At last the day has come. Over 100+ interviews were conducted as interest in this year’s ASB trip to New York reached sky high. Thankfully all the students had met several times before the trip to bond and learn about homelessness and hunger.
We did a great job of meeting at the airport at 4am and everyone was accounted. This flight was also one of the students first flights ever (Paul).
We hung out for a bit in the gym when we arrived at the Boys and Girls Club in Newark and got to know each other a little bit by playing Telephone and “Tell Paul How Awesome He Is: The Game”.
After we recieved a tour of the Boys and Girls Club we locked up our belongings and ventured in New York City. Using New York’s transportation system is a feat in itself. We had to get to the right station, pay for the right tickets, and dash quickly out of trains to avoid being pincer-slammed by subway doors. Subway doors show no mercy.
I’m surprised that my greatest discovery of this trip occurred on the first day. I ran into the country’s greatest waffle maker, Wafel & Dinges. The waffle was piping hot, crunchy on the outside, and warm and reassuring in the middle. We do not have artisinal waffles like this is North Carolina.
One of the students, John, led us to one of New York’s finest coffee houses: Blue Bottle Cafe. The coffee was amazing. Thank you John!
After our trip to the city we went back to the Boys and Girls Club and got a chance to play ice breaker games with the 10 other schools participating in Alternative Spring Break.
My assigned team were the Wolves. I think we had the best team chant and team photo.
Our first day in New York was pretty fantastic. Looking forward to a fun and busy trip!
Yesterday on Sunday was a fantastic day of non-violence training. The training was led by former NBA player Ron Smith and a gentleman named Barak Gibson.
First we had a wonderful homemade breakfast at Shawn and Talisa’s home in Selma. Then we headed to the church.
When I first heard of us doing non-violence training, I imagined a scene from the movie Selma where protestors were being trained how to resist and react with possible violence from racist groups. We didn’t actually do that since we were doing just a single day of training. We did something more important: lay the foundations and values of non-violence training.
We began by playing a game called Butts Up to warm up and make sure people were listening and awake.
We then performed an exercise where we picked a partner who we didn’t know well and learned things about them. After we learned the information, we then had to get in front of everyone and introduce our partner to the entire class (and hopefully not forget any details we had just learned).
The purpose of this single day training was to lay the foundations of non-violence training. This began with just simply learning how to connect with people. This included getting to know them through communication and learning not to label or stereotype people.
For lunch we had a FANTASTIC quesadilla plate with chicken quesadillas, spanish rice, lovely black beans, and all the jalapeños one could want.
After lunch we focused on labels and values. Students had to pick their top 5 values. Then we broke up into teams to come up with common values our entire team could agree on.
Before dinner, we ended our non-violence training with a wonderful debriefing of what we learned the past 4+ hours. I really loved debriefing. It helps bring people back to focus on what we had learned, each individuals thoughts and reactions, helps people retain what they just learned, and allows people to ask for clarifications.