Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Miami, Day 1

We started our day by having breakfast as a group downstairs in the hotel. Then we loaded up the buses and went on a forty- minute drive to the Senior Care Program, where we spent the morning with senior citizens. When i say 40 minutes I mean it was supposed to be 40 minutes... But after a medical glitches and quick pit stop at the local family clinic we were finally on our way. Once we got to the Senior Center the students and clients got an instrument and we all introduced ourselves through a name game. A lady who was 104 years old even sang to us. Then we sang karaoke for them including songs like "I Will Survive" which in hindsight may have been a bit off-color for the centogenarians in the audience. We also had time to share our stories with the elderly, despite the language barrier of Spanish and English. Then we went to a local park and ate lunch with a side of tanning! Then we drove to visit an after-school program in Liberty City. There, we heard Alison Austin, the CEO, talk about The Freedom School and the importance of giving back to society and helping the impoverished communities. Then we learned a little "harambee" and the"good job" cheer that we sang with the students. If nothing else, the afternoon offered further proof that white jewish kids got no rhythm but a lot of chutzpah. After a fun afternoon, we got on the bus to University of Miami Hillel and had some excellent Kosher pizza for dinner. We heard stories from the "Faces of the Homeless" program, a branch of AmeriCorps. Three people shared their personal accounts of being homeless and how they rose above it to become strong members of society. Then we separated into our respective schools to reflect on our day and what we thought about poverty, giving back, and volunteering. It was overall an emotional and inspiring day full of fun and laughter!

Aimee Epstein

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