Summer Service Learning Experience - Alumni Spotlight | Sinduri
Every summer we offer rising 10th to 12th grade students a Summer Service Learning Experience focused on learning about issues of poverty and homelessness, building relationships with others involved in social change, getting to know persons who have experienced poverty and homelessness, and engaging in service with Project HOME and other agencies fighting poverty, hunger and homelessness in Philadelphia. Last year we spoke with some students to learn more about their experience from their perspective. See below to learn about Sinduri's Summer Service experience.
Name: Sinduri Soundararajan
School: Harriton High School
Grade Level: 12
Hobbies/Interests: Community Service, Dance, Science and Writing.
How have you grown as a person through this experience?
I attended Project HOME’s Summer Service camp as a participant last summer and as an intern this summer. The past two years of service learning at Project HOME has showed me so much about the issues surrounding homelessness, poverty, and what I can do to minimize those issues. The range of topics discussed, from food deserts to mass incarceration to the power of education, have truly impacted me and motivated me to continue valuing the services that Project HOME provides for those experiencing homelessness.
The discussions and service trips from Summer Service Camp widened my perspective on the discrepancy between my lifestyle and others living in different parts of my own community. The lessons from Project HOME changed my perspective on my role as a student, volunteer, and citizen of this city. I have been inspired to utilize my resources to assist and empower the rest of my community.
What had the most impact on you from this experience?
My interactions with residents through the Summer Service Program definitely impacted me the most – whether it was a scheduled group discussion with David, chatting with residents during bingo at 1515, listening to speakers at inspiration meetings, or playing with students at the HLC, these interactions taught me so much about not just individual stories, but also the power of Project HOME in changing these stories. So often, shelters and other programs group those who have experienced homelessness into a statistic to cite and work to lower. Summer Service gave me the opportunity to meet and understand residents whose stories have impacted my understanding of their situation.
How will you take your Project HOME experience with you?
I hope to spread my understanding of Project HOME by sharing my experience with others and motivate peers to also work towards Project HOME’s mission. After first hearing this organization’s mission and services, my friend Samantha Raymond and I founded Project HOME club at our high school. Through this club, we taught our school about Project HOME and worked to form relationships with residents through different project throughout the year. The club enabled us to spread Project HOME’s mission to others, and I hope to continue doing so in the future.
In a 3-5 sentences could you please describe your overall experience during your weeks at the Summer Service Program?
The Project HOME Summer Service Program was such an incredible experience provided more than service opportunities – it educated me on the issues surrounding homelessness and poverty and empowered me to work to end them. Each discussion with a resident, lesson from our coordinator, and service activity taught me something new about my community. I am so glad that I was able to experience the Summer Service Program for two summers; I am now motivated by Project HOME’s mission, and connected with other teens who share a passion for service and learning.
If you are interested in learning more about our Summer Service Learning Experience click here for registration information.