we were both white men, we felt it was incredibly necessary for men like us to show solidarity for women and other oppressed groups in the United States on such a rough time for those groups. As well, it was incredibly eye-opening to see how people could come together at such a rough time.
Women’s March on Washington
At the beginning of this year I set out to complete my out of school community service hours with a nonprofit organization since I had previously been relying on larger events that the school offered. I decided to join a new club named CHAI, Children’s Hardships Awareness Initiative to help make an impact on less fortunate children. The club soon partnered with an organization named Hyolmo Society of America, a community center located in Queens that aimed to aid children of Nepalese immigrants in Queens. They had asked us to help tutor some of these children on the weekends. Almost every Sunday the club dedicates two hours to help tutor. When we were first emailed about this opportunity by the club leaders they said that the organization was very excited for us to help and that about twenty-five children would be waiting for us.
When I first came to a tutor session on Sunday I did not realize how many different ages would be present. One of the club leaders brought some homemade brownies for the kids to eat while we helped them with their various homework assignments. The parents sat in a small room to the side of ours and would come in at times to check in on their kids progress. Some of the children who were younger and did not have any homework would draw on the big whiteboards provided to us by the community center. At the end of each session we dedicated about ten minutes for a small game such as four corners, red light green light, simon says, or musical chairs. At the end of each session when we drove away together the younger kids would wave to us as we disappeared out of sight.
When I was younger, I attended a program at Animal Haven (dog and cat) shelter. I attended this program for many years until I outgrew it and they asked me to help run the program. This year (and for 2 years before) I helped run a program called Caring Kids, which brought 5-7 year olds into the shelter to teach them about humane treatment of animals and how a no-kill animal shelter works. Throughout the year, in addition to being an intern at the shelter – walking and feeding animals, cleaning up, or just helping at the shelter, I ran this program. It has been a learning experience for me teaching me how to teach younger children, how to effectively volunteer, and how to introduce people to the concept of adoption while showing them around the shelter. I think I enjoyed spending time at the shelter and will continue to do so for a long time to come.