When Mrs. Becker asked me if I wanted to go to the Mayerson Workshop on Friday September 25, and miss a day of school I excitedly said count me in. I didn’t know what the Mayerson Workshop was but I would gladly go to anything if I could miss a day of school. The Mayerson Workshop was at UC and three other Mercy girls went. The Mayerson Workshop is about service and different volunteer opportunities that you can get involved in around Cincinnati.
The day started off with three speakers who were high school students who talked about their experiences volunteering at different organizations. All the speakers were very good but the one speaker that was my favorite was a girl from Lighthouse Community School. She talked about volunteering with the elderly and how at first she didn’t want to do it, because she thought they wouldn’t have anything in common. When she started to volunteer there she became very close to all the residents, and realized that they do have lots of things in common. I really enjoyed her speech because she was very funny and honest.
After the three speakers there were three different breakout sessions were you could choose to go to any presentation from a list of twenty options. The first presentation I choose was about preventing youth suicide. The presenters were all on the Youth Suicide Council of Cincinnati. The presentation started out with them telling us facts about suicide, and their personal experiences with suicide. For example one boy said that he found his mom after she overdosed and how he had to call the police to take her to the hospital. Then after the presenters told us facts about suicide they opened it up for a discussion about suicide, and what we could do to prevent suicide in our schools and communities. What I took away from the presentation was that the number one thing you can do to help someone who is considering suicide or has suicidal thoughts is to talk with them.
The second presentation I went to was about refugees. The speakers were people who had gone to India for a service trip and had stayed with a family of refugees. They started out the presentation by playing a game. We had to get in groups of six and someone would be in the middle, and the person in the middle had to juggle six balloons that we threw at them. This symbolized all the things that refugees had to juggle when going to a new country. Then they talked to us about their experience in India when they stayed with a family of refugees. They said that the family had left from Pakistan and they were trying to become citizens of India, but it had been eleven years and they still weren’t legal citizens.
The last presentation I went to was about the Holocaust. The speaker was a lady who worked at The Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education which is near Kenwood Mall. The main lesson that I took away from this presentation was the difference between an upstander and a bystander. A bystander is someone who doesn’t participate in the events that are taking place but also doesn’t do anything to change the events. An upstander is someone who sets out to change something if they don’t like it.
After the three presentations you got into bigger groups with people from different schools, and talked about all the service activities that your school was doing. I liked this part the best because it gave me some new ideas for what Mercy could do for service. For example one boy from another school said that the classes had penny wars and all the money went to the Heifer Project. The Heifer Project buys livestock for families in third-world countries. The twist on their penny wars is that the teachers have to count all the money, and then when they finish counting can they start teaching. He said that this really motivates people to bring in as much money as they can.
Overall I really liked the Mayerson Workshop because it showed me other ways in which Mercy or myself could get involved. So if Mrs. Becker ever asks you if you want to go to the Mayerson Workshop say yes, because not only do you miss school but it is a great experience.
Above is a picture from the presentation about refugees. The sign that the two girls are holding says “Every 15 seconds a Syrian becomes a refugee.”
Above from left to right is Hannah Kemble’16, Margo Waters’16, Grace Garbsch’18, and Ashley Sullivan’16. These girls are taking a selfie after a day of learning about service at the Mayerson Workshop.