Many of our students are regular volunteers at Amsterdam Nursing Home every Sunday, however, this does not generate quite as much excitement as our favourite day of the year, Pie Day. Thus with Pie Day still seven months away we decided it was time for another large-scale community service project. Our Community Service Super Sunday featured not one, but three community service opportunities for our students with many students participating in multiple events throughout the day.
The day kicked off preparing brunch at Grand Central Neighborhood Shelter. Preparing brunch has long been a favorite event in the Project Rousseau calendar and many students were delighted to return to the kitchen. Over the course of the morning everyone worked together to make a delicious brunch of scrambled eggs, bacon, turkey sausages and waffles.
Whilst volunteering the students also take the time to talk to the clients of the shelter and through these conversations they learn about the many problems facing the homeless in NYC. Many were particularly interested to learn that those they were serving also shared their academic interests and aspirations, including one resident who was returning to her degree at Columbia University!
Whilst some students prepared brunch others carried out our regular community service offering at Amsterdam Nursing Home. Eager not to let the residents, many of whom have become good friends, down they provided our usual Sunday morning entertainment of board games and conversation.
Our two groups then converged at Project Rousseau's office to participate in a partnership with the "Little French Books" project, with one twist, our books would be written in English! The aim of this project is for the students to write their own picture books to send to children in need in developing countries, in this case to our good friends at AMAF School just outside of Nairobi, Kenya. Throughout the afternoon our students worked in small groups to develop culturally appropriate storylines for their books, ideas ranged from alternative uses for yams to the animals of the savannah working together to solve a problem!
Community Service Super Sunday certainly reinforced to our students that there are many ways in which they can work together to improve the lives of others both in their local communities and further afield! In total, 164 hours of Community Service was completed in one day alone and we look forward to expanding our range of community service offerings in the future to continue to enrich the lives of others whilst developing key skills and learning about ourselves.