My attitude toward my social issue changed a lot. Before we chose our social issue we only knew some people who have gone through domestic violence but not the exact details or how serious it really was. As we learned more about our social issue I realized that the social issue we chose was very serious because it’s a lot of pain to go through physically, mentally, and emotionally. People who went through these social issues are really survivors because they had to have courage to seek help and get away from the problem. I developed a whole bunch of skills during this project. Skills such as social, public speaking, and researching/investigation skills. Social skills because I had to work with group members in order to do the project. Public speaking because at the end of the project while we were wrapping everything up we had to present to our world history teachers first. Then we presented to the whole freshman class with judges critiquing us. Finally researching/investigation skills because we had to research our social issues and find specific stats for New York to our social issues and then on top of that had to investigate around looking for a non profit organization that helps put an end to our social issue. The most challenging part about the whole project had to be the public speaking part both to our history teachers and to the whole freshman class. Since I get really nervous with talking in front of people it just overwhelms me and makes it the hardest part for me. The aspect of the project I find most rewarding is learning morE about my social issue. I learned a lot about it. I came into this project with not a lot of knowledge about Domestic Violence and I finished the project with a better knowledge of what it is and how it can occur and etc. Since we didn’t win the grant me learning more about the social issue is a reward itself. I will remain engaged with my social issue by speaking out about it more or by participating in fundraisers that help out the social issues. By doing these such activities will show that I support the extermination of Domestic Violence. I will not continue to engage with my non profit organization because they are very private and it’s hard to contact them because there are certain boundaries dealing with the social issues. If there is a public event going on and I’m allowed to participate then I will but if it’s not public then my chances of participating are very low.
Volunteers of America – Domestic Violence
Before I had visited a Volunteers of America domestic violence shelter, I had known people that were personally affected by domestic violence and I knew that it was a significant problem in the world today. However, I did not know how important its role was in New York and how it affected other important issues such as homelessness. As I read the statistics, I began to realize just how important of an issue it was and over the course of the project, I became more educated about the causes and effects of domestic violence.
Through the site visit, I learned how domestic violence survivors found Volunteers of America facilities and I finally understood that leaving their homes was far more complicated than I had originally thought. I believe that people might have a misconception about just how difficult it is for a victim of domestic violence to leave everything they have ever known. A challenge I faced while doing this project was trying to make people realize this and make an effective point for why Volunteers of America deserved a grant because of all the work they do in helping domestic violence survivors become physically, mentally, and financially stable.
Through this project, I was able to learn a lot about teamwork. Since we were working toward a good cause, it was easy to work with another because we were completely selfless in order to make the entire project effective and only about Volunteers of America and the work they do. Although we didn’t win the grant, I was more than grateful to make it to the final round because we were able to talk about our organization to more people than just our history class and I believe that we effectively carried out the importance of Volunteers of America, which was the most rewarding part of the project. I hope to volunteer in the future through events such as Brightening Birthdays, which are birthday parties for children whose birthdays fall on the same month. In this way, I can stay in contact with Volunteers of America while getting a hands-on experience working with the children there.
In my YPI Project group, I was partnered with Bookie, Ale, Allen, and Dwight. We decided on the topic of Teenage Runaways. After multiple days of looking for a non-profit organization to represent, we chose Safe Horizon. A branch of Safe Horizon is the StreetWork Project. In this organization, they have drop-in centers throughout the city, where street teens placed on the street from running away or other problems, may come and receive food, shelter and other help until they close every day.
Over the course of this project, I explored a whole new world of kids my age who have problems much worse then the ones I worry about every day. We take so much for granted in our daily lives, a place to sleep, delicious and healthy food every day, our education, while some kids barely have a place to sleep, let alone food and education.
When we had our site visit, we met with the head of the StreetWork Project, Carolyn Strudwick, who had been working with the StreetWork Project since the 70s. What affected me most during this site visit, was something that happened to us while we were walking up the stairs to their facility. In front of us was a group of kids our age, laughing, joking around, and having a better time than we were. But to our amazement, when we reached the top of the stairs, we witnessed them walk into the StreetWork Project drop-in center. They were street teens themselves, living much worse a life than we were living, but they were making the best of it, having more fun than I had had all that day.
Over the course of the project, I have become more aware of Mental Illness, my social issue, and the social issues of the people who’s presentations I watched. I became aware of how prominent our social issue is in New York City. I had always been instructed to think that Mentally Ill people were potentially dangerous, and should be avoided. While some mentally ill people can be dangerous, I had an unfair view that added to the stigma of mentally ill people. After visiting our organization and meeting the lovely and not at all dangerous members, I became aware of how the stigma that I had was completely unfair.
Although our group did not make it through to the final presentations, I did acquire some valuable skills in both working in a group and in presenting a powerpoint. In the future, I will be sure not to read off a script because it helps the audience to understand what the presenters are saying to a fuller extent and it helps the audience to comprehend the presentation to a fuller extent.
This Year I had the pleasure of helping to lead a 10th grade Ex-Ed trip. We visited the Beleayre Mountain Ski Area and learned how to telemark ski. Myself and my co-leader, Will, were given complete free reign as to how we would run the trip. Under the supervision of the Ex-Ed teachers we dictated every aspect of the experience from the feeling to the training. Having the time to impart some of the knowledge that I had gleaned from my Outdoor Leadership Seminar was a true honor. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to put these skills of leadership and teaching into practice in a real environment. I hardly noticed that our supervisors were there, as I was so immersed in the trip. My favorite part of the experience was that it took place entirely outside; I was in my element. Nature was my classroom, and; therefore, I was never at a loss for a teaching opportunity. It is so incredible to discover how much one can give to those around them in a teaching environment. Yet, more incredible still is how much that teacher can learn from those whom they are present to teach. I really loved this experience and will remember it and look back on it for years to come.
When I was in China, I visited a school called the Dandelion School. The school was for children of migrant workers. While I was there I taught the children to play a card game similar to BS.
It was a fun experience working with these kids. Not only did I play with them, but they talked about themselves and what it was like at their school. Many of the children lived on campus.
Sometimes it was hard to communicate with the students because not all of them spoke English well, but it was also fun and at times challenging speaking to them in Chinese.
Another thing I liked about this school was the message that they were trying to get across to the students. They wanted the children to build up their self esteem and continue their education. They should go up and beyond, and not quite their education early to get a job.
During Community Service Day at school my grade went to Yonkers to work with an organization called “AFYA“. We worked in their warehouse organizing donated medical supplies. It was incredibly fun working with my grade in the warehouse then eating lunch together.
What I learned about AFYA was that we were working in their main warehouse that receives huge shipments of donated medical supplies. Additionally, we were preforming the first (of many) sorting of the medical supplies.
Volunteers play a large role in making AFYA’s job of sorting the immense amount of very different types of medical supplies. Volunteers not only lend extra hands to AFYA but helps them realize its mission by showing that many people support the cause they do.
I would absolutely recommend this organization to others who want to volunteer because it is not only hard work and a workout on ones brain and body, but it’s fun to sort the supplies with others and it brought me closer to my classmates and I’m sure it can bring you closer to whoever you volunteer and work with at AFYA.
For part of my service requirement this year, I volunteered as a peer tutor in chemistry, though we sometimes worked on math (Algebra II). Although this is my third year being a peer tutor, it is my second year tutoring in chemistry and first year tutoring in Algebra II. During our weekly sessions we reviewed for tests, worked on homework or lab reports, and went over any confusing concepts.
Being a peer tutor taught me how to articulate various concepts: I found that it is very helpful to use examples and to have the student explain the concept to you in their own words. It was meaningful to work in the community and to see that I was really helping another student learn. I could see the difference between what the student understood at the beginning of the session and what the student understood by the end of the session. I have always enjoyed volunteering as a peer tutor at Friends and hope to continue working in the field of education in the future.
After Hurricane Sandy, a group of students, teachers, and friends of the school traveled to Staten Island to help clean up and restore. My group walked the destroyed streets of Staten Island in search of people who needed help. After a long walk, we found a woman who needed help taking her house down. I went through all of her old photographs and threw out almost all of her destroyed and damp belongings. The experience made me realize how lucky I am to have the things and I have and how fortunate I was to be unaffected by the destruction of Hurricane Sandy.
After Hurricane Sandy had hit NYC, many homes lost electricity and may have had no water. I took part of the Friends Seminary Diversity Program outing where some 5th and 6th graders and I (along with some other people) went to a senior citizen program or center and interacted with the people that were there. They hadn’t had many visitors since Sandy had hit and had been without power exce[t for their lobtt and acticity room for weeks. . While we were there they told us stories about how they felt during the storm and what things it reminded them of in their past. We also helped them plant bulbs signifying hope. The majority of the people their were Chinese, so many things had to be translated.
I loved having this experience because I got to know and work with the kids, but I also was able to put to use the things I learned in Chinese class. I was able to talk to the members of the senior citizen home. They were really friendly and helped me when I was speaking. It was a fun and great experience. It always feels great giving back to the community. This was a good thing for us to model for our younger students.