Last September, I walked in the JDRF 1 Walk with five of my camp friends. The JDRF non-profit stands for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The Foundation is catered specifically towards young people with the chronic illness of type 1 diabetes. I attend the Clara Barton Camp during the summer which is a camp for girls with this disease. There, I met these five great girls. Since our first summer at camp, the six of us have walked in the New York City based JDRF 1 walk. We even created our own team, called Barton’s Girls, where we raise money leading up to the walk. These donations go directly to research in the hopes of finding a cure.
Walking with my friends in our team this past fall was a fantastic experience. We raised quite a lot of money and walked across the Brooklyn Bridge together. My friends and I hope to continue this fight to find a cure and will be walking as the Barton Girls for years to come!
Over the summer I participated in a program in Costa Rica called Rustic Pathways. Within the program a significant portion of our time was dedicated towards community service. Our group helped a local community to build homes and keep their beaches clean. The process of helping a family build their homes was deeply moving to me. On our first day of helping to build we were introduced to the families that lived in the community. They were extremely open and were always there to help if you needed it. Over the course of my stay in Costa Rica, the group and I helped to construct another room for a home. The gratification that I received on the last day as I watched the kids I had become close with smile and yell in excitement at the new room of their home was immeasurable. Before we left from our final session of service the man who owned the property and had helped with construction came to me and said, “You always have friends here, if you ever need a place to stay my home is your home.” I will never forget the feeling that those words gave me.
Over the summer, I went to sleepaway camp in Pennsylvania for three weeks, and I’ve been going since I was ten years old. During the session I attended this year, there was a day of service. On this day, we got to individually choose an activity that would benefit either the camp community or people outside of the camp. As my contribution, I scrubbed and re-painted the main office because the paint was chipped and falling off. I felt that after all my camp had done for me throughout the past 6 years, I should do something for them in return. I have been extremely appreciative of the opportunities my camp has provided me, and giving back was a rewarding experience that I would be happy to repeat.
Coalition For The Homeless
For the majority of the school year, the 9th grade worked on a project partnered with the YPI. YPI (Youth Philanthropy Initiative) is a competition in the 9th grade to win a $5000 grant for the charity of our choice. My group chose Coalition for the Homeless, and although along the way we had some troubles settling on one charity, our experience with the Coalition was great. We visited their headquarters and had an amazing presentation that held all the information about the Coalition. We weren’t able to see their housing or food trucks, which are one of their biggest programs, however our focus was on their job training courses. We were interested in unemployment among the homeless community, so we focused mainly on their “First Step Job Training” Program. At first, I didn’t know much about homelessness or unemployment. I knew some vague details about this social issue, but once we sat down and did some research along with our site visit I was able to learn so much more about unemployment in the homeless community. Our site visit made me realize that not everyone has it easy, and we can actively help out in many ways, from just listening and informing people about our issue to volunteering or donating. Although we didn’t win the YPI, I would definitely volunteer for Coalition in the future and maybe help out in some of their other programs.