The Empire State Building is 1,250 feet high. The structure dwarfs the hundreds of yellow taxis and the men and women who walk along side of it. It dwarfed me as I walked by it on my way to the Moravian House on 18th Street – a place where the homeless and distressed population of New York City can receive transitional housing and supportive services. I stepped into the doors of the Moravian House and met my new friend Mike. It was then that I experienced my second skyscraper of the day – Mike's motivation and drive – and felt exponentially smaller.
We arrived at the Moravian House with the mission of teaching some residents how to use a computer for e-mail and basic Microsoft Word functions. It definitely didn’t appeal to me well as our other planned activities had, but I was going to do my best to enjoy myself and help out someone in need. So we walked into a room that had four brand new computers, sat and waited. Our first candidate came in. He came strolling in the door wearing a New York knit beanie, a Brooklyn t-shirt, and some black jeans. “I’m Mike. I want to learn computers,” He said with a beaming grin. So I sat him down and taught him everything I knew. For four hours I described in detail the functions of the keyboard (he had no idea what the space bar was) and showed him the magic of attaching files in e-mail and page borders. Mike shared with me his story as I shared my technology knowledge. He didn’t know how to read or write well because he never received a good education, making his adult life even more difficult. He eagerly worked at his jobs, but couldn’t receive higher salaries because of his lack of knowledge. Yet I can’t even begin to explain his enthusiasm or his excited spirit. In the four hours I worked with him he followed all that I said and diligently took notes on what I was saying. Mike was exceptionally bright.
My experience at the Moravian House helped to define my purpose on the Spring Break in the Big Apple trip – I learned that my difficulties can’t and shouldn’t limit my desire to learn. At Point Park, opportunities are everywhere. Many people don’t even live with that option – people like Mike. However Mike lived with more passion and dedication for knowledge than a lot of students I know, including myself sometimes. Coming back from New York City, I brought a new sense of appreciation and new motivation. Clearly, Spring Break in the Big Apple inspired me. I can’t express my entire satisfaction with the trip.
:) keep smiling!
(thanks to Mary for taking the photo!)