Ayana Hagan

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Community service

Traveling to California was amazing and I am glad that I had the opportunity to help the society and have fun at the same the same time. I got to meet new people that came from different backgrounds and went to beautiful touring places that I would never had the opportunity to if i was in New York. Project California made me aware of other people around me and it’s fun to help in need.

Project California was a community service base trip where the kids in Rein Teen Tours program helped non profits. My Service was to aid the workers and clients in the Unity shoppe. The Unity shoppe is like a supermarket for homeless, families, and people that need food, clothes, and school supplies for free. The shoppe was small on the outside, but very big on the inside with a myriad of foods, cloths, and toys which is all donated. All of the donated goods are sorted in the seven departments in the Shoppe: the store, professional dress, school, clothes, Santa’s shop, free shop, and the kitchen.

Volunteering for the Unity Shoppe taught me giving a helpful hand goes a long way. There was a lot of things in the Unity Shoppe and it was really overwhelming on the first day: there was little staff, lack of volunteering, and mostly everything was unorganized.Toys everywhere, clothes that needed to be bar coded, food that needed to be sorted, and sorting fresh and rotten vegetables. After two to three days, the shoppe was in order. We did so much that the workers was trying lower our workload “...to have enough for the other group that was volunteering that day”.

My favorite part about the Unity Shoppe was working with the clients. I got to help them shop for food and help bring their purchase to their car if they had one. This was my favorite part because I like hearing the clients telling me their diet restriction or my opinion on what to get. I like seeing the smiles they had when they saw a product they could afford or get with ghosts food stamps. There were some clients that only spoke spanish and I had speak in spanish in order to communicate. There was times where I mispronounce a word and we would laugh it off and they would give me a little spanish lesson on the words i messed up on. The whole experience of helping the workers in the Unity Shoppe was probably one of my favorites memories of this trip. It made me feel inspired to help around my own community. I had recently place an application in to volunteer for the ASPCA in New York City. I wanted to help animals because some people think they don't matter. I want to open people's eyes so they can see that pets would love you unconditionally if you give the some tender, love, and care.

We didn’t just work hard while we were in California we got to play hard too. We went to the movies, ice skating, a comedy club in LA, the beach, a bounce house, mini golf, 6 Flags, the beach, a “sleep over”, surfing, shopping, bike riding, the beach, the aquarium, and did i mention the beatch. We did a lot of evening activity that got us closer to different people. It was kinda hard
at first to meet new people because some came in groups of people that they knew for a long time, but after the very awkward but needed ice breakers people started to opening up. Everyone wanted to know about people's backgrounds, their favorite hobbies, and where they live. I am really glad that I went on this trip. I made amazing friends that I stayed in touched with and would like go back, but can’t because I aged out. This was truly a trip of a lifetime and I am grateful for this opportunity and would like say thank you to the people who played a part for this trip.