WITH EVERYTHING ON IT
FIRST stands for, "For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology." To reach their goal, which is what their title stands for, they host multiple robotics competitions. Each competition is suited for a certain age group and has a certain level of intensity. Many people get the wrong impression from "robotics competition" - they think all we do is building and programming. Although those are probably the foremost parts of the competition, a big part of a robotics team consists of outreach. I joined an FRC (First Robotics Challenge) team, and through my team, I have used my knowledge of robotics to help other kids!
The first full-day event that I helped out with was an FLL mock tournament. Now, FLL is the robotics competition level that is suited for late elementary and early middle schoolers. I helped out by judging. It felt kind of nostalgic being a judge, where 2 years ago, I was the participant. Many of the teams went through some of the problems that my team and I went through when I was a participant. For example, a team was experiencing differently outcomed robot runs on each playing field. I helped the team by explaining a few things that I discovered during my time on my team. I explained what "play" in the gears was, and I also explained how to use a jig, and how to make it adaptive to multiple types of fields. From this experience, I really learned the internals of a competition of this caliber, and what it took to run smoothly.
Boy Scouts Merit Badge Training:
The most recent outreach that my team did was a merit badge training. As most people know, Boy scouts need to get merit badges, and in order to get merit badges, they need to complete a set of tasks. We help train the boy scouts in robotics by teaching them how to use LEGO Mindstorms, and teaching them basic programming structure. The task that they had to accomplish with the robots was line-following, which involved teaching them how a reflected light sensor worked. During all of this, I really enjoyed teaching other kids things that I had to learn by myself.
I volunteered at an aquatic center today, helping them out in a triathlon they were hosting. It was me and maybe fifteen more volunteers from the same volunteering organization. When I got there, I just went to where I saw the most red shirts, which was the color of all the volunteers shirts. They were all huddled around a check-in table where some staff were explaining how the triathlon worked. I knew all this stuff because this was the second time I volunteered here. My first time was last year on the same day. We all got assigned stations and were explained exactly what to do. While we were listening, I saw many athletes getting ready. They were suspending their bikes onto these raised horizontal poles, and laying there gear out so it would be easy for them to get on.
I was assigned to station number 18. One of the staff members drove me and this other girl - who was also assigned to 18 - to the spot we were stationed at. The aquatic center is right next to a mall, so the triathlon basically trailed the perimeter of the mall. We were stationed right in front of Belk. We were at our stations at 7:15 am although the runners were going to come through at eight-thirty. I asked, in the nicest way I could, why we were stationed so early. The staff member explained that it would take a long time to get all the volunteers situated. I hated being the first one stationed because we had to wait the longest with nothing to do. Me and my station partner started talking, and it turns out she was in my school! After that, we talked a lot, mostly because we could relate our first week in school experiences.
I think the first runners came through at around 8:45, and at that point, we had filled up about twenty cups of water so that the runners could just take one and drop it on the ground when they were done. When the first runner came, he took a cup, took like one sip, and dumped the rest on his head. So much for getting hydrated. After that people of all ages came rolling through. I thought it would be a steady stream of people, but it was more like bursts. I think this year, the triathlon had significantly less participants because I didn't see many runners. I saw this really short kid that was probably around eight or nine, and he was doing the full triathlon. I cheered him on because that... is an accomplishment. Most of the athletes were wearing wet-suits from swimming, but some were wearing the normal dri-fit shirt and shorts. I wondered how they could have changed so fast. I think that they wore those clothes over their wet suits. I admit - I didn't particularly have fun handing out water, but I did have fun cleaning up. I tested my strength by lifting sandbags and stacks of cones. We put everything into a Uhaul truck, and we were done! In all, I spent about four hours helping and cleaning.
Every year, the Lazy Daze festival in Cary, NC, features over six hundred artists. Each one showcasing their own incredible and distinctive skill, in the form of art. The type of art ranged from miniature photography to Silhouette art! This year, I volunteered at the photo booth, and helped people create photographic memorabilia. My experience at the booth can be described by a simple saying:
It's a small world.
It truly is. I met one person that I knew a long time ago, and that was one of my kindergarten teachers. At first, I didn't know it was her, but somehow our conversation led her to say that she used to be a kindergarten teacher, and of course I asked where. She replied, "Fuller Elementary." I replied, "Wow, it must be a small world... I went to Fuller." It turns out, that she was one of my teachers!! I even met some of the people I knew in fourth and fifth grade, volunteering just like me. I met so many different people trying to take pictures. A group of friends, A very large family (I think there were four kids, a mom, a dad, and a grandmother!), I even met a couple who were one day from getting married.
After my volunteering was over I walked around the festival and visited some tents. We saw one artist who made lamp shades by pressing all kinds of flora on to a material! I thought that was very creative. That had to be a long process, because the flowers needed to be preserved so they wouldn't wither away. I went to this tent to an artist who cut out black paper to make silhouettes. He allowed me to sit down while he made my silhouette. He made it so fast! Maybe 3-4 minutes max, and even in a short time, it looked so accurate. I could definitely see it as my real shadow.
If you like art, and you're in NC, make sure to check out the NC Museum of Art (NCMA)!!! It's a pretty cool place to visit, even if you're like me and are not a fan of museums. In the European art section, you'll come across a lot of sculptures, and a lot of portraits. One thing that I noticed about many of the sculptures was that they were somehow disembodied. Some of them were made like that, and some of them were broken over the centuries. And then, there were the bazillions of portraits. I usually don't pay much attention to the portraits, but some of these were REALLY good. They looked super photo-realistic. The only weird thing about these 19th century portraits, is that all the people are in very similar poses. I saw a couple that showed people in the EXACT same poses as the Mona Lisa. Like, where's the creativity!?!?!
I usually gravitate towards the landscape paintings, because they always look more appealing to me. I saw this really cool landscape painting that showed a forest outlooking a cliff where the artist painted two Native Americans observing the scenery.
The 2017 solar eclipse is approaching quickly! On August twenty-first, the midday skies will drastically dim, revealing a rare, and potentially dangerous sight. A solar eclipse occurs when the moon is directly between the earth and the sun. When this happens, you can end up with a total, or partial solar eclipse. The one coming up soon is a total solar eclipse, which means that it will completely cover up the sun! However, to witness totality, you have to be within the narrow 7-mile-thick band that spans from Oregon to South Carolina.
When the eclipse is in its partial phase, you have to wear special eclipse glasses to look directly at it, or you could fry your retina! The only time you can look at the sun with your naked eye is at totality, when the moon is completely covering the sun. If you don't have special eclipse glasses, you can make a pinhole projector, which will project the silhouette of the moon's path across the sun. All you need to do is to take a box and poke a hole in it. To use it, face away from the sun and face the hole towards the sun. The light coming through the hole will be projected inside the box. But if worst comes to worse, fear not! There are many live streams online which you can watch. Most notably, NASA.
Eclipse day is over! I was personally disappointed that I didn't have any glasses of my own, but in the end, I thought it was okay. I got to watch the eclipses from other states through VR! That's right, VR. Thanks to CNN, I got to watch the eclipse from Wyoming in Gear VR. Not bad at all! When it was the east coasts' turn to see the eclipse, I whipped out my pinhole projector and watched as the projection changed. Before the eclipse was over, I borrowed a pair of eclipse glasses and caught a glimpse of the partial eclipse, so I guess it wasn't a total failure :)....
North Carolina ranks in the fifteen worst states for food insecurity of people under eighteen year of age, according to the North Carolina Association of Feeding America (2017). Also, 81 percent of households in the Raleigh area that receive assistance with food don't know where their next meal is coming from (North Carolina Association of Feeding America, 2017). Many different people can be affected by hunger. Students at school may suffer from this and their only source of food may be from school and programs such as food pantries. Hunger can easily affect homeless kids, seniors, and people that have to choose between paying for food or healthcare. Organizations like Rise Against Hunger rely on volunteers to deliver nutritious food to homeless kids around the world, and a branch of it runs right here in Raleigh. In Raleigh alone, about 4.5 million meals were packaged in 2016 (Rise Against Hunger, 2017). That averages out to about 514 meals every hour. Our goal is to package about three hours worth of food for Rise Against Hunger.
We are interested in this issue because food is a vital necessity for growing children like ourselves. We are fortunate to have a good source of food at school, but there are kids who don’t have healthy food at home. The News and Observer says that many low-income kids will go hungry during winter break because they cannot rely on the breakfasts and lunches that Wake County Schools serve (Hui, 2015). We believe that every child should have their basic needs met so that they can learn well in school.
According to Feeding America, “Studies have found that food insecurity has been associated with health problems for children that may hinder their ability to function normally and participate fully in school and other activities, ”(2017). The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow. It is important that we as kids get a good education, but it is also important that we have the full ability to participate in the learning experience. All of us have been a student at least once. Good education allows us to succeed. This is one reason why everyone should care about this issue. Moreover, we as humans should take the responsibility to help those who are less fortunate than ourselves. We need to help get their basic needs met so that they can succeed in life.
Hunger mostly affects people that are of African American and Latino descent. Twenty- two percent of African American households and 21% of Latino households are food insecure. In addition, 27% of African American children and 24% of Latino children live in households that are food insecure (Feeding America 2017). Major hunger in North Carolina has been going on since The Great Depression. North Carolina has been regularly ranked as one of the highest states for food insecurity.
Hunger is a problem in North Carolina because some people who are unemployed or bring in low wages struggle to put food on the table. There can be many causes and effects on our community because of hunger in North Carolina. One cause of child hunger could be that their parents don’t have enough money to feed all of the children. This can affect our community because it could not only lead to people in general being hungry, but also children being hungry. People and their children could also become homeless. A cause for seniors being hungry would be after they retire from a job they had, they may not have any income or savings left in order to prevent food insecurity. If this issue isn’t resolved then, hunger could possibly cause death from malnutrition. Another effect hunger could have is that homeless levels and unemployment levels would increase. Also, hunger in not only Raleigh, but also in North Carolina itself could make markets, grocery stores, and other businesses have a decreased income of money which can resort to a decreasing economy.
There are many organizations that can help to end hunger, but only a few operate in this area. The Food Shuttle helps give out hot meals to those who can’t afford one. The Food Shuttle also has food drives which gives food to people who can’t bring it home. They can live off the food given to them for up to a month. Many people help by driving around to other people's houses and tell them about local events that can help with those who have a hunger issue.
Rise Against Hunger is a organization that packages nourishing food for those who cannot afford it. Rise Against Hunger is a worldwide organization that is in local area. Unlike The Food Shuttle, you pay 29 cents per meal you want to package. They have packaged a total of 313,894,093 meals and in a week alone they have packaged 776,304 meals. The Rise Against Hunger organization serves 74 countries. They help many schools that are in need of food to feed the students that go there. They also have many places where you can volunteer in the country.
There are many ways that we can help in our community such as in churches, we can have food banks and drives. At schools, teachers and staff can ask all the students for the extra canned goods that they don’t use. At many schools, they should have backpack buddies and for high schools could give high school students a meal that they take home meals for many can't afford any meals. Backpack buddies is a program that local schools and local community centers host. It gives canned goods and dinners to those in need. For example WRAL hosted a backpack buddies for the community and lots of people came out to volunteer and help the needy they have out about 10,000 meals. Backpack buddies can be in schools to such as Lacy Elementary. They give you a bag full of can goods boxed foods and they give you snacks that can last for a weekend or for a month
We personally want to do something for the people who need food. An idea we have is to host a meal packaging event for those in hunger. To do that we will need money and food. The food will be provided by Rise Against Hunger and we will be the ones who raise the money to get enough meals. To raise money we will be doing fun fundraisers and food drives. We will also contact Rise Against Hunger later on throughout the year after we have earned enough money.
We are planning to package the meals at Martin Middle School. At the end of the year, all the 8th graders at Martin will do different community projects. Some of them will help us pack meals for those in need. We first need to have enough money. To reach that goal we’ll do fundraisers and food drives. School fundraisers like a bake sale, raffle, and many others might help us raise a lot of money. Many of the students at Martin could have food cans sitting in their kitchen that can be given to us for the food drives. We will also put up posters to help advertise for our fundraisers.
If people want to join us they will need some important information . When they join us they will need to know that this is not helping them earn any money. We are raising money to help this in hunger. This is for a good cause, not a job where you earn money to use.
Our goal for this project is to feed at least 1,542 meals and raise $450. If we can earn more money and get more meals for more people, that would be a great bonus. We will know if we achieved it when we raised $450 and packaged more than 1,600 meals. We hope we will reach our goal and help all of those who can't get at least one meal in one day.
Hui, T. Keung. "Many Wake County Students Go Hungry during Winter Break."
Newsobserver. N.p., 20 Dec. 2015. Web. 27 Mar. 2017.
"Hunger in North Carolina." North Carolina Food Banks. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Mar. 2017.
"Our Impact." Rise Against Hunger. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Mar. 2017. <http://www.riseagainsthunger.org/our-impact/>
A few weeks ago, I went to the Outer Banks, and as you can guess, we stayed in Duck, NC. We stayed on the shore of the beautiful Currituck sound, where we got to catch some vibrant red displays amidst heavy cloud cover.
We started by taking a ferry from the mainland to the island of Ocracoke. The ferry ride was a whopping two hours long, so if you go, you should plan on what to do. We ate lunch on the ferry because we boarded around lunchtime. There were a lot of tables on the ferry, so that was pretty convenient. We played cards for sometime, but that got boring very fast. The highlight (and what I did for the majority of the time) was standing on the outside deck in the front of the ferry. There was a constant gale hitting me as I stood there observing the water and the forming islands. I saw many seagulls and pelicans, swooping down and caressing the water's surface. The wind was the best part, though. My hair was going crazy, and I couldn't even open my eyes without wearing sunglasses.
As Ocracoke came into view I saw a little sandy island literally covered by flocks of birds. I wonder if that was a nesting ground or something. Ocracoke has some of the best ice cream ever. Although I don't personally like ice cream, I tried some coffee ice cream, and it was great! You can go to almost any ice cream or slushie stall to get great tasting, and heat busting snacks! Later, we went on a nature trail tucked away in a little street corner. At first, I didn't really want to go because it was smoldering and I was in no mood to walk, but I definitely enjoyed the walk! Throughout the trail there were wooden signs explaining the different plant species surrounding the pathway. This was pretty cool until we found one for poison ivy which made me cautious about where I was stepping. At the end of the trail there was a little marsh with a sandy deck which opened up to a expansive view of the ocean. I got a few good snaps and a breath of fresh ocean air, and we made our way back to the road.
Next, we drove to the Ocracoke lighthouse, which if you live in North Carolina, you've probably already seen. It is a little, stubby, white concrete lighthouse. Unfortunately, we couldn't climb to the top.
Next we took a smaller ferry to Hatteras island, where we went to see the Cape Hatteras lighthouse... again. It still managed to make a great picture! This was all we had time for in Cape Hatteras, because we had to make it to our rental house in Duck, NC, which was about a one and a half hour ride from Cape Hatteras.
You will know when you have entered the city of Duck. Almost every business has a name that has the word "duck" in it. Duck burgers, Duck donuts, Duck deli, Duck water sports, you name it! The house that we rented was probably in the best location ever. We had a water sports place down the street, a great view of the sound from the back of the house, and a direct road, walking distance, to the beach.
On the second day, we went to the Wright Brothers kite flying festival to fly my kite. Some of the kites there were crazy. I saw someone flying a huge whale. We brought my heli-kite, which I have never flown before, so it was a first time experience for us. I have to say, I think I did pretty well for a first-timer. I got it at least fifty feet off of the ground, but I couldn't get it any higher. If there was more wind, it would have probably gone higher.
Later that day, we headed to a horse sight-seeing place.... at five miles per hour. The traffic on Duck Rd. was crazy! Apparently it was always like this on that road on Saturdays. We would go a half a mile every twenty minutes. It was horrible. We barely got to the ride in time. On the tour, we rode in a re-purposed army vehicle across the beach, looking for a rare species of horse. The Spanish Mustang. Apparently, the last of the species is in the Outer Banks, living in a protected area of land. Our best sighting of the horses was a little group of mustangs huddled together on the beach. It was three females and two males. Another male was approaching the group, and but the male in the group stared him down. At least there was no fight! As we were heading back in the vehicle, a pretty bad storm stirred up, and it caused a waterspout to form over the ocean. That was a pretty cool thing to see.
On the third day, we went to the beach. The beach had very fine sand that really satisfied my feet. I've been to rocky beaches, and I definitely like fine sand better. The ocean was cold and large waves kept kicking up and depositing jellyfish all over the sand. Yes, jellyfish. These jellyfish didn't have tentacles, but they were pretty big. The largest one I saw had a diameter of a smartphone. Gross. Every time the waves reached my sand castle, a jellyfish would be left behind in the trench I had built. I would spent more time in the water if there were no jellyfish. I just didn't want to step on one barefooted.
One thing that is a must is to do at least one water sport. We went jet skiing which at first was kind of scary because we were first- timers. After sometime, however, it becomes really, really fun. The water was pretty shallow, so if you did fall of the jet ski, you would be able to wade towards it. We topped out at about 30 mph, but these things could go at up to 50 mph! 30 mph was plenty exhilarating for me.