Last day with our kids in Miami!! :(


I bear the sad burden of reporting the official end of Hillel asb ’10’s stay at ‘Goo Pah’ (Gould’s Park). However, as with all negatives remain the positives; experiences and indelible memories that will stay with us for years to come. In short today kicked. Majorly. From our intense game of G-H-O-S-T on the bus ride in to our heartfelt goodbyes at days end, we soaked in the literal and metaphorical light of success. Lets fill in the details. We disembarked off the bus, walked into the gym to find the waiting arms of our boy Junior, who was equally as happy to see us as we were to see him. After reiterating his love for UMD, the ‘terps and their high-percentage chance in the tourney, we grabbed our brushes, canvases, neon-colored paints and hurried outside to commence the days work activity.

Painting rocks. Even us guys will admit there is no compromising of our sexuality to say we thoroughly enjoy this art. Also, it rocks more when u can tan and paint simultaneously.

After we successfully completed our paintings/murals/designs (except Scotty’s group obviously) we ushered inside to listen to a speaker, who unbeknownst to us, would serve as one of the most profound and influential speakers I have ever heard in my life.  Rabbi Feldman carried an amazing personal story as well a sincere message to be heeded by all. He spoke about the importance of Jewish pride, how it has been the stimulus behind overcoming centuries of personal and cultural challenges. He spoke about the importance of altruism, specifically the significance of our role here, taking time off as volunteers in Miami and how it is the very core of our beloved religion. Lastly, he concluded with a Zionist challenge: to embody the previous message yet translate it into a devotion our hearts towards caring for our brothers and sisters that dwell in our beloved homeland Israel. He humbly added that he was the direct cause of a countrywide revolution in cold-war USSR. No biggie… However, the overall message was clear: We have a moral obligation to uphold the human rights of our fellow beings. Our volunteering as well as those of others who are dedicated to various causes is a practical application of the righteous and humanity that is omnipresent in the history of our people. God bless that dude, he is a true inspiration to us all.

Back to the fun! We picked up our kids and headed out for the second round of starfish field day. The kids competed in different forms of track events and had the privilege to watch the fastest 3rd grader we’ve ever witnessed. Then we got serious, it was dodgeball time. We ran with ferocity towards the court with the famous mantra echoing through our heads: “if you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball” Well, maybe just me, and Felder, but for real it was game time. Maybe Taahhmmmy from Bahhhstonnnn did… after he gave his usual intro he requested that we put a rock hard soccer ball into play. What a typical Sox fan. But in the end, as always, everyone had a great time.

The day ended with our bittersweet goodbyes, pictures, smiles and even a few tears. We all walked a little higher today, each of understanding the impact of our work the importance of our presence, knowing full well that we had effectively made a difference in each of our kids’ lives. Lastly, we officially ended with our final spirit break as our trip leader, Jon, stated our purpose here at Gould’s Park: “Playing with Children.” He Wood.

I really believe our relationship with City Year is growing into a beautiful partnership that will have powerful and sincere ramifications in the next few years.

That’s all for now. Stay true. Peace.



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