Blog post written by: Maya Nylund, Grade 10
The view beyond the windows of New York residents on the morning of Saturday, October the 22nd was an undeniably dreary one. Overnight, the sky had strayed from a soft blue to an unwelcoming grey. Rain fell cold and hard against leaf littered streets, and the wind made puppets of tree limbs and loose papers.
Despite this, by 7:30 a.m. here at the EF Academy Thornwood Campus, a small congregation of raincoat- clad students had huddled together at the campus’ main reception, myself among them.
We had gathered together to volunteer at an event at the nearby community of Sleepy Hollow. The Sleepy Hollow Halloween 10k is a run organized annually by a local organization called Rivertown Runners. The event is sponsored by several regional businesses and includes both an adult’s and children’s run. All races hosted by the Rivertown Runners funnel funding towards neighborhood organizations which support its mission to promote healthy living and the well being of the community. With this reserve, (known as the RTR Outreach Fund), Rivertown Runners has provided playground equipment to community parks, yoga classes for the elderly, scholarships to track athletes and more.
As student volunteers, we contributed to the Halloween Run by aiding in baggage check and setting up food and beverage stands for the runners to return to after completing the course. The event gave us a great opportunity to interact with local residents, particularly other youth. It was heartening to witness costumed families engaging in such a fantastic activity, and everyone’s ostensible morale in the face of less-than-ideal weather conditions. While working baggage check entailed scrambling to organize items under a slick tarp and those at the food stands fumbled to fill soggy paper cups with water, any trials we experienced were trumped by the spirit of the function and the people attending it. It was by all means a worthwhile experience- one from which we took away damp “Sleepy Hollow” tees, boxes of popcorn the runners didn’t get to, memories of one particularly enthusiastic little guy running in a rainbow wig, and an enhanced sense of appreciation for the Westchester area and it’s wonderful inhabitants.