Melanie is a Maryland-based Nerdfighter studing Drama in New York City. She found Erinn and Project Nice on the Nerdfighter Ning and signed up without a second thought. Her expertise is in social justice and change in the are, so Project Nice was a perfect match. (Except that Project Nice occurred in...you know...real life.)
Most of all, she learned the importance of approaching hostility with acceptance and an appropriate level of openness and vulnerability. Especially with the busy, no-nonsense citizens of Manhattan, it was imperative to learn how to let others know she was there to help, not to antagonize. Project Nice became more than just a way to be friendly; it became a way to make a more trusting community.
Day 1: Made breakfast in Brooklyn.
Made breakfast in Brooklyn, January 24, 2010
To be honest, I kind of cheated with this one in that the act wasn’t of my own invention. (A student group was planning the event in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.) But it helped the community, which is all that matters.
Good help is hard to find these days. Yeah, it’s cliché, but it’s still true. Organizations working to assist people in need are too often under-staffed and under-appreciated. The least we can do is give them the help and attention they deserve.
Also, the event was occurring in Brooklyn. I had never been out of Manhattan. And if I were going to leave the borough, it might as well have been for a good cause.
Event: Took the metro to Brooklyn (not quite sure where we were…) in the morning and walked to a senior center. The ten or so people I was with were split into groups to do various tasks; I was with a group making little baggies of juice, toast, fruit, and milk to deliver to the residents for breakfast.
Reactions: The employees were too busy teaching us what to do and doing their own jobs to immediately react with any gratitude. But as we were leaving the center, the two workers in charge of us thanked us and took pictures with us. Their smiles were enormous, and I can believe that they were genuinely happy to have us there to help.
Would I do it again? Yes, but perhaps not as far from home.
Cost: $4.50 to get to and from Brooklyn.
Effort: Minimal physical strain.
Time: Three hours, counting getting the group together and travel time.