Alternative Break 2013: Service in the City
From June 10th to June 14th, eight NYIT students were selected to attend the domestic Alternative Break program called Service in the City.The program was developed within the Career Services Office by Amy Bravo and Rosalia Mannino. The program was designed to be a unique opportunity for NYIT students to learn about and engage in the diverse communities in which NYIT operates. Each day would have a different service component as well as leisure activity for the participants. The students were also able to stay in NYIT Riverside Terrace Residential Hall during their time in the city.
Day 1 Service in the City orientation in Career Services
(Top Row L-R: Edwin Castillo, Alanna Flowers, Syeda Labiqa Mujahid, Tyler Mengel, Dyesha Durm, Paul Alberton, and Rosalia Mannino Bottom Row L-R: Ana Paula Nishimoto Ito, Thu Ha "Gracie" Le, Edric "E.J." Engalla, and Amy Bravo)
The week consisted of different service activities each day as well as a week long project for the Westside YMCA by NYIT on 63rd Street. On Monday, the students met up for orientation and then it was off to the YMCA to meet with Molly Delano to discuss their Global Teens program that sends high school students on trips around the country and world to provide service and enriched learning experiences. The YMCA Global Teens program wanted NYIT to develop or propose a social media platform that allowed the students to do online journaling.
NYIT Students meeting with Global Teens South Africa group
NYIT Students pictured with other NY Cares volunteers at Randall's Island Park
On Tuesday, the students went to Randall's Island Park to help remove an invasive and non-native plant species known as mugwort (Artemis vulgaris) to allow the other plants to grow and flourish. This plant is of Asian origin and grows aggressively along their Bronx Kill Salt Marsh. By weeding over 5 carts of mugwort from the soil, the other native species will survive. This opportunity was found through NY Cares, the city's largest volunteer organization, running volunteer programs for 1,300 nonprofits, city agencies, and public schools. To find out more about NY Cares and how to become involved in your community through NY Cares, check out their site at nycares.org. If you're interested in rescuing environments like the Randall's Island Park, visit their site to learn more about how you can help: www.randallsisland.org.
Wednesday, the students were challenged with their most physically and possibly emotionally demanding service project yet. They would be split into groups and help "Muck Out" homes that were effected by Hurricane Sandy. The project included pulling up flooring, removing insulation, damp wood, nails, and screws from damaged basements in homes in Rockaway and Gerritson Beach. Each team had a NY Cares team leader, and as a team they helped complete work on over two different households.
NYIT students all geared up for the "Muck Out"
NYIT students and other volunteers with NY Cares team leader Suzanne O'Rahilly
There is still so much work to be done and NY Cares is still seeking volunteers for Sandy Relief projects throughout the 5 boroughs. Create an account and an online orientation to be eligible to volunteer with NY Cares on any project that sparks your interest! How to get started with NY Cares: http://newyorkcares.org/volunteer/volunteer_opportunities/getting_started_2.php
Thursday, the NYIT Service in the City group presented to Molly Delano of the YMCA of Greater New York their proposal for the Global Teens online journaling. As a group decided that Google Hangouts, Google Drive, and Google Pages would be the best way to facilitate all the needs of the Global Teens as well as the staff, community partners, parents, and funders. Google Hangouts will allow for pre-trip planning meetings to be easy on students who might not be able to physically attend every meeting. With the ability to share files, presentations, and chat with up to 9 people at a time, the group will remain connected even if they're absent. Google Drive, a versatile and adaptable storage device built into the google platform, allows for you to share and create Microsoft compatible documents that others can edit in real time. The group decided that this would be a great way for the teens to write up their journal entries, save photos and videos from the trip, without worrying about accidental deletion or expiration. From there, all of this comes together in Google Pages in a way that allows the teens to look back on their journey through posted videos, photos, and journal excerpts that can be shared with their friends and family.
Service in the City group after their presentation