As a part of my service this year I took photos of It’s my Park Day in Stuyvesant Park, a park that we are all very familiar with and is important to the Friends Seminary Community. It was nice to see everyone who attended working hard and actually finishing the work that we had to do well ahead of schedule. Everyone was happy to work together to be as efficient as possible. One of the photos is attached.
This past year, I spent many hours working as an administrative assistant at Beth Israel hospital. What an experience! While learning a lot about hospitals and medicine, I was able to help people by becoming an ever important piece of the hospital. I could really feel the good I was doing even in my bones. Even though I directly helped no one physically, by working j was able to speed up the quality of patient care. Furthermore, I was able to gain a lot of knowledge about medicine as a whole making this experience even more rewarding.
I watched the film Girl Rising and learned about the struggles of girls trying to get a basic education in various countries. I also learned that educating girls can have a huge positive impact on society by reducing global poverty. Girl Rising was actually the most inspiring movie I have seen. Afterwards, I wrote a message on a banner to a girl that Friends Seminary is supporting to go to school. I wrote her words of encouragement so that she will continue to be strong and strive for her dreams. I am a big supporter of her and all others fighting for their rights of education. I also envy her because it takes a lot of courage to uplift yourself and fight against the majority. I recommend to anyone and everyone that they see Girl Rising.
by Phillip Messineo
Earlier this year, I attended a conference held by Ban the Bag, an organization who is petitioning local governments to reduce use of plastic bags. They have identified plastic bags as causing immense harm to the environment, since they are so difficult to dispose of properly. This organization’s work can help everyone, since environmental problems are immersive. In particular, their work would help organisms living in and around ocean ecosystems, since small pieces of plastic get into the ocean, and subsequently enter the food chain. What I did specifically was attend the conference and listen to the panel speak about this issue. Having a presence of listeners is vital because it gives the members of the panel the idea that people are motivated and involved with this issue.
From this experience, I gained knowledge of the harmful effect of plastic bags. This knowledge lead me to question my own use of the bags. I was also impressed by what the members of the panel were saying in their discussion, they showed that this issue is not taking a back seat.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Friends Seminary organized a field day in which students, parents, and faculty could all travel out to Midland Beach on Staten Island and assist families whose lives had been destroyed. We worked all day clearing out homes of garbage and debris.
As one of the last sufferers from the same storm, I feel an emotional and sentimental connection to the unfortunate victims of Hurricane Sandy. In fact, I refer to myself as a victim. However, seeing with my own eyes, how much worse Sandy (whom I now treat as an omnipotent being) treated them gave me a fair amount of retrospect as to how fortunate I am. Though condemned, my home still stands. Not many people from Staten can say the same. I can only imagine the tumultuous feelings that still must be whirring around the heads as Sandy victims try and grasp the true tragedy which they experienced. I know that I am still angry. I am looking forward, however, to moving forward. I feel good that I came out of it intact and helped those worse off than me. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to give back, first hand, to those with whom I am proud to consider kin.
This summer I worked at Columbia University Medical Center on 168th street and Broadway in the Division of Nephrology & Rheumatology. For those of you that don’t know, nephrology is the study of the function and diseases of the kidney. What I loved about my service was that I had a huge array of tasks. I worked under a nephrologist and the regulatory manager of the division so I essentially did whatever I was assigned. My jobs ranged from taking the height and weight of patients, to entering notes, to making graphs, to organizing clinical study binders to organizing entire closets full of medical equipment. Overall, I spent the majority of the time either helping out in an appointment or making graphs showing creatinine levels over time for patients on a trial medication. I made sure that patients were comfortable and did what I could to aid the doctors. This helped to move appointments along and the doctors were pleasantly surprised that we fit in more patients than they had imagined! That was by far the most fun. While I was doing some of the other work like sorting various syringes I wasn’t thinking about what an incredible opportunity I was having and how much I was learning.
My absolute highlight of the experience was one day after I had seen patients with the doctor and a medical student the medical student said I could go on rounds with him. I got to go to every intensive care unit in the hospital and visit every patient that had something off about their kidney as indicated on their sheets. This was incredibly difficult to see people in such awful conditions but helping them and talking to them was more rewarding than anything I have ever done. Later that day I went home and sobbed for quite I while but once I pulled myself together I realized just how far I had come. I had learned that you cannot take anything in life for granted because life is so short and you have to savor every minute of it and savor your health as best as you can because you are so lucky to have it. This was a turning point in which I realized that because of my good health I should give back all the time to those less fortunate. I want my way to be through providing medical services. That one day has changed my entire life focus. I am looking in to colleges with good pre-med programs now which is something I would have never imagined doing in the past. Before I had started working in the hospital I worked with a pediatrician for two weeks which showed me how much I love working in a hospital. Everything feels like a group effort and your work seems so important and the feeling of helping people in need is just the best thing. I really could not have asked for a more rewarding community service experience.