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Pre-College Program (PCP)
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Columbia University

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Teachers College, Columbia University

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Current Students


New York City Through Our Eyes

In our Speech Communication class, we worked in groups to explore different dimensions of New York. "We love NYC!"

Ann, Shabai, Lin, Alex:

Issac, Jane, Joan, David Cui:

Xiaoyi, Glenda, James, Adam:

Harjol, Kelly, Wei, David Cai:

Arthas, Kathy, Elle, Super Jack:

Congratulations to everyone! You guys are awesome!!

Our trip to Professor Fisher’s House
July 23, 2011
Glenda (Junyu Lai)
“It is really beautiful!” Everyone who entered the house burst into the same voice. Professor Fisher and her husband welcomed us hospitably at the front door. They led us to a delicate garden with a lovely swimming pool.
How considerate Professor Fisher was! She especially prepared two rooms, one for boys and the other for girls to change swimming suits. At first, everyone was too shy to get into the pool. Finally, Lin jumped into the pool and gave us a great opening! “The water is awesome! Come on guys!” Here came the pool party time!
An aerated chair and a cushion floating on the water were taken as the spoils of the water war. In the water, there was nothing to do with the gender: it was your swimming skills that helped you be the champion. Except for the water war, we had a ball game. It was really hard to cast the ball in the water, and many times, the ball was kicked so high that it dropped outside the balcony.
Besides the stuff down the water, some of us played the mini-soccer game. It was a game that required two teams, each of which had two players. I thought it was easy to handle at first. However, I was wrong. I had to work with my teammate and control my own dogfaces at the same time. It was really not a funny story that I usually scored an own goal.
If you did not want to swim or play the game, that would be fine. There were benches that allowed you to sun bathing. Moreover, chips and drinks were always available. Some of our teachers preferred to chat rather than “fight” in the water. It was such a quite and comfortable place that everyone would have fun.
The delicious smells were emanating from the oven. While we were having fun, the husband of Professor Fisher made a lot of hot dogs and hamburgers for us. In addition, Professor Fisher gave us some ice cream to relieve the summer heat. “I especially bought the pork in a qualified farm. So don’t worry. Trust me.” said Professor Fisher with a serious tone. It was lovely for her to say this. Here you can see our professor, who was humorous and adorable. We were so glad to enjoy the yummy food and their warm “service”. By the way, the ice cream sandwich was my favorite.
All in all, we enjoyed ourselves in Professor Fisher’s house. We appreciated the cordial greeting from Professor Fisher and her husband so much. Thank you so much!

August 25, 2011
Glenda (Junyu Lai)
I couldn’t believe that! I got 9 scores at the first round. It was my first time, and I did that!
The day was the last second day before our summer break, Darleen and Vee. took us to play the bowling ball. How excited we were!
Honestly, I had searched for the information of bowling ball before I went. And I felt so amazed that it worked.
“Come on! Glenda”, my teammates shouted behind me. Was it another example of arrogance? I lost the game again and again after my first “successful” ball.
I felt a little bit frustrated at first, I did want to earn scores; I did want to support my team, please! After that, I observed some good players’ actions. Eventually, I found the skill, that is, do not throw the ball with too much strength.
I tried, and it worked! “Score 8!” After another round, I was certain that this skill did work. So I became a coach, assisting my teammates. We all went nuts when Joan, who did not earn a score before, earned 9 scores. Aha~ I was a good coach, right?
We all had a great time playing bowling ball and can’t wait playing next time!

Prospect Park
July 9, 2011
Arthas (Zihan Zhou)
We went to Prospect Park in Brooklyn to volunteer. We arrived there early in the morning to meet the coordinator. He introduced us several kinds of jobs: weeding along the road, weeding in the garden, and sweeping the roads. It was a very hot day, and the work was really tiring. However, despite all the hardship, we worked very hard.

Adam, Lin, Ann, two Davids and I worked in the garden. We used shovels to dig out soil so that we could pull out the weeds, and then cleaned up the garden to make space for plants to be grown there in the future. 

Lin, Superjack Jane, Xiaoyi and some others swept the ground. I did not work with them, but as I saw, they were as tired as we were.       

Harjol and Kelly were the only two girls who work on weeding along the road. They used small shovels. Since there were not enough people, Isaac went to help them.

At last we went back.

Habitat for Humanity
July 30, 2011

Ann (Hongxiao Wei)
It was Saturday, also a sunny day. Because the volunteer site was in a remote area in Brooklyn, I had to go early in the morning to catch the stipulated time. After a journey of three hours on the subway, we finally found the place and started our work. New York government planned to build many houses for those poor people who couldn’t afford their houses and recruited many volunteers to set up indoors. I was a member of this project. I had to say that it was a memorable experience for me.

As a volunteer, I wore a helmet, a pair of protective glasses and a pair of field boots. It was my first time to put on those professional equipment to do some job that was related to house building. I learned how to use an electric drill to put screws into the wall, to cut wooden boards with a saw and to do some accurate calculations before every step. The foreman was a young man who named Leo.
During the whole process, he was really nice to teach what to do and how to do it. He always encouraged and helped me with his beautiful smile. I had to say that he was fantastic; not only for his technical ability but also for the friendly feelings he brought to me. And he even could speak Chinese. Hah(^_−)−☆.

After working for six hours, I finished my work for the day. I took pictures with that young man and my friends to commemorate the volunteer experience before a huge truck. It was a really beautiful and unforgettable volunteer experience for me in New York. I was touched by those volunteers who tried their best to construct buildings for the poor people, and every one with the moving smile on his or her face during the whole time.
Xiaoyi Mao
Honestly speaking, I was curious about how I could help with building apartments rather than really want to do something when I saw this volunteer job at the beginning. I imagined that we were going to paint the wall for some poor people. With this strong curiosity, I, together with other four friends, took an early train to Brooklyn. All right, I have to admit that we were kind of afraid since it was the first time that we had gone to the middle of Brooklyn, alone. Fortunately, we had Jane with us.
When we arrived there, it was totally a different job from what I had imagined. There was no wall at all. It was a rough and crude building that only had inner structure and steels. We were able to see the electric wires going through the building. Every one of us was asked to change our shoes into boots and wear helmets. Shabai and I were in the same group with an experienced volunteer. Firstly, he taught us how to use a screw drill. It was really amazing since I had never ever used this kind of machine. We tried several times and my hands were almost shaken to paralysis. Then, we learned how to cut board precisely and skillfully. After these short and basic courses, our group was assigned to build a bathroom. That experienced volunteer took the role of a leader, and he was really good at this. He calculated the best plan to cut the board so that we would not waste too much. And then, Shabai and I cut the right one for him. He fixed the board so that it would be easier for us to screw in. Actually, he was always trying to make up the mistakes we made, screwing the wrong one that failed to be screwed into and fixing the boards of wrong size. We kept repeating this process. Though it was heavy and dusty work, it was really awesome to see the “bathroom” did look like a room after we screwed all four walls.
This volunteer job was far more fun than I expected. And Brooklyn is not that terrible. Many people there are friendly and things are cheap. Shabai and I decided to continue this volunteer job and kept building houses for the homeless people.
Summer Streets
August 6, 13, 2011

Shabai Li

In the past two Saturdays, I served as a volunteer for Summer Streets. Summer Streets is an event held by New York City Department of Transportation that encourages healthy physical activities, such as biking, walking, and rollerblading, to inspire New Yorkers to make active transportation part of their everyday routine.  This is the fourth year of the event. On the first three Saturdays of August, the 6.9 mile route from the Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park welcomes people to play, run, walk, and bike along the car-free streets.

To become a qualified volunteer, I had to attend a one-hour orientation several days before the event. The orientation session, basically, introduced us what exactly Summer Streets was, and what to anticipate on the event day. The most important thing for all the Summer Streets participants, including volunteers as well, was safety. Though there would be almost no cars on the streets, due to the number of the participants, volunteers were still in need to help maintain the rules on the streets. To organize the event in a more effective way, the whole street was divided into five zones, and I was assigned to volunteer in Zone 5. I was told what would be considered as transgressions of the traffic rules, and what we should do if we encountered such behaviors. As a volunteer, I had to remain alert, ensuring the safety of the participants and myself as well.

On the day of the event, I came to Zone 5 at 10 o’clock in the morning. After signing in and putting on the special orange T-shirt designed for the volunteers, volunteers were distributed to different intersections to maintain the traffic rules. In order to make the cyclists and the rollerbladers flow in an organized way, I had to function as a crossing guard, raising the sign that indicated them when to go and stop, and when to turn right. During the period of time devoted to directing the traffic, volunteers really had to be attentive and meticulous, since they were in charge of the safety of all the people on the streets.

The Summer Streets volunteer experience helped me understand, in order to hold a successful event, how much effort had to be put in. This time, viewing from a volunteer’s perspective, not only did I see people’s happiness in participating the event, I also began to learn about the huge contribution devoted by the volunteers. I truly appreciate the help given by every Summer Streets volunteer. In the future, I hope more and more young students can take an active part in Summer Streets to help others, and have fun at the same time.
Bowery Mission (Meal Serving)
September 10, 2011
Joan (Yating Zhan)
As a girl, I like to dream about my wedding, just like most other girls do. Surprisingly, I got a chance to help to prepare other’s wedding lunch during this volunteer job.
For some of us, it was our first time to go to the kitchen of a restaurant. All of us looked funny when we first put on the hairnets and aprons. There were so many things going on in the kitchen: Wei and I broke almost five hundred eggs; Adam and Harjol cut a large number of onions; Glenda, Elle and Shabai preserved hundreds of fish in salt; and Ann and Jane helped to roll up the fish and put them on dishes. Seeing our hands sticky with egg white, Wei and I made jokes with each other.
We didn’t feel bored at all. Instead, we considered it fun and interesting. When some of us finished their own jobs, they helped others who got heavy task. At noon, we luckily met the bride and bridegroom. Looking at their merriment and smiles, we were again immersed in the great joy. Although we didn’t know each other, we still could help them to reach their dreams by doing small things. In the end, every one of us just couldn’t help smiling because of others’ happiness.

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