A Waterways Project Publication
Richard Spiegel and Barbara Fisher, codirectors
Thomas Perry, administrative assistant

Paul Rotondo, VTC Site Teacher, Maimonides Hospital
Rose Ziti, School Aid

NYC Vocational Training Center
Alan Werner, Principal
Loretta White, Assistant Principal

Richard Organisciak, Superintendent
Alternative, Adult and Continuing Education Schools & Programs

1999 Ten Penny Players
with funding support from Learn and Serve America
and the NY State Council on the Arts

Day Dreaming
by Joelean Medina

I am day dreaming in my house
and it happens. I slip into
the painting on the wall
of my room. It is dark and scary,
but I manage to hold on to my emotions.
I am walking down the dark street
in my neighborhood; and there is no one around.
Suddenly, I am on my bed in my room
in the apartment that I used to live in.
I am above myself and looking at me sleeping.
How incredibly strange I think.
I wake, get up and leave the apartment building
wandering through town
to see if there is anyone around
to talk to. I call out.
Could it be possible that there is no one left
on the face of the Earth to speak to?
And, I think to myself
how lucky I am to have friends to talk to.
I am only day dreaming.

If I Could Change the Schools
What Would I Do?
by Joelean Medina

First, I would break all the rules
and teach what the real world
needs you to know.

Judge a book by its cover,
especially when you are
at a job interview, looks count.

Share well with your team mates,
but not with everyone else.
That would hurt business.

Grow some tough skin.
Not everyone is nice.

Be careful if someone's being friendly at work.
They want something from you.

Doing something the way the assignment says so
is not an "A" project. It's just a "C."
If you want an "A" you better work all night.

Money is the reason for most things.

Being late for first period is not okay.
At work you will lose money.

Being late for second period is not okay, either.

The security guards don't let the thugs
get away with it; at work, anyway.

Volunteering is good
if you realize
you are doing it.


What a Kid Needs by Simon Brister

What a kid needs is the opportunity to work
Not a job

What a kid needs is the encouragement to succeed
Not a diploma

What a kid needs is the knowledge of one's self
Not a test

What a kid needs is an example to look to
Not a lecture

What a kid needs is not found in a book
But in your soul

Rosaria Spano

In the past two years that I have been volunteering at Maimonides Medical Center I have had the privilege of working with staff members and patients that have had a great positive influence on my life. I have been volunteering in a "day" program for "confused and disoriented" patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. These patients require a very special form of care that demands stimulation of brain and motor functions through a variety of related activities such as play therapy, arts and crafts, exercise and memory recall games.

What I have learned through my experience is that the caring and giving to others is reciprocal. I have taken back form these wonderful people much more than I realized. I have learned in life to focus much more on others than I have in the past and this I find as an enriching experience.

I have had the privilege of achieving many personal rewards from donating my services. It has helped me mature into a young woman. I find myself more respectful of others. In particular, the elderly. Seeing my patients suffering has urged me to assist them not only recreationally, but to also assist them by treating them with the dignity, patience, respect and kindness that they need and deserve.

Keeping a consistent work schedule has shown me how to prepare myself for a full time career, while providing me with the discipline that will hopefully make my transition from school to work much more rewarding and successful. I have learned that if I want to have a successful future that I must work hard at it.

My initial motivation for volunteering was to gain an opportunity to continue my education while enhancing my work skills for my resume. Now, however, I have realized that my goals and expectations have changed. I look forward to coming to work each day for a number of reasons very different than the ones I began with. I enjoy the medical atmosphere and helping people navigate through the hospital experience which for most people is a rather stressful event. Helping patients feel good in the midst of their problems is something that I enjoy doing. Also while I am at the hospital the patients and staff also treat me like an adult rather than a teenager and this is very rewarding.

I thank God for giving me the desire and opportunity to volunteer at this point in my life and for showing me that we all need others in life. I would also like to extend my thanks to my fellow volunteers and the hospital staff that have given me so much support during my time. In particular Ms. Alla Brudny and Ms. Christine Zunno of the volunteer department for nominating me for an award.

Sooan Isaac

I never understood why people volunteered until I did it myself. I guess the idea always crossed my mind and then I questioned why work for free. Especially those of us who come from homes that have little as is. I wonder if those people who are lucky enough to have families with money do they volunteer?
And then I wonder why not?
I think every one has their reasons. As for mine, I know what I want to get out of it, and that is experience, recommendations, and a good feeling about myself. I live with my mom and she works evenings cleaning so that we can pay the bills. I want someday to be able to take care of her so that she doesn't have to work that hard.
I know I'm doing the right thing because I believe that you get back more when you give to others. It was something my mom taught me years ago.
And I'm very proud of the things she taught me.

Mike Pagliaro

I think volunteering in the hospital has been very rewarding for me. Looking back at the things I have accomplished while I have been here reminds me that I have a long way to go but I have a lot of people pulling for me. I think sometimes you need to see that others may have life a little tougher than you do just to put things into perspective.
Kevin Gavarrete

I would like people to think of me like the way they would like to be thought of.
You never know when that may help you.

I work in the Day Surgery Operating Room as an attendant. I help patients in and out of the operating room. I set up the machines that the doctors need when they operate. I bring things to the labs when they are cut out of people to be tested.

I think it is very interesting and I like doing it very much. When I came to the VTC program I began working on my writing and reading skills. I'm proud of what I have done so far.

Erik Figueroa

A volunteer experience that was meaningful to me has been learning about the responsibility of the Joint Commission, an accreditation organization that inspects the hospitals. The commission can recommend changes in the hospital and can require that certain things are done to continue providing quality health care.
The commission actually can shut the hospital down from providing health care if it thought it necessary.
I never realized the many different areas that someone interested in criminal justice in college could find themselves doing after they graduate. Compliance is a huge field not only within the health care industry but in every company.
The experience I have been given here in the VTC program and with Maimonides has certainly been educational.

Evelyn Escobar

A volunteer experience that I value comes from me working in the hospital's department of surgery. I feel very glad to work with the people in that department. I work hard all day long and I do a lot for the doctors. I file medical documents that are about the surgery. I photocopy documents and I make deliveries around the hospital to the various departments. I answer the department's phones and take messages for the staff.
I really like working in the department and think that helping others is a very important thing.

Michael Feldman

I have been working a lot with food and I like working with food. Hopefully one day I would like to become a chef. For now I volunteer in a hospital in the food servicies division. I prepare and serve hot meals to patients, staff members and visitors in the hospital's cafeteria. I think it is fine training for someone interested in becoming a chef. I also like being around the people here. They teach me what it is like to be at work on a daily basis. I find myself thinking that it takes more than just the doctor to help patients in a hospital. No one realizes that all these other jobs are being done just to support those who are sick. It kinda makes me feel good.

Robert Berrios

I remember a little way back when I was about 13 years of age and I found myself helping assist a group of people paint the walls of some neighborhood blocks that had graffiti all over them. We started working all day and painted until we couldn't take it any more. I know I wasn't getting paid or anything but I thought that it would just be nice for the community and the people I called neighbors to be able to be proud of where they live.

I walked away from that experience realizing that not all jobs receive financial reimbursement...some just leave you feeling good about yourself.


From pyramids to projects....

From pharoahs to perpetrators...

From cuneiform to graffiti...

From medicine to crack...

From fatherhood to child support....

From Hammurabi to the (Brooklyn) house...

From apartheid to apathy....
Could this be right?

Five by Edward Rodriquez


In a few short weeks I will be finishing my experiences here at Maimonides with Paul and with VTC. I am very happy for what they have taught me and given me. The ability to look into myself and find the strength to complete things for myself. I have made a lot of friends and I will miss them. But I know that just thinking of them will make me happy especially when I am far away from home. You see I am entering the United States Navy and being trained in Air Traffic Control. I think working in the hospital has been a good experience for me especially when it comes to how to deal with stress. Thanks.


Hey, politicians!
Do you really want to do something good?

I work hard to go to school.
My parents work hard, too.

I've tried to apply for financial aid
and have been told my parents
bring home too much.
I never realized we were rich.
In fact, I never would have even guessed
that we were rich.
The reality of it is that we are not rich.
Why do the laws punish the working class?
How do I go to college if I can't get aid?
My parents barely make ends meet.
They even need the extra I can bring home.

Sure. Did you know that your laws
make it so all I can get is $2500?
How do I find the rest of a $12000 tuition bill?
It must have been nice to have been so lucky
to be in your shoes...

I'd even pay it off over years.
All I want is an even chance.
And who says anyone who wants to go to college can?
Wake up! That's just plain ignorant.



One of the things that I think
most families need today
from an employer
is child day care.
I think this should be made
into a requirement
of employers:
to have a daycare site
provided at everyone's work,
where good teachers are paid
and available;
so that people can work
and get paid
and know
that their children are being cared for.

They can also stop in
and see how they are doing.
I believe this is important
not only to families,
but to the children
who need parents around
more than the work day would allow.

Instead of some of the other
stupid ideas politicians have
why not things like this?

I guess they've never needed it.
They should thank God
they were born where they are.


The three greatest inventions
of the millenium must be
the automobile,
the computer,
and the telephone.
This is because
they provide transportation
to see the world
and the sites
that most people would
never have been able to see;
the telephone
to communicate
with the world;
and the computer
to assist life
in meeting the challenges
that our minds give us.


I decided to leave regular high school
because when I was there
I kept making mistakes
like getting involved
with the wrong crowd.
I thought writing might help others out there
from making the same mistakes I've made.
They weren't there for me
like they swore.
They weren't there when my grades began to slip.
The whole thing became a joke
and the crowd was nowhere to be found.

It's always the same.
They will stick by you
through thick and thin
like family.
Yeah, right.
By the time I realized
what was happening
I had to leave school.

Luckily, I found a place
that I could shine in,
a place that treated me
like an adult employee
and gave me the opportunity
to finish the work I started
when I was a kid
back in high school.

VTC believed in me
and taught me
to never stop
believing in myself.


Ten Penny Players