For the past couple months I have been volunteering at a basketball clinic in downtown Manhattan at a non-profit organization called Downtown Community Center. I worked as a coach with a group of fourth and fifth graders. This organization allows children to participate in sports-related activities even if they do not possess the monetary ability to compensate for the sessions. Here, I have helped children improve their basketball skills and abilities, either by assisting them when doing various drills or giving them pointers during their games. I developed many relationships with these children, often laughing on the sideline and sharing some of our basketball adventures. Many of these kids seemed to look up to me and the other coaches, taking what we said quite seriously. They listened intently anytime we were giving directions or instructions and they loved to play. Often it was difficult to get them out of the gym after the session had concluded. It was great to give children, some of whom could not normally afford these lessons, the opportunity to play basketball and advance their skills. It was a special experience to witness the improvement in these kids, and see their desire to get better and improve their competitiveness in games.
I went with the Upper School Choir to sing at Grand St. Settlement for the elderly. We also handed out cookies and made snowflakes with the members at Grand St. Settlement to decorate their recreation room for the holidays. Grand St. Settlement is part of the Baruch Elder Services Team (BEST) as a supportive service for seniors. Seniors can come to Grand St. Settlement to meet with other people in their age range as well as stay mentally and physically active while having fun. There is a wide variety of volunteer work available at Grand St. Settlement that include home visits, program activities, and escorting. You can contact Grand St. Settlement by calling them at 212-982-4171 or faxing them (if anyone still faxes) at 212-673-3552. You can also contact Grand St. Settlement to work with a partner organization to assist in the Head Start Program.
I had so much fun volunteering at Grand St. Settlement. The seniors were engaging, witty, and lively. There was one senior in particular who came up to dance as we were singing. Tucker’s surprised face was priceless as she danced over and gave him an enthused hit on the chest. Another member came up to the choir and led us in a song. I assisted a very sweet member of Grand St. Settlement as we made paper snowflakes. I taught her how to fold paper hearts and she taught me how to make paper reindeer, a process I will probably use next holiday season. I was touched when the senior I worked with took one of the snowflakes I made and slipped it in her book to decorate her room with. The seniors were so sad when we had to go, but I knew after all the fun I had that day I would definitely come to volunteer again.
The day after Christmas, my family and I went to the God’s Love We Deliver headquarters, where we were again greeted nicely by other volunteers like ourselves. However, today the facility was very quiet, meaning they were short handed for today. Thus, we received eight different individuals to deliver to, each with bags containing different food. All these people were located around the West Village. All of them were quite nice and friendly. One ninety-seven year old woman was a sculpter, and she invited us in to view them. They were quite impressive! Many had nurses and caretakers at their homes, who were also very happy to see us. These buildings, for the most part, were old but quite nice as well. A few were especially thankful of us delivering on the day after Christmas. When we told them we delivered on the day before as well, they almost teared up! It was truly a rewarding experience which I would gladly do again.
I worked with God’s Love We deliver for approximately three hours on ChristmasEve, delivering various meals to individuals who need them. When I arrived at the headquarters of this truly special company, I was warmly greeted by jovial employees, dressed in Santa-like costumes. Everyone seemed to be quite happy and jocular. My family and I were then given five bags containing food and another five bags which were entitled “Blizzard Bags”. These contained various toiletries among other things to assist the individuals in need. We then got into our car and drove throughout the Lower East Side. We then went to their apartments, where we were greeted with a huge smile. These people seemed to really appreciate our service. One man even tried to tip us, which we politely declined. The buildings for the most part, were quite dreary, but the people were lovely and caring. Even one man who could only speak French gave us the message that act of delivering the items really warmed his heart. In addition the bags were decorated from our school, which the individuals also enjoyed. This experience really assisted me in the comprehension that these numerous little acts can make a big difference in one’s life.