This summer I spent my summer in St. Louis, Missouri, where I interned at Epworth Children and Family Services. Specifically it was at the Drop In Center, working with their Older Youth Services department. Epworth is a well known facility that services a thousand different types of clients for many different things. The slogan on all of the promotional material is “To Help Children, Youth, and Families Move Toward Self- Sufficiency, by focusing on health, housing, education, and employment”. For 150 years this company has provided underprivileged youth, families in need and any other clients that who can benefit from their services. Understanding the needs of their clients and helping them surpass the odds to a better future is one of Epworth’s many goals they teach their staff. Epworth has created a system that advocates for the youth and families in need that have a safe place to transform their life.
Throughout this experience I’ve gained a better sense of community. Being around people who wants to make a difference in their community, no matter how small, is truly gratifying. The little things make the greatest impact. It may not seem like much, but there’s bonding in everything. You haven’t bond with someone till you’re sorted through piles of clothes, toys, makeup, books, and that sang and dance afterwards. Not because we were done but because there was pizza, and we were happy that there was pizza. In the end, we all learned that giving back in important.
This summer I worked in New York City at Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ), which is a non-profit organization for poverty-stricken children and families in Harlem, providing free support in the forms of parenting workshops, a pre-school program, three public charter schools, child-oriented health programs that serve approximately 13,705 children and 13,784 adults. The Harlem Children’s Zone Project has expanded the HCZ’s comprehensive system of programs to nearly 100 blocks of Central Harlem and aims to keep children on track throughout college and into the job market. The organization is made-up of about twenty two programs in total that ensure there are no gaps in-between one phase to the next. For instance if a student needs to take a year off before attending college, HCZ has created programs that will stick with the student during this time frame, in other words providing these students with a strong support group so they are held accountable to attend college in the future. The HCZ is “aimed at doing nothing less than breaking the cycle of generational poverty for the thousands of children and
Last May, I traveled with Alternative Breaks to New York for community service. During this service, I worked with Meals on Wheels who dedicate their time to provide food for the elderly of Manhattan. As I delivered the food to the seniors, I got a sense of fulfillment because I made them smile by providing them with food. Thus, I chose MDC’s Single Stop because I wanted to make a difference in my home campus by providing and assuring nourishment to those that do not have it just like I did in New York. As my first two years of college comes to an end, I wanted to leave a mark of my own here at home at Miami Dade College North Campus. During the month of September, I decided to partner up with a few of my peers to serve at MDC’s Single Stop.
Up until the day I discovered his family’s life I was never able to understand why he always seemed to be pessimistic. Despite all of the obstacles in his way Alexis is in college with me pursuing a better life for himself and his family. His story is one of very few success stories in Barrio Logan. The majority of our friends from middle school either never finished high school, were not eligible to apply to college, or decided not to attend due to a lack of resources. In Barrio Logan the cycle of life and the cycle of poverty go hand in hand. I believe my community along with other disadvantaged communities deserve more, not more than everyone else, but enough to live a dignified life. Education is said to be the great equalizer and I believe in that wholeheartedly. Everyone should have access to a post-secondary education regardless of culture, background, or socioeconomic status. For this reason I am dedicating my life to this cause. There are only a handful of people from my neighborhood with access to the resources and knowledge that I have as a college student. It is my civic duty and moral responsibility to help those in need. Change is being made at the community level, but it must also be made at the systemic
Not only do I contribute by raising funds, but I also devote my time babysitting the children in the shelter while their parents search for jobs. As many other individuals carry along with their busy schedules, I am still able to manage my time and help out my community. It’s a simple task of devoting a couple hours every so often, but also one that many others fail to take advantage of. It is one in which I do regularly, while most others do not.
As you imagined the youth center as you read this essay, is the youth center something that you would want to be apart of as a child, volunteer, or just as a supporter? Banks has took a lot of time and effort in his life to make the youth center what it is today. While I’ve only given you a taste of what the center brings there's just a whole lot more you’ll have to find out by following their website niyouthcenter.com and their facebook page
“I can honestly say that if it weren’t for StandUp For Kids, I’d have probably died a junkie on the streets”. (Brian, StandUp For Kids) StandUp For Kids has been helping children and young adult by giving sessions of counseling’s, providing meals, building relationships and leading them to a better future. 39% of the homeless population is young people under the age of 18. (About StandUp For Kids) Imagine how high the population would be if it wasn’t for this program. You’re giving these children a second chance in life, letting them know someone does care. Also think about the future doctors, lawyers, scientists and engineers that you can
“The staff here at Frances Slocum is very grateful every day for the selfless investment of time that the mentors give,” she said. “Many of these students have no other positive adult in their lives. For children in poverty, a significant relationship outside poverty may be the link to a better life.”
It was the sense of community and fulfillment that I experienced at my previous high school’s Interact club which motivated me to found Mountain House High School Interact, the first and largest community service organization at my
Columbia offers numerous communities, such as Camp Kesum, a supportive program for children whose parents have cancer, as well as Columbia Youth Adventurers, a program allowing children who come from families very similar to mine to foster self-esteem and learn to love education. I wish to join as many of these programs as I can manage, and to make a positive impact on children’s lives that will last a generation.
While at my on-site orientation for tutoring at the Center for the Homeless in downtown South Bend, the volunteer coordinator made a point of bringing up the center’s Montessori preschool program. It is very unique, and she was very proud of it. She then went on to explain why the program is so important. She said that the younger kids have the greatest chance of changing their ways. The earlier they start turning their lives around, the better the chance that they will break old harmful habits and start making new helpful ones.
Ten forty-six, on a late Saturday night. Instead of sleeping I was once again reading and editing my Teen Advisory Council (TAC) application for the Ronald McDonald House of Southern New Jersey. I still remember to this day how nervous I was; the application, the interview, and the phone calls. However, as I further refined each and every component, my nervousness slowly transformed into confidence. Next thing I knew I was sitting there with fifty other individuals, listening to the executive council’s strategy on how we were all going to help improve the council. It was at that point that I knew becoming a part of the TAC would provide the opportunity to help those in need while building my understanding on how such organizations achieve their goals.
I began working for ABCD Head Start as a Family Advocate because I have always had a passion for social justice. This passion was what pushed me to work in an environment where I could commit myself to making meaningful change in people’s lives. It wasn't until I was pursuing my bachelor’s degree that this passion became fully realized. During the course of my education I took classes in sociology, such as Working for Social Justice, psychology and cultural studies, that provided a unique comprehension of the various issues that underprivileged people face. I learned the mechanics behind their oppression, as well as the key roles that non-profit institutions play behind eradicating them. It takes more than passion to be able to navigate the various systems that are complicit in poverty and those that are in place to help eradicate it. Thanks to my education I am now keenly aware of the intersectionality between socio-economic status, race and gender, and that acute understanding allows me to use my passion and the resources provided by ABCD to make lasting change.