Project Stewardship provides enriched learning experiences for young adults of all ages and serves as a bridge to understanding self, others and the natural world. Through exposure to a supportive and flexible learning community, our program offers a variety of channels for young people to get involved in becoming effective participants in their own learning, livelihoods and successes.
Our orientation training is two-part and includes “Find Your Voice in Social Action” to learn from history, particularly from the progressive era of the early 20th century which reinforces our program philosophy while highlighting the benefits of civic engagement. We continue with “Nature Communities” describing the purpose of developing an ecopsychological world-view. Understanding how we are all connected and ways in which we can contribute to our world helps to spark the process by which young adults can become “stewards” for one another and the Earth.
Project Stewardship meets twice monthly for a workshop and an outing in addition to offering volunteer and internship placements with our community partners. We afford young adults the opportunity to build and develop confidence and social awareness, communication and leadership capabilities, problem solving and coping skills, and varying levels of ability in areas of interest and community need, as well as personal well-being and environmental stewardship while making new friends with peers and mentors.
Our monthly meetings may include video-civics (enjoyable topical videos with themes connected to our philosophy such as Mother Nature’s Child and The Happy Movie) or workshops in areas of interest to participants and exposure to different topics in order to spark interest. During the Fall 2016, we had the privilege of spending time with Sue Rose and others from the Amateur Observers Society of NY, Inc. for a Night of Astronomy. This hands-on workshop and celestial observation of the night sky through state-of-the-art telescopes was a wonderful experience for all! Once again, we enjoyed an evening with and the culinary expertise of Chef Deborah Barocas (see her Gyanese cook book: Guyana’s Tasty Exotic) who worked with Project Stewardship participants to create a Fall Feast. This cooking class was sponsored by Thrivent Financial who donates funds to community organization in alignment with their mission. Special thanks to Frank O’Brien! And, thank you to our local resident “shaman” Phil Salem who filled in for Eddie Hug, offering us Tai Chi in the Garden! All that we offer provides opportunities for fun social engagement with peers while building varying skills and deepening one’s knowledge base.
Monthly outings are enjoyable and educational. Trips are organized in collaboration with our community partners. During Fall 2016, we joined the South Shore Audubon Society for a bird watching outing at Massapequa Preserve, ventured to the Nassau County Museum of Art for their exhibit: Ansel Adams and A Century of Photography followed by a nature walk on the 145 acre grounds of the Cedarmere estate, and to a Rangoli Art Workshop during Diwali (Indian festival of lights) at the East Meadow Library sponsored by Long Island Traditions. Young people have the chance to network with different organizations, establish relationships and expand skills while embarking on new experiences with peers. Outings coupled with volunteer and internship placements, ultimately serve as a pathway for participants to find and follow their bliss!
One of our Spring 2106 highlights was our Media & Theatre Arts sessions in collaboration with SUNY College at Old Westbury’s Gifted Souls Club! We met several times to create an artistic performance (combining poetry, music and movement) with a social justice theme. Participants were involved in various capacities (in front and behind the camera) and performed at SUNY College at Old Westbury’s Community Learning Partner Event. This Spring 2017, we will extend our social justice focus in the areas of education and environmental understanding and advocacy in a variety of ways!
Volunteer and internship placements are the culmination of Project Stewardship opportunities with The Children’s Sangha and our community partners. Participants are able to explore an array of different LIFE opportunities related to leisure pursuits, creativity outlets, academics, college majors and/or career-oriented options. Special thanks to the Bellmore Memorial Library and Historical Association who provided opportunities to our young people this year and to The Garden at St. Francis whose indoor hall and outdoor garden space we use and with whom we volunteer during the month of July and other times throughout the year.
These placements help young adults develop various levels and types of abilities in areas of interest and community need, becoming more well-rounded individuals in the process. Through Project Stewardship, The Children’s Sangha can arrange a rotation in related or different fields, exposure to various work environments and involvement in diverse projects, trainings, events, and tasks. The general understanding of civic engagement and ecopsychology gained during “Find Your Voice in Social Action” and “Nature Communities” serves as a trademark that distinguishes Project Stewardship volunteers and interns from others in accord with our Different Abilities Development Model where we strive to bring different abilities to life!
The Children’s Sangha collaborates with various department at SUNY College at Old Westbury such as First Year Experience, Psychology, Education, Media & Communication whereby college students come on board as interns and volunteers to work with us in a variety of roles. We are grateful for our Project Assistants who help to guide various aspects of Project Stewardship and work with our young people. Over the course of time, project participants may take on some of these roles based on interest, ability and need. Responsibilities include: Group Leader, Peer-Mentor and Team-Building Coordinator. Project Stewardship participants may naturally develop these and other skills while involved in our program and can be mentored towards these goals.
If you would like to contribute towards a Project Stewardship scholarship, see our Donate page! Feel free to donate a full or partial scholarship or more than one. You will be changing the life of a young person through your generosity!