“I have a redefined definition of homelessness, and also a better understanding of education in general because we were working in the afternoons. I realized that the trip wasn’t about me but about the children we were helping.”
Destination: New York, NY
In this Break Out Trip, participants travelled to New York City to volunteer at Prospect Interfaith Family Inn, a homeless shelter in the Bronx. Each morning, some of the students worked in the daycare, while the rest of the group did organizational projects, such as putting up informational posters in the residence halls and cleaning the classrooms. In the afternoons, participants had the opportunity to work in the after-school care program, where they were divided in pairs among different age groups. Working first-hand with the kids and building relationships with them provided a unique opportunity for mutual inspiration and friendship for both the families living in Prospect House and the students on the trip. During some evenings, trip members were able to spend time with Williams alumni living in NYC, sharing in the Williams community beyond the Purple Valley.
- “I have a redefined definition of homelessness, and also a better understanding of education in general because we were working in the afternoons. I realized that the trip wasn’t about me but about the children we were helping.”
- “I got really attached to the children and I also learned a lot about homelessness. I now have a better understanding of what homeless children go through.”
- “We worked in an environment very different from what we are used to at Williams. Working with the teachers/administrators at the shelter, we saw different approaches to education. Being outsiders in an unfamiliar environment, we had to learn to adapt.”
- “I have come away from the trip highly cognizant of the fact that these students are not very different from students from more privileged backgrounds. These students are all intelligent and curious…We do not have to treat these kids differently because of their situations, but it is so important to continue to support programs such as Prospect House’s after school program that make available the resources that the students may not normally have access to.”
- “I met kids who came from very disadvantaged backgrounds but were very bright and very motivated to learn. Talking to them surprised me a lot because I realized that they have so much potential and are so similar to myself and my peers in terms of their willingness to learn and to be more open minded about the world. Unfortunately they generally do not get the opportunities that would help them realize their full potential.”