Editor’s Note: At the Table is an international exchange program that connects high school students in Philadelphia and Riga. The program, undertaken by the National Constitution Center in collaboration with the National History Museum of Latvia, will culminate in two service projects and a collaborative documentary film about civic engagement. In this post a participating student describes her experience in a series of community development workshops and a high school student empowerment conference.
Over the past two weeks, my classmates and I have seen and done some exciting work and made great progress in our project. After our first Project Connect workshop with the Latvian Society, we had our second Project Connect Workshop with our community partners with the City of Philadelphia Office of Volunteer and Civic Engagement. Catie Wolfgang, the Chief Service Officer, conducted a few fun and interactive discussions regarding positives and negatives of our city, and how our respective pasts have shaped us into who we are today.
The Saturday following the Project Connect Workshop, the seven of us student participants attended the Villa Dream Project, where there were many successful adults of multifarious career paths who came to speak to more than 200 students about the struggles they faced on their path to achieving their goals.
The speeches were inspirational in that many of the most successful speakers were those who came from the most hardships. It was a really fun time and I even won tickets to see the Universoul Circus! At the following meeting, after telling Sayeh and Himali about the Villa Dream Project, we brainstormed about neighborhoods where we might possibly conduct Sunday Suppers to engage with locals from a particular community. The people from each community whot attend these Suppers may help us create a service project idea. I’m both eager and excited to start exploring the potential neighborhoods we selected.
Ruby Payette is a student participant in the At the Table project and a senior at Constitution High School.