On May 2o, Friends Seminary hosted “Friends Who Serve” and the organisation, “Volunteers of America” worked with us. We spent the day making Birthday’s in a Box for children and their friends and family to enjoy. The boxes that we made consisted of party supplies that the kids and their friends would use throughout the day including goody bags for the children to take home. This experience was really fun because it provided an opportunity to help kids enjoy their birthdays no matter what.
This fall, I participated in a walk to end breast cancer in the Battery Park area. The walk was hosted by Lionheart, a charity that is a separate entity from Susan G. Komen. The charity was started by my aunt Kathleen Van Rijn after her battle with breast cancer over a decade ago. Originally, she started the group as a team that was a part of the Komen Cancer research network. When the Komen charity revoked its support of planned parenthood and began decreasing specificity of which research centers their money was going to, my aunt began to re-evaluate het ties to the charity.
Ultimately, she turned Lionheart into its own independent group and partnered with the Smillow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven. For the walk, I had to register on the charity website and then connect with family members and ask them to sponsor me. We then walked several miles from the Battery Park area to around Union Square. The walk was a great chance to talk to breast cancer survivors and learn about the experience of going through breast cancer. Since everyone on the walk was wearing their Lionheart t-shirts, we were able to teach others about the charity and why we were walking. The walk also helped me raise over $300 dollars to support the next generation of breast cancer research. I strongly urge all Friends students to check out Lionheart at http://lionheart.kintera.org/faf/home/default.asp?ievent=1154028
And get involved in their walks or swimming lap-a-thons.
In December, right before winter break, I attended a conference at the United Nations with my classmates. When I heard about this opportunity, I was excited because it was a chance for me to work together with passionate like minded students, both from the Friends community, and students all around the city and world. It was great to collaborate and design a movement with them and to hear their different perspectives. I worked with a group of students from public NYC schools and students from Canada and Mexico to come up with a plan to raise awareness about international prison rights and the mistreatment of prisoners. We brought light the issue of torture across the world. We created a project where we would perform street art in inconvenient places to make people look and pay attention. In addition, we created a website which gave facts about torture. Researching torture was both heartbreaking and eye opening. It was horrible to realize how much injustice was occurring. However, it gave me hope that so many young people like myself we out there who were passionate.