I am amidst the CYNY craziness! There is so much going on, and yet every time we pass strangers who “see the red jackets all the time” they always observe: “You guys have so much energy and you’re doing such good things.”
Last weekend we had two amazing service days back-to-back, Timberland Earth Day and Rising Point. Timberland is one of City Year’s national sponsors. Last Friday included a lot of dirty work. Personally, I was glad that NYC finally has the weather for so much outdoor service. We painted signs, built tree guards, spray painted existing metal tree guards, planted greenery, and joined forces with the Sustainable South Bronx to build a green roof. The service was fantastic! On Saturday the corps went to Hunts Point in the South Bronx for Rising Point. Once again, the service was transformational. We rejuvenated Lions Square Park, painted large signs that we hung on a bridge, cleared out a chicken coop (INTERESTING!), and painted a park house. Talk about a powerful weekend! (The weather also happened be be an amazing 75-80 degrees.)
Young Heroes is quite busy with their Saturday planning as well as their retreat with the students next weekend. The East Harlem teams have been planning for their Community Meeting (which is in about an hour and a half). All the teams are busy with their usual tasks, and now we’re all swimming in Legacy work. Every year each team creates a Legacy binder and/or PowerPoint to pass onto the in-coming team. It takes a lot of time to compile everyone’s input and put the year in-review, as you can probably imagine. A LOT of time goes into putting together a Legacy!
It should be no surprise that CYNY is totally busy! That’s what we call normal.
P.S. I included a picture of Diana, Marty, and me with our perfect paint station at Rising Point!
Last week was great! City Year New York had it’s first 100 HOP event, and I think it was very successful. I still haven’t had a chance to hear stories from other corps members, but from the small bits I get here and there, it sounds like the corps had a great time doing physical service with other teams. NYCE’s 100 HOP experience consisted of: organizing furniture at Furnish a Future, volunteering at a mobile market on Staten Island with City Harvest, spending time at the Ronald McDonald House, and taking part in the Closing Day service day in Long Island City.
I think my favorite service slot was the Ronald McDonald House. We had two sort of BBL lessons focused on music and food planned for the afternoon; however, we had fewer children than anticipated. With that, we modified and shortened the activities and just left time to play with the kids. After the story-time and abridged activities, I spent the rest of my afternoon with a little girl who joined the play room after her therapy. She didn’t speak much, but we spent our time drawing, looking at the fish tank, doing a puzzle, building towers with blocks, and many other things. She brought a smile to my face, and I’d like to think that “the new girl in the red jacket” made her smile too. Her mom just left her in my care while she used the Internet in the computer room.
In the years to come, I know that CYNY will continue to develop and improve the 100 Hours of Power event!
Last week I did some powerful service. OH yeah!
My service included 2 overnight shifts. On the first night I did some powerful prep work in the office. From 8pm to 7am I became a prep master. I was cutting, sketching, and painting like a madman. I’m not going to deny at around 3 am I became slightly dazed, but we continued on to complete like 8 murals for the kids’ carnival. It was fun working along side other members in City Year. It just reminds me to be thankful of my team.
The second night I served in a homeless shelter. I along with one other corps member stayed in a church rec area with a group of men. I had some nice conversation and really just enjoyed myself. Their humor about life made it was easy to forget the reason why they where there. To me they became a couple of guys just hanging out and chilling. We woke up the next morning and said our goodbyes and wished each other the best in life. It’s really hard to come away from situations like that and met people. It makes me feel a little more helpless because these were the same men I saw everyday on the train, whom I never paid any attention to. Now there is a story behind those faces for me. It makes it harder to say no. Has anyone else figured out how to do it?
Yours in service,
Bringing Books to Life lesson –
I believe that one of the best services that my team provides at PS 75 is Bringing Books to Life. We run 16 lessons a week from 1st through 4th grade. The amount of lessons that we’ve planned has been exhausting. I constantly find myself perusing through children’s book and lesson plans online in my free time; eavesdropping on other teams lessons plan and interrogating members of the corps for lesson ideas.
Back in November we ran a lesson on Helen Keller, it is one of my favorite lessons, in which we blindfolded the students down a hall and directed them into the library. There we tested the rest their senses through a series of activities. In one of the activities, I had the students cover their ears and try and listen to directions. I then started speaking to them in my native language, Tagalog, and asked them if they understood. The look on their faces were priceless, I was suddenly cool. Anyways at the conclusion of the lesson, during the debrief we went around the group and asked the students what they learned from the lesson. The students got really deep with their comments. One of them even said something along the lines of “Helen life was really hard, but she still did big things with her life. We should be more considerate of others and that I can do big things like Helen.”
The next week all the books in our library on Helen Keller were checked out.
Yours in service,
PS 75 Hunts Point