Sustainable Systems: RDA PT2-Active Participant
For RDA Part 2, my classmate, Dirmawan, and I volunteered at Graffiti Church & Missionaries. I was introduced to the organization by Dirmawan who first found out about the ministry through a mutual friend of ours named Joan. Unfamiliar with the space and most of the people Joan’s mother played a huge role in helping to mentor Dirm and I while also helping us get adjusted to the space and the people within it. A weekly volunteer at Graffiti Church Joan’s mother had gotten to learn the names and faces of those who frequent the Wednesday evening gathering.
Back to the Drawing board x3
Initially, Dirm and I had planned to go back to our old high school to teach about resource preservation and ultimately, sustainability. Done well here at the New School, we thought that we could that we could share all that we have learned so far in sustainable systems class as well as in everyday life as a student at Parsons. However, when reviewing it with our professor it became evident that something like that would instead be a better fit for RDA part 3, so back to the drawing board. Deciding to reach out to two environmental gardens Dirm messaged Smile Hogshead Ranch in Long Island City and I messaged Queensbridge community garden. After a couple days went by we heard back from the Smile Hogshead Ranch, however, they explained that not much was going on at the garden yet so we couldn’t volunteer there and we never heard back from Queensbridge community garden. Dirm eventually remembered that a church our friend Joan works at and goes too often hosts many volunteer opportunities on a weekly basis so we came to the conclusion that this would be the place we would volunteer at. Having been there before Dirmawan knew that even with the snow storm cutting out some of the days we had originally planned on volunteering the church always had so much going on that completing our 10 hours 20 hours between the two of us would still be possible.
As broken down by Dirmawan the first day consisted of a basic rundown of how things operate on a weekly basis. “The event organizer gave us a quick rundown on how things would be going. Before 6, we would go around and offer coffee and/or water to the guests. At 6:00, it was time to serve after the Pastor blessed the food. At 6:30, if anyone wanted seconds, it would be served. At 7:00, Bible study took place and that’s when we cleaned the space while the participants were in the middle of their session. 8:00 was when everyone left.” Over our time spent volunteering we began to take note of things like their allergy list (which we based our skillshare activity on) and the people in attendance. We realized that the people who attended the weekly dinners were regulars who were members of the community and the families of the children who attended the ministries after school program. This time, however, there were more volunteers from an organization called HOPE. Along with the guests in attendance, we felt more comfortable talking to each other for we had become more familiar.
Overall, Volunteering at the Graffiti church was a positive and insightful experience. By preparing canned foods they are offering some of the same important nutrients and further, canned foods are environmentally friendly because the metal used in containers is mostly recycled materials. More so the Graffiti church offers help to those in need so I would consider their work to actively address a humanitarian crisis. Because the church is more concerned with providing a filling meal I believe there are some improvements that need to be made. The majority of the food is donated so there isn’t much choice which sort of adds to the discussion of how we treat people who are less fortunate. Aside from this because of disposable styrofoam plates and cups along with plastic utensils they are not very environmentally aware. What I take away from this experience is the ability to create alternative ways to treat everyone with dignity and respect despite their financial position as well as implementing environmentally friendly processes from start to finish within my designs.