Over the summer, I volunteered with New York Theatre Ballet to create an advertisement video for the company’s nonprofit outreach program. The program is called LIFT, and it finds at-risk children in New York and gives them free classes, tutoring, supplies for school and home, and anything else they might need. Not only was the experience different from what I normally do over the summer with NYTB (I typically assist classes) but it also allowed me to feel involved with the community of the city. Editing the video was fun for me, and it also gave me the chance to help children gain opportunities. Several of my friends from NYTB came from the LIFT program, which made the experience all the more personal and special. The volunteering was incredibly special and a fun, interesting, and morally amazing opportunity.
Every year I help volunteer at the libraries annual Children’s Book Fair. This year I worked at different booths at the fair helping children chalk dye their hair as well as apply temporary tattoos. After the fair ended, I helped take down all of the furniture and clean up underneath the giant tent, since the fair is held outdoors. I also volunteered at the library itself, helping to shelve books and organize the YA section of the library.
This summer I also volunteered for a couple of days at a horse rescue out on long island, that also housed pigs, goats, chickens, and rabbits for the first time. There I was one of the older volunteers so I had to help with harder jobs such as clearing trees out of paddocks, watering the trees, and refilling the dozens of fly traps around the property. The farm houses more than 40 horses along with the other animals, although there are not many volunteers there to help out with the animals.
My friend, Miraya, and I also helped participate in the Modern Quilt Guild’s Quilts for Pulse Drive by designing and making a heart quilt for the survivors of the Orlando shooting. Together over a series of days we designed and sewed together a full quilt top which will be given to someone in Orlando.
This year I definitely felt more involved in the community, both in the city and Long Island. I felt I was given more responsibility at the places where I had volunteered before, as well as given a view into organizations that weren’t as popular and really needed more attention. This summer really helped to expand my view and give me a better sense of understanding at the community.
The tenth grade participated in a chemistry project that dealt with the Flint Water Crisis. We were given many assignments and had to research different facts, terms, and general knowledge. We researched what the exact problem in Flint was, we also learned what lead is, and other important facts. We also did in class labs that further informed us of the different ways that chemicals react together. These labs later helped us in our final project. for our final project we were paired up in groups and assigned a topic about lead in water. My group was assigned the “Health Effects of Lead” topic. My group researched, on various medical websites, what lead does, in the short and long term, to your body. Once we completed the research we began to make a poster board for our presentation to the eighth graders. Our board was made up of information, statistics, and interactive sections. We really tried to stress how dangerous lead is to your body. We also had to complete a final individual project concerning lead. I chose the Water Contamination Lab. In this lab, I was given approximately 250 mL of dirty water taken from a river behind a fertilizer factory. I was then given three different chemical compounds and told to make to water as clean as possible. I completed the lab, but it was difficult because the lab was unguided. All in all this was a wonderful project to work on and very informative.
I volunteered in the kitchen at God’s Love We Deliver this year. I chopped carrots, parsnips, and even some rutabagas. Luckily for me, I was spared from the onion-dicing station each time I visited. By volunteering at such a well-known New York City nonprofit, I was able to learn what it actually takes to get all of the food they ship out made. Moral was high. Even the “bleeders”, as they called them (I was one of them), would come back from a short nurse’s office visit with a bandaid and return to chopping. I gained a lot of knowledge about the nonprofit and its mission, as well as met and spoke with some dedicated volunteers who basically work for God’s Love, but without pay. I look forward to returning to God’s Love, and am proud to have found an organization with which to volunteer consistently.
I volunteered at an organization called City in the Community (http://www.nycfc.com/community/about). I coached soccer to young kids in Chinatown. I really loved the experience, the kids were great and I really appreciated the opportunity to mix soccer and service. I also feel like I myself grew from the service, as I gained skills with dealing with young kids and skills on how to coach.
This past summer I helped out at my 9-year-old sister’s ballet camp. Since I go to the ballet school during the school year, the teacher knows me and trusts me with teaching anybody who needed help. I helped some kids with choreographing solos and others with simply learning new steps and polishing technique. It was a gratifying experience to be able to see how my work at the camp improved the childrens’ work, and it was also fun to do.
This year I had the opportunity to prepare meals for the Friends Shelter. I made a few meals throughout the year. Things like baked ziti and chili. It feels good to provide food for people who don’t have the privilege to get a hot meal every day. I also love to cook so it was a fun experience. I also had the opportunity to learn more about the Flint Water Crisis. It’s very sad what is happening and that the government isn’t doing anything to help.
Over the summer, I volunteered at the East Hampton Library children’s book fair. The East Hampton library is home to a wide selection of books available to all members of the community, and is also a place that facilities children’s learning and reading skills. The children’s book fair is a wonderful initiative organized by the library. The fair includes rides and games, a book fair, children’s book author signings, a raffle with great prizes, and arts and crafts, as well as musical performances and entertainments.
At the fair, I helped kids with arts and crafts, decorating bags, hats, boxes and masks. I also worked behind various game booths where kids were able to play and win prizes. Participating in this service opportunity was a very rewarding experience. The amount of people that showed up to support their local library was astounding, and very wonderful to see. People and families from all over the area came together in this community event. Lots of children were running around, smiling, eating, and having fun. Kids laughed when they won games and exclaimed when they got to the top of the rock wall. I am so glad I volunteered with the East Hampton Library, because I was able to participate in helping out with such a special and important cause.
My group looked at lack of early education in NYC. You never really think about how many people can’t afford or get education because of how privileged we are. We go to a great school and learn from great teachers, but how would our lives be if we couldn’t go to school? Finding the Bloomingdale Family Program wasn’t very hard because we had a connection with them. We tried to look at any other possibility, but in the end, we knew that the Bloomingdale Family Program was right. When we went to there site, we got to see the classrooms and some of the children. From just seeing the place, you couldn’t guess that it was any different from the next school. The classrooms were well organized and all of the kids’ pictures contained smiling kids. I always knew that getting early education was an issue; however, I now put more thought into it. A skill that I developed during this project was making and presenting a presentation. I hope that I will be able to continue helping the program and perhaps even go to one of their alumni events that they have every year.
World History 1
May 8, 2015
Service Learning YPI Reflection
The social issue my group and I chose to research was Down syndrome, and our concern was of the discrimination against people with Down syndrome in New York City. During my research I discovered that there are 11,577 New Yorkers with Down syndrome, and less than 50 percent of them are actually receiving the proper help the need. I also learned that 90 percent of parents who find out their child will be born with Down syndrome abort their child. My group chose to advocate for the non-profit organization known as Gigi’s Playhouse, which provides a safe haven for people with Down syndrome to interact with each other. Gigi’s Playhouse has programs in which people with Down syndrome can come and play with other people with the same disorder. These programs include learning and physical activities to help with the cognitive and physical delays that result from Down Syndrome.
In addition to having programs for families with people with Down syndrome, Gigi’s Playhouse provides therapy services for people with Down syndrome, and parents who have just found out their child has been diagnosed with the disorder. Because I don’t have a personal connection to someone with Down syndrome, I may not feel the way families do, but I can still understand the plight of living with Down syndrome. I imagine the difficulty of being stereotyped on sight, and being presumed to be lacking intellect. After researching, I have a better view of people with Down syndrome, and hope that society changes to better serve the Down syndrome community instead of isolating them.
Through this project, I developed better public speaking techniques, as well as better researching techniques, as we had to improve on these skills to become better advocates for out non-profit. I procured a better understanding of the difficult lives for people in the Down Syndrome community, and hoped to change at least some lives in the community by raising awareness of the disorder. The most difficult aspect of the project was finding information on Down syndrome in the media, because the community is not recognized widely. Before 2013, there was a very scarce number of data and research for this disorder, which required more research to find helpful information. It did, however, feel very rewarding when we were able to attend the site and share our care for the disorder with a volunteer at Gigi’s Playhouse. I hope to someday visit and assist with some programs to help people with Down syndrome escape from the detriment of a society in which they are not recognized.