Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Discovery Program Closing

Our final day of adventures was some of our most rewarding and fun yet! We explored eastern Long Island, the south shore, and even ventured into Queens. In the evening we came together and were surprised with a Hunger Banquet instead of our typical dinner. At first most of us were upset that we had only rice to eat, but by the conclusion of the program we were humbled and motivated to at the very least change our own food wasting habits if not to go out into the community. Now for what we accomplished throughout the day…   

We take many aspects of our lives for granted. For example, our nice homes, caring and warm families, and even the very food we consume multiple times on the daily. Do we ever think about how important the simple item we hold in our hand is as we watch our daily dose of television? We eat and forget about it. We do not even think about what goes into our mouths. Forty-four percent of the entire earth’s population has to fight to get a single meal, and usually that meal doesn’t have nearly enough nutritional value needed to live. Today, we visited Homes for the Homeless and cared for children there. We made the children feel loved. We painted the walls of the shelter to make the place a little brighter, so that maybe their temporary home can actually feel like a home instead of a renovated motel. We sorted over two hundred and fifty backpacks so that the very children we played and talked with could go to school with the supplies they needed. Today we learned. We learned how to be grateful for every aspect of our lives. From the Hunger Banquet to the showing of The Pursuit Of Happiness, our experiences and the people leading us gave us a valuable lesson in never taking anything for granted. So be grateful everyone, because our lives are our gifts to us and we should never take anything for granted.

At 6:30 am, while the sun was still hiding, fourteen grumpy Hofstra students rolled out of their beds and onto a bus bound for Wading River, NY.  We were about to embark on what would become easily our most eye-opening day yet.  The social awareness path participated in an annual service project to create a summer camp experience for homeless and impoverished children.  We arrived on site to be immediately thrown into the fray.  Although the day had a rainy start, the arrival of the children brightened our day, and the weather soon seemed to follow suit.  We swam, played Frisbee, hunted for treasure, listened to pirate stories, and did arts and crafts. The children were overjoyed and grateful. At the end of the day each child left with a book bag filled with new clothing and school supplies for the upcoming year. As we watched the children receive items, that we often take for granted, with joy and enthusiasm we were overwhelmed by the struggles that they face.  We arrived back at Hofstra hungry and exhausted only to be confronted with another example of the harsh realities that many live within the world.  The hunger banquet demonstrated the unequal distribution of resources in the world.  80% of the discovery program was subjected to eat nothing but a bowl of rice for dinner.  We were both shocked and awed by how often we take for granted the food and resources readily available to us.  At the end of the day we feel overwhelmed by our many realizations from today, but motivated by it in our goal to make a lasting difference for those less fortunate than us.

Ready for another day on the job, our group quickly realized that today's tasks were not really tasks at all, but rather adventures. The schedule read fishing trip, and we were all excited to be out on the water on the south shore of Long Island with the outdoor exploration path. First mate Jon displayed his exquisite fishing skills, showing us all that it is possible to catch fish at a speed of approximately twelve fish per second. But seriously, he caught like twenty fish. Everyone else caught seaweed. No just kidding, most people caught a couple fish and some crabs. We had a great time and the weather was gorgeous. We returned to Stuyvesant, and engaged in a new activity: setting up the new student garden. The garden will be dedicated this Friday to our Hofstra hero Will Allen. We worked with the hope that we'll all have plenty of radishes for Thanksgiving.


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