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. 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 placements with The Children’s Sangha and with our community partners. We afford young adults the opportunity to 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. Increasing personal well-being and embarking on environmental stewardship occurs while making new friends with peers and mentors. Participants are able to explore an array of different LIFE opportunities that relate to leisure pursuits, creativity outlets, academics, college majors and/or careers as volunteer options. Project Stewardship ultimately serve as a pathway for participants to “find and follow their bliss”!
Learn about our NEW 12-Week Civic Mentoring Initiative being introduced during 2018! This initiative is an extension of Project Stewardship where participants in our program and others will embark on targeted experiences and skill building opportunities, working one on one with with peer mentors.
Project Stewardship monthly workshops are selected based on the interests of participants or to provide exposure to specific topics intended to spark interest. We offer opportunities for fun social engagement with peers while building various skills and deepening one’s knowledge base. Some examples from previous years include:
- Night of Astronomy with state-of-the-art telescopes guided by Amateur Observers Society of NY, Inc.
- Culinary Arts with Chef Deborah Barocas (see her Gyanese cook book: Guyana’s Tasty Exotic)
- The ancient art of Feng Shui to balance positive energy with Maureen Calamia of Luminous Spaces Feng Shui
- Tai Chi in the Garden with “shaman” and martial arts master Phil Salem
- Mindfulness for Stress Reduction with Debbie DeBetta of Mind Body Education
- Smoothies to boost immune & digestive system with Lorna Sophocleous, Holistic Wellness Consultant
- Media & Theatre Arts sessions with SUNY College at Old Westbury’s Gifted Souls Theatre Arts Program
- “Video-Civics” including workshop activities for Mother Nature’s Child, The Happy Movie and others
- The power of imagination and secrets to magic tricks with Carol Kline of Mismatch the Clown
- Live mammal workshop including artifacts and fun facts with Eric Powers of Your Connection to Nature
Monthly outings are enjoyable and educational. Young people have the chance to network with different organizations, establish relationships and expand skills while embarking on new experiences with peers. Some outings we have taken:
- As a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) member, brought participants on farm tour to Restoration Farm
- Boat ride and environmental beach cleanup activities in the South Shore Bays with Operation Splash
- Bird watching outing at Massapequa Preserve with the South Shore Audubon Society
- Local history outing to the Wantagh Railroad Museum managed by the Wantagh Preservation Society
- Exhibit: Ansel Adams and A Century of Photography and nature walk at the Nassau County Museum of Art
- Rangoli Art Workshop for Diwali (Indian festival of lights) sponsored by Long Island Traditions
- Halloween Haunted Tales & Trails in historical period homes at Bethpage Village Restoration
- Art exhibit and tour of SUNY College at Old Westbury’s Amelie A. Wallace Art Gallery
- Bike riding outing from playground through Marina and along shoreline of Wantagh Park
- Museum activities related to Long Island geology, Native American archaeology and natural history followed by nature walk at Garvies Point Museum and Preserve
Volunteer 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! We are grateful to the many regular community partners we work with who invest in our youth… A few of our partners are:
- The Garden at St. Francis whose indoor hall and outdoor garden space we utilize and with whom we do a group volunteer day during the month of July as well as the annual Change the World Day in May (volunteer time has included construction projects to build a compost bin, raised beds and other hands-on activities and garden tasks).
- Bellmore Memorial Library who has provided opportunities for our young people to help preserve, catalog and digitize photographs, slides, maps and other objects in their local history collection. In addition, the Bellmore Memorial Library will be hosting Justin Ellis, one of our Education Services Interns to present at the quarterly local history meeting in January 2018 related to History at a Glance – The Schools of the Bellmores based on the article he has written for The Children’s Sangha. Project Stewardship participants will be in attendance.
- Autism Community Walk, Inc. where our young people participate and assist with vendor tables, healthy activities, publicity and networking on behalf of those in the Autism community at Belmont Lake State Park.
- Twice Exceptional Children’s Advocacy (TECA) who we have been collaborating with for years. Young adults in our program have participated in the TECA Conference – Building 2e Awareness & Community at Molloy College where we come together as a community in meaningful ways.
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. 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!