I first learned about the MMSY through my mom, and she heard it from the school’s parent coordinator. I honestly did not think too far into my summer plans, so I decided to just go with the flow and may as well try this program.
On the very first day, I met with our group, and much to my surprise, my two elementary school classmates were also there! I was able to deepen our friendship in a new environment, which was a pleasant surprise.
Before I attended MMSY program, I was tutoring a young girl, with her summer school and summer reading homework. Then I did three-day training for a job in a fast-food restaurant. However, I was not hired for the job. At this time I was not doing anything. I believe that God did not give me the job, so that I may have the opportunity to be a part of this amazing program.
Before MMSY program, I was your typical teenager on summer vacation from college. Every day was pretty much the same and I wasn’t doing much to better myself as a person. I’d wake up hangout with my friends and then come back home and go to bed. When I first heard about the program I must admit that I didn’t think I was going to get as much out of it as I did.
Tolerance Museum was the most influential part of the program. At the museum we learned so much about unlawful discrimination against race, gender, sexual orientation and religion. What I learned was that, even though we’ve come a long way in this world, there’s still a lot of evil taken place all across the world. Mass genocide, slavery, human trafficking and other horrors occur every day all around the world. What was most interesting to me was that there’s prejudice for all walks of life, and that hate crimes can come from all different shapes and forms.
Before I began MMSY Program, I had had a fairly active summer. At the beginning of July, I was very focused on social activities with friends that were going to leave for the summer. I also went running daily, and read books in my spare time. Then, in mid-July, I left for Florence, Italy, for a two-week program in Florence.
This summer, I spent two weeks learning about human rights and the UN participating in the MMSY Program--perhaps the most enriching experience I’ve had this year. Currently, I attend Paramus High School (a rising senior) and the multiculturalism I experienced in the past two weeks has been more than I have experienced in my high school in the year that I’ve been there. I am grateful for the opportunity provided to me through this program and believe it has had an impact on the way I think about and approach human interactions.
Before the MMSY program I spent my days either memorizing vocabulary words for the SAT or lying in my bed watching various tv shows. I had a constant cycle of waking up, taking a shower, going to my SAT class, coming home, taking a nap, and every once in a while seeing a friend.
SAT class went from 9:30 to 1 so it was a pretty intensive class. It was made up of about 15 kids and a teacher for the reading section and a teacher for the math section. I didn’t really enjoy the class because it was mostly straight studying and constant practice tests. There were daily vocabulary tests and if you didn’t get over an 80 percent you were required to stay until 4 to do extra work. This was both good and bad because who wants to stay longer? But it also helped motivate me to study every day. I made the mistake of not studying the first time and I got so tired from the extra problems I had to do it helped me to be able to actually study in the future.
Prior to participating in the MMSY Program, I participated in countless summer programs promoting leadership and diversity. Recently attending the National Hispanic Institute (NHI)‘s Lorenzo De Zavala Youth Legislative Session in Rochester, New York. The program’s goal is for rising juniors and seniors to envision themselves as part of the future leadership of the 21st Century Latino community. We learned how to make a difference and how to thrive as a leader by creating our own government and electing our own leaders.
The week before joining the program, I was volunteering at the Cody Gifford House subdivision of an organization called Association to Benefit Children. While it was an amazing experience, I was looking for other things to do over the summer and started looking into summer programs that interested me and that I could possibly participate in.
The MMSY Program truly taught me so much and allowed me to have incredible experiences that would not have been possible without Mahroo's guidance. I firmly believe I have learned so much about the many cultures that surround me and through meeting so many diverse people with such different backgrounds and having insightful discussions about the places we visited, I gained such a new and revitalized connection with the world. In this program, I also realized so many new perspectives into things I was formally exposed to but not necessarily familiar with.
Before the program, I had recently finished school. I mainly focused on trying to find summer activities as well as prepare for my upcoming student expedition with National Geographic to Belize. This exclusive experience presented me with opportunity to experience Manhattan in a way that I didn't think was possible.
The Tolerance Museum was a traumatizing, yet intriguing experience because it vividly paints an image of tolerant and intolerant events that have occurred throughout history. The raw accountants abruptly made us aware of the blatant racism and hatred that occurs in our society, and it developed a sense within us that something needs to be done. Tolerance is a limited trait in todays’ society, and it is essential to the survival of the human race that we quickly learn ways to coexist, looking past our differences. Even though witnessing the struggle against intolerance was frustrating, seeing how much more tolerance today’s society has now compared to the past was awe-inspiring because restores faith in humanity, and that we are able to help each other.