God’s Love We Deliver

On Sunday, November 24, I participated in the God’s Love We Deliver race in Central Park with my mother and a few friends. This was the 20th annual race, where all proceeds go to benefit God’s Love We Deliver. God’s Love We Deliver is a New York charity which brings hot meals to those that are home bound. Each runner pays a joining fee, and can make an additional donation. You can also get other people to pledge money for your run towards the God’s Love charity. The run was four miles in Central Park and the temperature with wind chill it was expected to be 15°.
I was about to start the winter track season, so this was a great motivation. That morning my mother and bundled up in as many layers as it was possible to run in and went down to Central Park. There we got our numbers and clipped them to our jackets. From there we went to the starting line and the race began. It was so motivating to be surrounded by all of the other people, but it became hard to catch your breath at times because it was so cold. My goal was to run it in under fourth minutes and with the help of some great motivational friends who ran it with me, I did it in 37 minutes. It was really satisfying to run for a good cause and I know I will definitely be doing this event next year. After Running

Friendship Circle Summer Camp

Submitted by Nell, Jane and Laura:

“Stewardship is a coming together of our major testimonies.”  At least that is what John Woolman thought—even though he said these words all the way back in1770, they still hold true today.  His words challenged us to think about  the ways that we actually live the testimonies through the relationships we have with others. How can the testimonies that are so much a part of our Quaker education be manifested through stewardship?

We decided to spend  a part of our summer working with a population that is often marginalized—a group of human beings whose light often is not admired—though it should be. We decided to work with autistic children through the organization Friendship Circle.

Overview of Program:

This summer we volunteered at the Friendship Circle Summer camp for one week. The Friendship Circle is an organization that strives to help children with autism by creating opportunities for them to interact with others through educational and fun activities. The organization utilizes teenage volunteers who help run these programs and act as counselors who encourage the children to participate in them. During the year, the Friendship Circle offers weekend programs such as the Sunday Circle and Friends At Home to continue to help these children during the school year.  Click on the links to learn more about the programs they offer.  The summer camp we volunteered at was five and a half days long and consisted of various activities in art, cooking, sports and music. We also went on a two trips to the Intrepid and an arcade! Each volunteer was assigned to a child with autism and helped them throughout the week. By the end of the camp we all had bonded with our “special friends” and made a real connection with them.

Nell with Justina and Julia on a toy boat at the Intrepid

Nell with Justina and Julia on a toy boat at the Intrepid

Nell:  Going into the Friendship Circle camp I was a little unsure of what to expect because I had never volunteered with kids with autism before. I found out about the program through the Oblivion where it was listed under summer community service. After meeting my buddy and doing some arts and crafts, I really was amazed at how well we both interacted. My buddy really enjoyed soccer, dancing and music and felt great helping her through these programs. She also loved going to the Intrepid museum and interacting with the exhibits. After the camp ended I felt like I really accomplished something great and helped someone who really needed it. My buddy and I were able to interact and learn from each other which was an interesting experience. Overall, I really enjoyed the program because I was able to gain a new perspective and learn more about autism.

Jane and Justina pose for a picture

Jane and Justina pose for a picture

Jane:  I was nervous when I arrived at the Friendship Circle camp on Sunday. I wasn’t sure what my experience for the next five and a half days would be like because I had never worked with an autistic person before. However, after Justina and I met, talked and did an art project together I had a better sense of what it is to be autistic. Although autistic people have a hard time connecting with others, it is not impossible. That was shown to me in the times she would take me dancing around the room (she loved dancing) or when we would work on an art project. We also has a great time at the Intrepid together, as shown in the first four pictures.  It was a great experience to learn about autism, and how, over time, an autistic teen can learn to connect with others.  I learned a lot from Justina, and I would recommend working at the Friendship Circle for a fulfilling experience working with peers of a similar age but with totally different life experiences.


Julia and Laura with a plane.

Julia and Laura with a plane.

Laura:  I first heard of Friendship Circle through the non-profit day at Friends last year.  I volunteered at their Sunday Circle program on Sundays during the school year, and the director encouraged me to be a counselor in her camp. As it turned out, Jane and Nell had heard about the opportunity as well, so it was great to have Friends well represented!  On the first day, I was extremely excited to meet my “special friend.” All I knew was that her name was Julia and she wore glasses.  When I finally met her, I realized that I knew her from volunteering at Sunday Circle.  She seemed to recognize me, but kept on repeating “I’m being shy.”  However, throughout the week I got to know Julia better as we did fun activities like art, water sports, and baking. Soon, she opened up, and when she said that she was being shy, I was able to reply, “Don’t worry, you’re not being shy Julia!” One of the highlights of my time volunteering was our trip to the Intrepid.  It was amazing how Julia’s eyes lit up when she could interact with exhibits and make her signature peace sign pose in all of the pictures I took.  Oddly enough, my other most memorable moment with Julia was when she threw a tantrum at the end of the day because she didn’t want to go home.  It was stressful in the moment because she was screaming and I had to figure out a way to convince her to leave. I had never seen her cry before! However, I realized afterwards she was upset about leaving because we had had a really great time together.  And it dawned on me that it was difficult for me to say goodbye too. I had learned so much from her and it was her light that allowed me to see so much about myself and my place in the world. So I hope I can keep in contact with Julia at Sunday Circles throughout the year!

Julia's signature peace sign.

Julia’s signature peace sign.



Rick’s Summer Service with the Friends’ Shelter and God’s Love We Deliver

student  dinner for Friends Shelter

This Summer, in a goal to assist in combating New York City hunger and poverty, I worked with two organizations on a few separate occasions.  On two days I worked with God’s Love We Deliver, whose mission is to transport food to unfortunate individuals who are unable to acquire it on their own. Throughout these two days I met many different people, with many different ages, all quite amiable and grateful.  One was a nice French Man whose intercom system wasn’t working so he had to walk down several flights of stairs to greet us.  Despite the inconvenience, he couldn’t have been friendlier and gladly accepted the meal. Another was a man who had been with the organization for sixteen years and lived in a building with an elegant courtyard where a pond of turtles was present in the center.  With every single person I delivered to, each one had a warm face and an expression of gratitude whenever I greeted them.  My experience with this organization brings to light the vast amount of happiness that can accompany an action as simple as a merely bringing someone a bite to eat.  In addition, many of these individuals’ apartments were located in gloomy, dated buildings.  The glee that I was met by with each person illustrates that one does not need to live a baronial lifestyle in order to be happy and content in life.

I also served with the Friends’ Shelter, an organization which provides a place to sleep and an evening meal for the homeless.  On each of the three days I served, I cooked (with my mother and house keeper) a vegetable, a main course, and a desert.   We always baked a 3-4 layer lasagna, as this was the recommended food and could easily serve however many people were going to turn up.  We cooked broccoli twice and asparagus once, each with garlic, salt, and other seasonings added.  For desert, we prepared a chocolate cake with vanilla icing twice and brownies once.  We then delivered the food to the shelter (also known as the common room) where 10-12 made up beds were set up for anyone who wished to spend the night.The only people present at the time were the individuals who volunteered to stay for the night and make sure everything went as planned.  The individuals who used the facility would appear later in the night.  They were very thankful to receive the meal and wished us a goodnight.

This summer I feel as if I have contributed in combating the issue of city-wide hunger and have gained a newfound comprehension of how to make an impact.  I now also understand that small acts of kindness can go a long way in benefiting someone’s life.  With this knowledge I have the ability to continue to make strides in assisting to resolve the problem of hunger not just within the community but on a global scale as well. I encourage others to sign up and bring a meal to the Friends Shelter. Sign up HERE.

Nell’s Service Reflection

my neighbours house

This year in History class we studied the Millennium Development goals, eight goals to be completed by the UN by 2015 ranging from global primary education to environmental sustainability. After researching specific goals, we communicated with the Kisyoro School in Uganda, located in a Millennium Village. We sent the students voice threads of our school and engaged in online dialogues about the various MDGs. We were also able to screen a new documentary in the meetinghouse called Girl Rising. This film discussed the benefits of educating girls throughout the world. All proceeds from this event went to a scholarship for a student to attend the Kisyoro School for 3 years. The 9th grade held two bake sales prior to the screening as well. In total we were able to raise almost enough money for two students to attend the school. I really enjoyed participating in this project and found it to be very informative as well as enjoyable. Actually talking with other kids aided by the UN’s program helped put the effects of the MDGs into a new perspective. I was really grateful to learn about this project as well as help to make a difference in another student’s life.

To learn more about the Millennium Development Goals visit the UN’s website at: www.un.org/millenniumgoals

India’s Girl Rising Service Reflection

        This year the ninth grade student body participated in a project that helped to raise funds to send a girl in Uganda to school on a scholarship. Participating in this project I was able to fully realize and appreciate the issues that girls face in developing nations in regards to education, and how much an education can be taken for granted in areas where nearly all girls have the opportunity to a go to good schools and learn. Helping to plan and carry out bake sales as well as helping out at our actual ‘Girl Rising’ screening in the meeting house along with many other ninth graders at Friends was a truly rewarding and eye-opening experience. Our school was able to attain it’s goal of funds to send a girl to school after finishing the various activities and projects held for the project, and not only funding, but messages from the student body at friends to the students attending the Kisyoro School in Uganda were able to be delivered by hand. Being a part of such an amazing project truly allowed me to reflect on how much an education can do for one person, and how largely one organized project can impact the life of someone who may be thousands of miles away. Not only through this fundraising project, but also work with the MDGs in our World History Class allowed me the time to learn more about the problems that people face globally, and helped me to see all the different ways in which people are making an impact and attempting to change the situations faced by people all over the world, particularly in developing nations. This experience of participating in the Girl Rising project was one of the most memorable and rewarding that I have experienced this far in my time at Friends Seminary, and I truly believe that the work we did as a ninth grade class was able to make a life-changing difference in the world of one girl miles away, but also a major change in the way that I view and value education here at Friends Seminary.

Tom’s Service Reflection

In World History 1, the ninth grade participated in a research study on the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and the Millennium Development Villages. The Millennium Development Goals are eight targets that were set by the U.N in 2000 in an attempt to better the world. These goals include improving education, promoting maternal health, and reducing poverty. The Millennium Development Villages were created for a solution to the MDGs. Various villages were set up in extremely rural areas hoping to provide not just an answer for present problems, but also to make the villages self-sustainable for the future and not require external help. By participating in this research project I was able to greater understand the large leaps that need to be made to increase the planet, and the large leaps that were taken. The ninth grade also communicated with a school in Kisyoro, Uganda. The communications were through voicethreads, and blogs on the MDGs. Through speaking with the girls at the school we were able to learn views on the MDGs from a different angle, as well as learning about their daily life, which was in stark contrast to ours.

I helped participate in the Girl Rising event by baking goods for the bake sale, attending the event and spreading the word about it. Through this I, as well as many other people, were able to help share it with a larger group of people, and get more people thinking about education for girls throughout the world. To me, the project seemed better with this aspect as it managed to actively get people involved.

Girl Rising Screeningimage

Working with the Kisyoro School

This year in history nine we were able to work with the Kisyoro School in Ruhiira Uganda. We wrote a banner, researched the cause, made voice threads, and participated in a forum to learn and interact with the girls at school. We also had bake sales and screened girl rising to raise money for a scholarship program ran by connect to learn. It was an inspiring project that show me that against all odds someone can make their dream come true. It’s amazing to think that baking cupcakes hundreds of miles away can help a girl get an education. We also watched a few videos of the girls from the school and saw that many wanted to use their education to give back to their community. This project has given me an opportunity to improve the life of a girl and help her accomplish what seemed impossible.

Camille Fillion-Raff- Girl Rising

This year, the ninth grade learned about the Millennium Development Goals in history class. The Millennium Development Goals are eight objectives that were established by 193 United Nations member states and 23 international organizations. These goals were created to help develop and improve conditions in impoverished countries by 2015.We partnered with the Kisyoro school, an all girls school, in Ruhiira, Uganda for a better understanding of the work that the Millennium Promise Organization has put into progressing the Millennium Development Goals. We partnered with the Millennium Promise Organization called Connect to Learn to raise enough money to give a girl in Uganda a scholarship to the Kisyoro School.
By holding two bake sales before the premier, having a bake sale during the premier and the generous donations of the people who came to watch the film, we were able to collect enough money ($1800) to provide a girl with a scholarship at the Kisyoro School. We hope that this girl has a great future in learning at the Kisyoro School.
This was a great opportunity for everyone in the ninth grade because we were able to use our prier knowledge of the works of the Millennium Development Goals and at the same time actually improve the life of an impoverished girl in Uganda. Almost every ninth grade student helped raise money or participated in watching the moving documentary. It is a life changing movie and gives great insight into the lives of some girls that live around the world.

World history service learning reflection

Over the course of the school year our history class has been integrated with service learning. We started our service by discussing the Millennium Development Goals. The MDGs are eight goals created in 1990 to eradicate extreme poverty by 2015. Then, we spent time researching one goal. I chose the sixth goal, combat HIV, AIDS and other diseases. After writing a paper, I do not believe the goal will be met. There is too much work to be done to prevent HIV and AIDS by 2015. I enjoyed participating in planning and being on the Girl Rising panel. Not only did we spread awareness by screening Girl Rising, but with the funds we raised we also made a difference. Communicating with the Kiysoro school through Voicethread was powerful as it showed that the struggle to girls’ education is not a hopeless cause.

It was rewarding when we counted the money and had exactly $1800 (and 42 cents), enough to send a girl to school for a complete three year high school education. Adults constantly encourage us by saying young people can change the world, however, it is sometimes difficult to believe. Raising money for a girl’s scholarship through bake sales and screening a movie proved how much of an impact we can make if we are dedicated.


Stepping Stones

Over spring break, I returned to Stepping Stones daycare after attending there during my nursery and Pre-K years to help with the children and tidy up around the building. When I was there I helped lay down cots which are plastic woven bed designed for smaller kids to sleep during nap time. I also swept dirty places in and out of the building as well as taking out garbage from each classroom. Along with those other takes, I brought the lunch from the kitchen to every classroom which sped up the lunch process to help nap time come sooner for kids. While being there I noticed the flow of everything throughout the building went met much faster and I felt like I was actually making an impact unlike other service opportunities I have participated in.

While at my old daycare, the experience was a very unique one because of the how annoying and obnoxious the kids seemed. Sometimes the teachers would lose patience very rapidly with the children and they would have to raise their voice or put them separate from their students. Also the students would snitch on other students for ANYTHING to get them in trouble. There would be points when I would think “wow these kids are very annoying” but then I noticed that I saw a little of my self in those kids because I was just like them when I was young and that they would think the same thing when they get older. It made me realize how much I have matured.