This summer, I volunteered with the Coalition for the Homeless. I went on the thursday night downtown food van which stops at 7 places between 7 and 10 at night. At the stops, we pass out soup, bread, milk and oranges to people in need of food. Working with the Coalition was very rewarding, as I enjoyed making connections with folks I have met before and meeting new people who were so grateful for the food they received. Homelessness and poverty is such a big issue in NYC, and so many people have nothing to eat, and the Coalition does an awesome job of providing food to New Yorkers who need it every day and night, 365 days a year. It was my third summer working with the Coalition, and I hope to keep volunteering there in the future.
In March, I helped Project Cicero organize used books for public school teachers. The event was chaotic since there were lots of people frantically lifting heavy boxes and rolling piles of books around. However, I enjoyed moving the books because it brought me back to the times when I was a young child reading these same texts. The books were organized by topic. I was excited to see that there was a non-fiction section of used books for students to read since that was my favorite genre when I was younger.
I went to governors island with many friends students and parents in order to help Earth Matter in honor of 9/11. We started off the day by taking a ferry to governors island. We then helped the organization to remove weeds from plant. I also helped move dirt around in carts. We then toured some parts of the island and learned more about what Earth Matter does and how they were helping. We ended the day with removing more weeds from plants.
During Maker Day for the lower school, I helped run the “nerdy derby” event. During this event, I helped students create little styrofoam cars that they would roll down a ramp. I also helped to organize when each student would roll their car down the ramp to make sure it did not get too chaotic. I really enjoyed helping with this event because I got to meet the lower school students and their parents, which helped me to be able to connect with the entire FS community.
On Saturdays since November, I have spent my afternoons being a supportive Buddy at Safe Haven Basketball. Safe Haven is a basketball league for special needs kids to have fun and be active. I support the session with 8-14 year-olds. Alongside other buddies, I help the players do their warmup drills, run basketball drills involving dribbling, passing, and shooting, and overall help players improve their basketball skills. During the last hour of the session, the players have a basketball game and as a buddy I make sure players go to their correct defensive positions and get a turn with the ball.
This service has been a very rewarding experience because I get to see players improve not only their basketball skills but also their confidence.
This summer I volunteered at the Trevor Zoo in Millbrook, NY. At the Zoo, I worked directly with the animals and helped prepare their food and feed them. My main task however, was cleaning their enclosures daily because the animals require significant upkeep to ensure their health. I was also sometimes tasked with weeding and clearing brush around the enclosures. My favorite part was doing enrichment activities where I had the chance to interact with wild animals such as the red panda, fox, and porcupine. Working at the Zoo provided me with a behind-the-scenes view into the operations of a zoo, and let me see firsthand the role zoos play in animal rehabilitation and conservation.
I volunteered 16 hours over 2 weeks in Delhi at the Blind Relief Association. There, I made candles (called diyas) and bags for their main fundraiser, the Diwali bazaar. I also interacted with the students in the multi training course. At the blind school, I had the opportunity to attend a graduation there. It was so heartwarming to see the kids singing “We Shall Overcome”, because they truly have overcome so many challenges. It was my second summer volunteering at the Blind School. At the end of our time at the Blind School, my sister Anya and I made a film about our time there.
Back in NYC, I volunteered 5 weeks with the Coalition for the Homeless. I went on the Thursday night downtown food van which stops at 7 places between 7 and 10 at night. At those stops, the other volunteers and I passed out soup, bread, milk and oranges to people in need of food. I love volunteering with the Coalition because it is so rewarding to see all the people we help truly grateful for us. It was my second summer working with the Coalition and I definitely want to continue doing it. Some of the stops were much bigger than others, including in Chinatown where the line would sometimes be up to 100 people long.