On April 19th, Friends hosted Big Fat Service Day. I worked from 10:30-2:30 on several different activities. In the morning, I made loom bracelets with a couple other students. The loom bracelets were donated to children in Nepal. It was nice to see so many different age groups working together. Since so many students, families, faculty, and alumni came to Big Fat Service Day, it really brought the community together. For lunch, everyone came together for hot dogs, chips, and soda. After lunch we made birthday boxes for God’s Love We Deliver. I really enjoyed Big Fat Service Day because of the varied activities and connection to community. I think Friends should host more events like this to bring the students together to help others in the NYC community!
In November, 2013, a group of Friends students and families went to Central Park to run 4 miles. My friends and I wanted to get some service completed, but in a fun way. God’s Love We Deliver was holding a race/walk, and my friends and I were eager to take part in this race. When we arrived at the location, it was freezing!! Though it was extremely cold, we managed to get through the race. Running alongside friends made the race fun, despite the temperature. For 4 miles we ran, jogged, even walked to catch our breath. When we crossed the finish line, the feeling was amazing. I felt so accomplished that I had actually finished a race for charity. It was also quite amazing discovering that it was only 11 AM. Taking part in this race allowed me to share with friends and family about this organization and my amazing experience.
This year, the class of 2016 participated in a service learning project where we partnered up with the Kisyoro school, located in Uganda. In order to raise money to send a girl to secondary school, we held many bake sales, in which many of the ninth graders took a part in, whether manning the table or baking homemade goods for the table. After watching the documentary, I really got to thinking how lucky we all are to have easy access to education. I felt that everyday I was complaining about having so much homework, and many of us just want to get good jobs for the salary; however, girls around the world in places that don’t offer easy access to education are willing to do anything to receive education, to receive homework, and many girls want to become doctors and nurses to help their villages, not for the money. While some of the stories in the film were very sad to watch, I realized that just tearing up and telling everybody how sad I felt was not going to help. Spreading the word about this film, and just trying to do whatever I can do to help these girls receive the education they so deserve was a start. The next day during a part of history class, our class counted the money, and reached a total of 1,799.26 dollars. As a classmate and I informed the class of the total, another classmate offered a dollar thus reaching our goal. It was a brief, but emotional moment not only for us, but for a girl somewhere in Uganda who soon finds out that she can go to school.
In my world history class, we spent a large amount of the year learning about the Millennium Villages Project and the Millennium Development goals. The Millennium Villages Project was developed in cooperation with the eight ambitious Millennium Development Goals. The Millennium Development Goals are a set of targets made to improve our world. The goals range from ending poverty and hunger to creating environmental sustainability. Through fourteen select villages in Sub-Saharan Africa, progress has been made to complete all the MDGs by 2015. The MVP has found success in almost all eight goals. In particular, the Millennium Villages Project has had tremendous triumphs in agriculture, health, and education. For history, we wrote two research essays, one on a specific Millennium Development Goal and the other on the progress of the MVP. Then, we made voice threads and blogs to share with children in a school in Kisyoro. The voice threads told about our daily life at Friends Seminary and the blog was describing one Millennium Development Goal and how we experience it in New York City. My blog was about promoting gender equality and empowering women. We mentioned three women that we found inspirational in lives. In response, a girl wrote back and told us that they are inspired by their president, “Mr Yoweri Museveni who brought back woman emancipation within the country, gender equality is visible in a case that there is female dominating with in the politics of the country, in every office you go in now you meet a woman”.
In order to raise money, $1,300, for a girl to go to school for three years, Friends hosted a screening of Girl Rising. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend but I did contribute by baking and selling treats at the bake sale. After learning so much about the struggles girls face daily and about of how many girls are deprived of an education, it felt really good to be able to help this cause and send at least one girl to school.
This is a picture of all the Millennium Development Goals:
With the Lee Strasberg Film and Theatre Institute, I was able to go sing for Elderly people who were homebound to a nursing home. They were only a few rehearsals, but they were very time consuming. It was a lot of work, and surprisingly there were a lot of Christmas songs that I didn’t know that I had to learn. However, when we went to the home, the expressions on their faces were extremely rewarding. Many of them weren’t often able to hear live music and they were obviously excited to have us there, being young. There were a few younger children who came with us, who the elders were especially fond of.
I love to sing, and seeing the reactions of these elders made it obvious to me just why I love to entertain. They looked extremely happy that we had come to sing for them. It was so rewarding to be able to sing in front of them. I was so glad that I had taken the time out of my day to go to all of the rehearsals. After the performance, we were able to talk and spend some time with the elders. It was such a nice experience and I’m so glad that I was able to make their days just a bit better just by singing for them.
In History 9, we studied the Millennium Development Goals and Villages. The Millennium Development Goals were created in order to solve problems in 15 villages in Africa. We researched these in order to write an essay about how we could either improve or criticize the villages and the goals. Since we knew about these and through a connection one of our teachers had, we were able to talk with the people and students in a Village in Kisyoro. Through interacting with them, we were able to learn even more than we had before. The experience was so interesting and memorable. I will never forget that although I may be struggling in my classes, the people in Kisyoro who are so much more troubled than I am are living life happily. Although they didn’t speak English well, they were very nice and interested in our culture as well. It was great to be able to talk to them.
Inspired by the Kisyoro people, the freshman year put on a screening of the movie Girl Rising. All of the money earned by the screening itself and the bake sale went into sponsoring one girl to go to school who hadn’t had that opportunity before. It was amazing to know that because of us, a person could go to school saying that they were sponsored by “Friends Seminary, Class of 2016”. I worked on the bake sale, both baking for it and sitting at it. I was planning to go to the screening, but unfortunately I had a last minute rehearsal. The experience was so rewarding and I will remember it for the rest of my life.
This year in History 9 we focused a great deal on the MDGs and MVPs. MDG is an acronym for ‘Millennium Development Goals,’ which was created by the UN in 2002. The UN created these goals in order to achieve 8 main goals that range from halving extreme poverty, to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015. MVPs, which are Villages in which the MDG programs are located, can be found all around the world, in Asia or Europe, but primarily in Africa. By the end of this year I have learned how truly terrible the conditions that some people live in are. Besides severe hunger and disease, gender inequality and environmental sustainability are also major dilemmas. After interacting with the Kisyoro school it had become apparent how optimistic and happy the children are when they are presented with even a small amount of opportunity, such as new technologies or new things to learn. My entire history class viewed a response from a boy who attended the Kisyoro school, and it was terrific. He responded in broken English, it was evident that he was still learning, and he talked about some things that characterize his village and his life in general. After seeing this exchange of messages I gained new insight with regards to how much people actually struggle. The statistic that stood out the most to me was that in some places, because of bad conditions or lack of medical care, over 50% of deaths occur in childbirth. However, I also discovered how positive people could be even though they live in these conditions and how important opportunities like education, food, or medicine are to them.
We, in groups, made presentations encompassing one of 8 goals, shared it with the entire class. In the process of making these presentations I learned a lot about my specific MDG, child mortality. I learned how severe child mortality is, and how an average of 8.4 million children under 5 die each year. The statistics for every presentation shocked me to a great extent, especially those of my own presentation. In addition, I attended the screening of Girl Rising.
I loved it, and was truly moved by it. I found it to be sad because of how terrible these girls’ lives were, how many opportunities they were being deprived of, and the hardships that they had to go though. Other than these two things, I did not do much advocacy for the MDGs other than have conversations and discussions with my classmates, and same for the MVPs. This “action component” to this process definitely made the project much more meaningful because it allowed us, rather than looking at statistics and papers others wrote, to teach it to others. By teaching others about the MDGs, it gave me a much better understanding of them, and by attending things such as Girl Rising, it made ne feel connected to them on a much higher level than before.
A significant part of my history course was devoted to studying the Millennium Development Goals: a set of eight goals that aims to eradicate poverty by 2015. While studying these MDGs, my history class and I got in touch with the Kisyoro School in Uganda. We made presentations, and we were able to communicate with the students as they spoke English.
I know that I was moved by the movie, which portrayed their quality of life. It made the things that we dwell on seem trivial. Before the research on the Millennium Villages, I was unaware of how difficult it is to eliminate poverty. My participation in the project helped me understand the obstacles and issues such as infection that prevent the achievement of the MDGs. This process of interacting with the Kisyoro School was both an enjoyable and eye-opening process.
I went to the girl rising screening to learn. It never occurred to me how badly people, specifically women, were suppressed all around the world. These girls wanted to learn, something which earlier in life I took for granted. The things many of those girls experienced are so hurtful and demoralizing, yet all of them pushed through. I think that although many organizations are helping girls, it is necessary for even more people to try to help out,and I think if there was more awareness about this issue, many other girls would be able to go to school or be saved from the experiences they are victim to. It is my goal to raise awareness and direct people to help connect to learn achieve there goal. Whether it is my parents or people I have just met, I pledge to help