How quickly time flies! It is already the middle of the week. This is my third ASB trip, and just like the two previous ones, every day taught me sometime valuable that I will remember for the rest of my life. I absolutely love ASB and one of my favorite parts is seeing the team effort that comes out of all of us. Each trip, no matter what service or what community it is, requires a collaborative effort from the team. I love seeing that process happen and this week I was fortunate enough to see it happen in Community Servings in Boston.
My first day in the kitchen was a crazy one. I’ve never used a knife before and they assigned me to chop carrots. I was terrified of the huge knife I was swinging down on those big carrots. But I conquered my fear by asking lots of questions and seeking feedback on how I was doing by asking my team members. Slowly, I became more comfortable with the big knife and chopping carrots became fun, haha. I worked in the assembly line in the afternoon to prepare about 400 more food trays. I didn’t realize how tiring it is to stand in one line for 4 hours. But no matter what I did, I always worked in a team and things were accomplished quickly. This whole kitchen is a team — without the team, Community Servings would not be able to serve its 850 clients daily.
The level of details that the organization puts into the appearance of each food item that they prepare amazed me. I learned that it’s really important to make the clients feel that they are being cared for and that we’re not just slopping some food into some dirty trays for them. I feel that I’m connecting my emotions to the clients through the amount of sincerity, dedication, and attention that I put into preparing all the food ranging from pies to fruits to cereal to soup. The second day, I had to cut about 50 pies into 8 pieces each. This is only my second day of using a knife, but I wanted to make each slice of pie look really neat and clean. I took my time cutting them and eventually my skin started becoming irritated from all the cutting. My wrists were tired, but I kept going anyways. I wanted each client to enjoy the pie and feel happiness from the deliciousness of this food. I’ve gained that if the clients don’t want to eat the food, then all of our efforts go to waste. Thus, the aesthetics of each detail is really important and crucial. Also, the food they’re receiving is rich in nutrients that is extremely beneficial to their health. It’s not just “rice and beans” because the beans had to be specially protein prepared before they add it to the rice. These food will help the clients absorb the pills better in their digestion systems. But even more importantly, I want the clients to feel that there are people who care about them. They are not alone in this world. In this case, I’m showing them my emotions through the prepared food. I know they are able to feel it through our nutritious and carefully prepared and packaged food.
I closed the lids for about 1200 containers of fruit cocktail and apple sauce this morning. In this process, I’ve learned that Community Servings also caters to charter schools and high schools. This is one of their ways of earning money to buy more food and supplies for Community Servings. Although the food was only for charter schools and high schools, I was still carefully wiping away the sides of the containers and making sure each package was beautifully and neatly prepared. I’ve realized that the lessons, observations, and genuine sincerity of this kitchen really found its roots in me. The clients who have HIV or other chronic diseases really appreciate everything Community Servings has done for them. I feel fortunate to be a small part of process and work together as a team with the kitchen staff and my Lafayette friends on this trip to learn, help, and give back to the Boston Community. I truly look forward to going to Community Servings every day. Wish time would pass by more slowly because I would love to do more for them!
It’s our last day here with the kids. We’re going to NYC tomorrow to relax and chill out. Today was just plain chaotic, haha. I was going crazy! We went to help United Way organize and sort clothing in the morning and there about 40 boxes of clothing that needed to be sorted through by size and gender. We had so so SO many orange blazers and black jeans lol. It was ridiculous. I never folded so many clothes in my life before!!!
We did an Easter Hunt with the kids in the afternoon. They were really happy when they found their eggs :) We also gave them supplies to decorate their own Easter Bags to put their eggs in. I met a wonderful kid today. He plays the drums so so SO well! He’s going to be famous one day, haha. He’s such a nice and sweet kid too.
One kid hugged me and cried today!! She didn’t want us to leave and she wouldn’t let me go…The kids here are so sweet and I hope that during the past few days, we made a difference in their lives. I’ll always remember my ASB NJ experience
Lastly, I love all my new friends and my ASB Lafayette Team! You guys are absolutely awesome and we better have reunions when we get back to Lafayette :)
Kiyah, Marisa, Mary, Kerri-Ann, Damilare, Taylor, Kelly, & Kate — <3 you all!!
Oh my god! I can’t believe that it’s day 3 already. Time really goes by so fast when you’re having the most fun :) When I told the part time staff that I really appreciated all their hard work for these kids and how impressed I am, I knew I had made their day. I really give them a lot of credit for working with these kids [150 kids and 3 full and 4 part time staff?! — that’s insane]. They told me that for some of these kids, lunch is the only meal they get to eat every day. I was so sad when I heard that. I got close with one particular kid and she became very attached to me [she wouldn’t even let me go get lunch lolol] But she started crying after I came back from lunch because she said she was hungry and she didn’t have anything to eat. Then the staff brought them some pizza, chicken, and bread and they ate happily. Piecing the its and bits of information that they tell me together, I can tell that they come from complicated family backgrounds. I want to be a role model for these kids and I realize that what we’re doing right now, giving them attention and inspiring them, might be a turning point in their life.
I spent most of my day working and organizing the art room with Kelly & Mary. It was very difficult to organize because there was just so much stuff!! But as a team, we worked hard and the room looked beautiful in the end :) I want the kids to feel happy and know that they can find their own art supplies without making a big mess, haha. One kid painted a drawing for me yesterday. I’m going to hang it on my wall :)
Big Shout Out to my ASB NJ Team again :) You guys are the best and together, we made so many new friends here and our bonds get stronger and stronger every day :)
Hey everyone! I can’t believe it’s Tuesday already. This week is just going to fly by so quickly. But the fun never ends :D There were a lot more kids today! I definitely got to interact with a few of them and knew their names by the end of the day. I stayed in the art room and painted beautiful drawings with the kids. It was very chaotic but I realized that these kids really crave and need individual attention to grow. The smiles on their faces really brightens up my day :)
I learned a little bit more about the Boys and Girls Club here — usually, around 160 kids per day would walk in through the doors and there are only 3 full time and 4 part time staff employed here. I was so shocked when I learned that. This place is essentially free for the kids — families only pay $14 a year. The mission of the Boys and Girls Club really inspires me and touched my heart. They provide so much for the kids and the families really appreciates everything that they do.
I also grow closer and closer to my team mates every day. I realize that each of them has his/her own unique personality and that’s what makes our ASB Team NJ so awesome!! We each add our own flavor to this trip and the experiences that we make here will always be with us forever :)
Big Shout out to my ASB Team NJ :) Love you all very much <3
Hello everyone!! :) Oh my god, I’m so excited to tell you about my first day at the Boys & Girls Club here in Newark NJ! Urban Poverty has always been the social issue that is closest to my heart and I’m so so so SO excited to embark on this wonderful trip with my peers from Lafayette College. I was placed in team Wolf Pack and we stayed at the Boys & Girls Club while others helped out with Sandy Relief. Today, a couple of team members and I decorated a bulletin board and drilled it into the wall!! It was pretty hard. But with our super good friend — Mr. T Square and his friend, the drill, we accomplished our mission!! Check out the pictures on facebook because it was pretty cool :) I never drilled anything before.Hanging up this bulletin board took a while before getting the whole thing straight and getting all the holes right, etc. It looked fabulous when it was done and we’re so proud of it!! I also made origami roses for the bulletin board that Kate made in the Games Room :)
I couldn’t sleep on the cots though, haha. I woke up at 5 AM and I started studying and reviewing neuroscience LOL! Yeah, I’m doing homework at 5 AM during a break LOL! This is so sad :)