Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Discovery Program Continues!

Day two of the Discovery Program was another great day! We were spread out all over Long Island and New York City continuing to explore our new home away from home. Each day we are learning new things, meeting new people, and becoming more acquainted with college life. Want to know what exactly what we were up to? Then keep reading!


We are all heroes. From the patrons of the Interfaith Nutrition Network (INN) soup kitchen to the volunteers that serve them, we all share in our passions and sacrifices. However, the protagonists of this life story are truly those who spend the most time, do the most work, and have the most open hearts. Our new friends, our fellow volunteers at the INN were absolutely remarkable. Every one of them was kind and compassionate, and ready to do anything for the people they were helping. The house manager, Toni, stood out as the brightest. She positively glowed in her passion, and exuded energy. Her attitude brightened the very walls of the INN. She gave us knowledge and confidence in our work, and our day was only made sweeter by the many thanks we received from those we were serving.  Not only did we cater food, but we prepared it, sorted donated clothes, household items, and school supplies for the boutique, where guests could gather what they needed for themselves and their families. There was a lot of work, and we made a definite dent for today, but it will all happen again tomorrow, and for many days to come. Many of us hope to go back and continue to make our mark, to grow and to learn.


Once upon a time, at 7:30 am, fourteen Hofstra students with a thirst for social awareness ventured from noisy bus to smelly subway to arrive in New York City, only to leave the country entirely.  At the United Nations headquarters, we discovered that 193 countries have come together in hopes of creating international resolutions.  There are 5 distinct councils that act like organs in the body of the UN.  The councils promote everything from standardized traffic light colors to peace between nations and communities.  We learned that “the UN was not created to take humanity to heaven, but to save it from hell.”  After a delicious lunch, we trekked toward our next adventure: sorting, organizing, and preparing clothing donated to aid the former service men and women of New York City who are unfortunately unemployed.  Although we did not interact directly with the veterans, we helped pave the path to success by helping to sort necessary interview appropriate apparel.  As we finally began the journey back to Long Island we reflected on a fulfilling and informative day.


With full water bottles, we set out on our second day. Today's mission was slightly different than yesterday's endeavor. Upon approaching our work site, we realized that the system is not fair to all of society. It warmed our hearts to meet the family that would soon live in the home we were helping build with Habitat for Humanity’s Nassau County chapter. We quickly understood the energy efficient features of the house: draft-proof windows, boron soaked blue jean insulation, natural gas heating, LED lighting, and air-tight walls and ceilings. We divided and conquered with our eggshell paint, rollers, and brushes, and quickly finished the painting portion of the day. Then, over one ton of flooring arrived. We covered three rooms with beautiful, glossy hardwood, despite some minor setbacks and frustrations. We felt accomplished to improve upon the work of previous volunteers and contribute to a family's home. In the spirit of leaving a house unfinished, we…


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