Alternative Winter Break A Novel Experience

By Sharon Schoenfeld
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Oren (r) keeps it light at PATH

Becoming older is such a weird sensation. I’m gaining so many novel experiences and meeting tons of interesting people. These things shape us whether we like it or not.

As I’m going through life, I’ve accumulated so much knowledge and perceptive about the world around me. Participating with PATH exposed me to a new way of communicating and handling people.

Walking along the streets of Skid Row and seeing the collection of tents and homeless communities in downtown LA opened my eyes in a whole different way. I’ve never seen such intense poverty. But for some reason, there was a part of me that was happy for them, for they didn’t live secluded from each other. They were aware of the situation and accepted it – making it their own.

Talking to the residents of PATH and hearing their impeccable stories, I feel extremely humbled. Seeing the poverty in New York City, I have created this assumption about homeless people and was not in tune with their background stories.

Once I really heard their voices and their emotion was unleashed, the connection that was created and the impact that was left, lasts forever. It’s truly been a pleasure to speak with such amazing individuals and take this experience home with me and spread it to others.

~ Oren Yaari – 11th Grade, Huntington, NY

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