Hunts Point in Pictures

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Middle School I am doing City Year is in Hunts Point, a neighborhood in the South Bronx. Today we served at a Back to School Fair for the families of Hunts Point. I have never been to a "fair" like it before. It was unique... to say the least. I ran the binder building station for most of the time. It was a joy to see some of the students at the fair. It was also meaningful to meet the parents and other leaders in the Hunts Point. The fair was definitely a success. Families received school supplies, a meal, and had lots of fun!
Children played with recycling-- this was an organized activity
A huddle


The River

Children built and decorated their own binders

Building a fort with the recycling
Children's Museum
Street Art
FIRING up the grill for Veggie Burgers and Chili

How am I doing?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

I can confidently say that I thrive in the city. The non-stop pace of it keeps me going. I enjoy working all day and then doing something fun in the evening and sometimes into the night. The new faces and places on every corner constantly catch my eye. New York is full of culture.  9 times out of 10 it seems that the people I meet aren't even New Yorkers. They are like me. Exploring a new city, and loving it . They are here for work, school, or some other crazy endeavor. The opportunities are endless. I have met a girl who attends Juliard to play the harp, I have met many girls in the thick of the fashion industry (one of my good friends from city year is taking a year off from FIT (fashion institute). I have met scholars from the ivys and the top schools in NYC. The list goes on...
I have seen people literally sleep on the streets. On the other hand, I have seen people so rich it makes my head spin (forgive the cliche). 
I know people say that New York can be a very lonely place...despite all the people. I haven't felt the loneliness at all due to a tight-knit work atmosphere and a good faith community.  
Life here is an adventure, and the school I am working in is a whirlwind.
I am blessed. I am grateful. 

The First Day

Monday, September 9, 2013

The school year started today. I'm so blessed to work with City Year. I have only good things to say about City Year as an organization, and today I saw why organizations like City Year are important: Bronx middle schools are tough places. Today felt like I was working in a prison. Police officers included. The first day by nature typically can be chaotic and boring, regardless of the school. You just need to make it through all the kinks and get acquainted with everything again. Before the students could even walk through the doors they had to go through a metal detector and have their backpack scanned. The line to do so was very long. Students are required to wear camouflage pants and polo shirts, but only half the students wore the uniforms. The students move from classroom to classroom with a 2 minute passing period. Lunch is a zoo. The students are called up table-by-table while a teacher yells through a mega-phone. If the students don't respond to the megaphone, he uses a whistle. A police officer patrols the lunch-room as well. The students get about a 9 minute recess period, and then they're back to class.

Today, our main role was to function as "extra bodies" to help patrol things and help things move smoothly. We did super fun power-greetings and chants this morning to welcome the students to school. Some kids really got into it. I got into it! When the principal makes an announcement over the loud speaker, she plays a clip of a Jay-Z song before she talks-- it's super funny. There are definitely some unique and cool things about MS.424x. I'm excited to learn and grow from being in this community. I know there are going to be challenges, and it's already a culture shock for me. But it will be worth it. While I was talking to a 7th grade girl at lunch about the coming school year, she said she was most excited to spend time with City Year. How sweet!

Disclaimer: This post does not reflect the views of City Year or Americorps.

Beauty in the City

Saturday, September 7, 2013

These are some of my favorite shots of New York so far...

Bryant Park
Street Art
Farmer's Market
Hillsong Church

Central Park

My Budget // September Edition

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Maybe you think I'm CRAZY for putting my life finances out on the internet for anyone to see. Nobody really shares their financial situation, let alone publish it on the internet. So why am I doing it? 
  1. You could google my income. It's no secret how much the City Year living stipend is.
  2. My dad wants to see my budget. Here you go Dad....
  3. This holds me accountable
  4. It proves that you can live BELOW the poverty line in NEW YORK CITY, the most expensive city in the U.S.
  5. A lot of CY corps. members are curious about budgeting and living on the stipend. We went to a session on it, but my only take-aways were taking quick showers and joining Groupon. Most of us really wanted to know what our budget should look like. By laying out my budget here, other corps members will see that surviving on the stipend is definitely manageable!

  • Total: $953
  • My Income: $476 Biweekly, after taxes (phew). 
  • What do I mean by "Paid for:" City Year covers my Metro card, and the government pays for my food (EBT).
  • Wait a second, aren't you missing some thing important? Yes, I am forgetting health insurance. Health insurance is paid for by City Year and I have no idea how much it costs. I am also still on my parent's health insurance.
  • Your rent looks low for NY, explain: Rent for my 1-bedroom apartment in East Harlem is $1750. I have two other roommates, so the rent is divided by 3. Same with utilities. 

So this is my projected budget. If I keep this budget, I will be in great shape. We'll see how I do come the end of September!

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