Monday, March 22, 2010

Blake's Article About City Year Miami Alternative Break

Check it out:

Spring Break in Miami was filled with the sun, the beach and community service. Last week I participated in an alternative Spring Break trip to Miami with 45 students, 15 of which were from Towson. The rest were from the University of Maryland, George Washington University and Wayne State University in Michigan.
The trip was sponsored through Hillel, the Jewish organization on campus, who partnered with City Year, a group of volunteers that devote a year of their life to community service.For our week of service we did volunteer community work in the morning and in the afternoon. We also mentored students at an elementary school.
We woke up bright and early each day and headed out to the community center where we built benches, painted a gym, painted/drew murals, painted four square courts and visited two senior citizen homes. We helped serve food to the elderly who either could not make food for themselves or were homeless. The people were so thankful for the food and our company.
Every afternoon we were partnered with a buddy from an afterschool program. I was matched with a nine-year-old that was funny, outgoing and in love with computers, he owns a Mac. I helped him with his homework and helped prepare him for his test. We played games, wrote poems, had two field days and played kickball. I also made sure he was thinking about his future. My buddy and I really connected. Everybody thought that he was just like me. We plan to keep in touch.
We also heard various speakers. Some talked about homelessness in Miami, another speaker discussed Haitian immigrants. Finally a Rabbi talked about our impact on the community. It was amazing that we could make such a difference in only a short amount of time.
We did get a bit of free time. Some of us went to the Heat vs. Spurs game. We also got to go to go to the beach for about three hours on Friday.
It really touched me to realize one person, with the help of many individuals, could make a huge and powerful difference in not only a community, but in the world, since the organization we were partnered with has volunteers all throughout the world.
Spring Break in Miami was filled with sunny days, rewarding work and meaningful connections to the community that we helped. You should try an alternative break. I think that you will find it to be a week well spent.

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