The Adventures of Sammy Grob at TADA! Theater Company: A service reflection

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Over spring break, I volunteered at TADA! Youth Theater, to help chaperone and facilitate a week long theater camp for children ages 8-12. Each day, we met for five hours and over the course of the week, we set to work creating a small show. I was in charge of leading games, making sure people stayed quiet and on task, and other odd jobs. There were about 15 kids in total, and two other adults with me, one choreographer and director and one music director. We used songs from former original shows (created for the TADA! Resident Youth Ensemble, which I am actually a part of; third year!) and other non-original broadway shows. The kids helped generate ideas and possible lines of dialogue for the play, while the adults wrote up the physical script. At the end of the week, we invited the parents to come in and watch their children perform the play, emphasizing how short of time we had to create it and rehearse it. In the end, no matter how good or bad the show was, the parents were still entertained, and the kids were content and proud of themselves.

I’m going to be honest here; I was very scared coming into this project. It sounds hypocritical, but working with young children is impossible. There’s that certain age, from 8-12, where no one knows what’s going on or how to handle energy probably. Channeling that volatile energy into dancing and singing and acting is an honorable feat, and a miracle, to a certain extent. But still, we were able to pull it off, through courage, patience, perseverance, and binging during the lunch breaks. I was okay by the end, though; I love working with kids, and there were some really talented children in the group.

A telling example of what I got out of this project would be of what I did after my first day. After about five and a half hours of dealing with the kids, I was frustrated and tired, walking home heavily. But the first thing I did upon getting out of rehearsal was to call my mom and tell her how sorry I was for what I put her through my pre-teen years. She laughed, but understood. I think my out of school service was challenging, but telling in that it showed me a reflection of myself, and also, through blood, sweat and jazz hands, how hard teaching can be. My out of school service spawned a newfound respect for the teaching occupation.

 

Girl Rising

When participating in the Girl Rising event and the MDGS projects I was most inspired by the Girl Rising movie. It was inspiring that these  girls who would do anything to get an education. Often  I take my education  for granted, this really opened my eyes to how important an education can be. My favorite story was the girl who was from Egypt, who had been raped. Even though they never caught the guy and she never went to school (instead got married and had kids), I thought her attitude was really inspiring because she was so strong. I also really enjoyed the young girl from Haiti because she stood up to her teacher and said that she school keep coming back to school until she was let in. Seeing the movie furthered my education on why girls education is important, and it really made me reflect on how lucky I am and how I want to emulate these girls personalities in life.

I also loved being able to send a girl to school. Even though it is only one girl, having an education will change her life. I love that I was able to play a small role in potentially changing that girl’s life.

9th Grade Service Learning Project

This year, the 9th grade history classes participated in a project that connected our school with an all girls school in Uganda. The first part of the project was to learn about the Millennium Development Goals. These goals are designed to improve the lives of impoverished people living in African places. Next, we learned about the Millennium Villages Project. The MVP is a project that has taken numerous poor villages throughout Africa and focused on improving the lives of all the people in these select villages. They focus on all of the Millennium Development goals instead of just one because they believe that is the best way to bring as many people as possible out of poverty. After we knew about these projects, we tried to arrange to pay for a girl in Uganda to attend a school. We did this by screening a movie called Girl Rising. This film is a series of stories of unfortunate girls in Africa who need our help. Since I was unable to attend the screening, I helped out with the bake sales leading up to it. I decided that I needed to help some way that I could even if I was unable to attend the screening. Overall, the project raised enough money to send a girl in Uganda to school. I am very proud of the 9th grade because we were able to do this. I also learned a lot about poverty in Africa and how we are trying to end it. This was a very interesting project and I would love to learn more and give my service to it as much as I can.

Girl Rising : The Experience

As part of my history class’ research on the Millenium Development Goals and our partnership with the Kysoro School in Uganda, we screened a recently-released documentary at our school–in an effort to raise awareness to the issues of gender equality and education. The movie, Girl Rising is a great, educational, tear jerker. The movie takes you on an emotional journey with some extraordinary girls who want to go to school and just get an education. After watching the movie, I realized just how hard people try to obtain justice. It also brought to light the true problems that many girls face everyday. This movie has given me a broader sense of community  and how my service can go beyond local communities and the power and value of education and girls worldwide. If I was a movie critic I would give the movie a 4.75 out of 5.

 

William Peltier’s Service Reflection

Earlier this school year, I was lucky enough to participate as a volunteer for an organization called Midnight Run. Midnight Run distributes food and clothing to people around New York City who are in need. The whole operation takes place between 10:30 pm to 1:30 am, hence the name, “Midnight Run.” Before we left to deliver the goods around the City, my group spent several hours putting together sandwiches and organizing clothing so we could make as many stops as possible. Even though I felt like we spent so much time making the food, and there seemed to be 100’s of peanut butterjelly and tuna fish sandwiches, there were just so many homeless at every stop who were hungry.

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Our group made visits through Lower Manhattan, up to the area around Madison Square Garden and then to the Public Library at Bryant Park. At many of the stops on our route, we had the opportunity to talk with the people we met. I was upset and shocked by their personal stories. When I hear at home and at school how “lucky” I am, I really know it is true.

Olivia’s Service Reflection

During the course of this school year, I have been volunteering at an organization called the Children’s Hearing Institute. This company was founded in 1983 with the mission of helping hearing-impaired children regain their hearing, improve their speech and language skills, and achieve academic success. The Children’s Hearing Institute’s most noteworthy achievement is its use of Cochlear Implants. These implants are used to restore sound to those who are unable to hear. The Children’s Hearing Institute has benefited the lives of numerous families over the course of nearly three decades of hard work.

For my volunteer work at the Children’s Hearing Institute, I spend time with hearing-impaired children, all of whom have Cochlear Implants or hearing aids, and work towards improving their speech and listening skills. I also use iPads, equipped with several educational apps, as a way of working with the children. Over the few months I have so far spent volunteering, I found that the kids are more attentive and focused when working with the iPads than when just speaking to them normally. They are fascinated by the fact that, with this technology, they can have fun while their language and hearing abilities are being improved. The apps on the iPads allow the kids to do a range of things, from repeating phrases to reading aloud stories to forming sentences. However, each app is used with the same intention of improving the children’s speech and language skills by having them listen and speak aloud. Overall, I have really enjoyed volunteering at the Children’s Hearing Institute and I look forward to continuing my work there.