Hunger & Homelessness
This fall, we were able to host a successful Halloween for the Hungry food drive for the first time in two years! We had many volunteers from Brandeis collect donations from the Waltham community. We were able to donate over 30 bags of nonperishable goods to the Middlesex Human Services Agency. Unfortunately, since we hold many events in the Waltham community, we were unable to do most of our regular programming last year during the height of the pandemic. However, we still wanted to do what we could for the Community Day Center of Waltham (CDCW), so we created engaging fundraising events such as a cooking show and a ballroom dance class! We were also able to hold our points drive, which takes place entirely within Brandeis. Fort this event, students donate food from the C-store using their leftover points. We are grateful that we have been able to progress forward through the pandemic and are at a time where we can hold all our events again. We are working on some new and exciting things for next semester and are looking forward to seeing us grow!
Prospect Hill Kid's Club
"During COVID-19, Prospect Hill Kids’ Club transitioned into a completely virtual program. Fun activities and materials were distributed to the kids in Prospect Hill Terrace, and volunteers and kids attended weekly online sessions to do activities with the materials. This year, we are back to volunteering in person! We’re proud of how we adapted to the COVID restrictions that limited our volunteers and posed other novel challenges. While it was difficult, we were able to adapt and put on a great semester of programming. We even started Prospect Hill Olympics, where teams of students compete in educational and community building activities for a prize! We are extremely proud of our new library system with over 2000 books, which took almost 4 years to create. The library is housed at the Prospect Hill Community Center for all the kids to access. In the last 5 years, our programming has shifted to have a greater focus on reading and developing the library was a part of this initiative."
The circumstances around the pandemic forced us to go virtual with several of our programs and halted our relationships with other community partners since in-person, off-campus events were no longer an option. Starting our programs back up this semester has offered a series of new challenges from communication with community partners to managing safety procedures. However, this has given us an opportunity to expand our programing and reinvent what climate justice activism means to us. We are proud of maintaining our partnerships as well as expanding and finding new ones. We really worked on having meetings and finding programs that our mission and theirs aligned. We also really have been thinking about intersectionality and our impact on the community as a whole, and how Brandeis can improve- not just the Waltham community but looking at our own university campus. We are focusing on environmental education and awareness, we used to focus more on animals however with the changing climate we have begun to adapt and really try and find things that are impactful on our community. We also have had an increase in interest this past year, which has been exciting, and has led us to grow as an organization and try to expand in order to provide more volunteering opportunities. Symbiosis had a wonderful fall semester and we cannot wait to see what the spring semester brings!