ServiceNation summit, pt.2 - Service in the City

Hi again! I’m having a great time in NYC. Want to hear about my day so far?

In a preview of the thousands of service projects that will take place nationwide on September 27th, I was on-hand at the Yung Wing School in Chinatown with dozens of other civic-minded helpful people! While I spent my morning painting some new works of art to adorn Public School 124’s walls, other folks were assembling new school desks, cleaning and re-shelving the library, and reading with the children. The event, hosted by MyGoodDeed, was a really tremendous opportunity for locals and visitors alike to rehabilitate the school and spend time with its students!

For me, it’s always good to be back in a school; as an SCA Conservation Corps member in Massachusetts, I got to spend 3 unforgettable months working at an Elementary school in Shelburne Falls, teaching children the importance of conservation and ethics for keeping our planet healthy. It was the most fulfilling job I’ve ever had, and I was so glad to see so many people come out and help today.

Our day began with encouraging words from David Paine, President and Co-founder of MyGoodDeed: “It’s a very unique gift for us all to take the time out of our days and give this service,” he told the assembled volunteers.

And it was unique! PS 124 largely serves the immigrant and Chinese-American youth in Manhattan’s Chinatown, and as Americans who have benefited all our lives from the legacy of immigrants in this country, it was a tremendous opportunity for us to work with our newest Americans, knowing that our service would help ensure their education to be the best it can be.

Serving today of all days was also an important means of remembering and honoring the victims of September 11th, 2001. Jay Winuk, Vice President and Co-founder of MyGoodDeed, urged us to recognize the importance of our service not just to the school, but to the city. “We have to use service as a way to move forward from 9/11,” he said, “And we will make sure that people remember this day not for the attacks, but for the outpouring of support and service that has followed.”

A.J. Hammer, host of CNN’s Showbiz Tonight and a native New Yorker, was also on hand to work with the students. “It’s important to keep volunteering,” he said. “…On this day of service, and after.”

MyGoodDeed has been creating opportunities for service on each anniversary of the September 11 attacks since 2002. Created by family members and friends of the victims of 9/11, MyGoodDeed logs hundreds of thousands of projects throughout the US each year, and has been a major voice in the urging for September 11th’s designation as a national day of service.

I’m headed uptown to Columbia University — stay tuned for my report from ServiceNation’s Presidential Forum on National Service!