Reach Out! 12/98 Progress Report: Introduction

The President's New Century Fund for Diversity (PNCFD) provided the seed capital to create a campus-wide Reach Out! center to support the science and mathematics development of students in grades K–12, especially from minority groups that are underrepresented in science and engineering disciplines. The Center for Ultrafast Optical Science (CUOS), funded primarily by the National Science Foundation, provides the home base for the Reach Out! center and for the broad-based Southeastern Michigan Math-Science Learning Coalition, which links multiple stakeholders' resources for children and teens in schools, churches, and community centers. The PNCFD funded work-study or stipend pay for UM student coordinators, consumable and non-consumable science materials, and t-shirts and refreshments for recognition and celebration parties at sites.

Reach Out! provides long-term programs directly to youth through UM faculty, staff, and students who serve as mentors and science club leaders. Area youth enjoy hands-on activities, career exploration, and educational support and counseling. Goals of Reach Out! for children and teens include initiating and sustaining their interest in science, promoting their aspiration and preparation for higher education or post–high school job training, and helping them think about and identify realistic plans to reach career goals. For the university, Reach Out! strives to improve communication among students, faculty, and staff about K–12 outreach opportunities; to link effective programs and services and foster partnerships among university groups for KŠ12 youngsters, parents, teachers, and community leaders; and to foster long-term commitments and roles among UM groups for children and teens at school and community sites.

An underlying Reach Out! theme is to nurture and support the passion and dreams of UM students related to serving youngsters. These coordinators, in turn, recruit, train, and support volunteers in providing programs and relationships with children. They typically pick a site and group of children with whom they bond while providing mentoring or science experiments. The numbers of children or teens who want to be involved grow. Coordinators then reach out to their friends, family, roommates, and organization members to get involved with them. Each site and program becomes its own family, including UM people, the children, and the site's staff—we lovingly refer to each site as a "learning community." Although our Reach Out! focus is on encouraging youngsters in learning math and science and in exploring career goals, we have come to realize that the most important outcome—for all involved—is caring relationships.

We believe that an anecdotal account of how people's association with Reach Out! has transformed their lives best illustrates what has been accomplished. What follows is an introduction to the people behind our programs, what they have contributed, and who they have become because of the PNCFD support.

And, because we know that some will prefer a more traditional evaluation, tracking progress and expenditures, we provide that, as well!

Yamina, Veronica, Alicia, Debbie, Grace, and Roselle at a going-away party for newly graduated Grace

I. Anecdotal Report
  A. Grace Kim
  B. Alicia Pinderhughes
  C. Debbie McCartney
  D. Marie Tripp, Jim Birnby & Amy Raudenbush, Aarti Raheja
  E. Yamina Acebo, Karyl Shand
  F. Roselle Herrera, John Nees, Fritz Weihe, Andy Rundquist, Reulonda Norman
  G. Cherita Hunter, Faye Booker-Logan
  H. Veronica Cottingham, Doris Calvert
  I. Erika Arias, Rachel Keefer, Srinivas Sridhara
II. Traditional Report
  A. Expand established programs
    1. Tutoring
    2. Wizards for Hands-On Science Activities
    3. Career Exploration
  B. Support for Michigan Mandate and Agenda for Women Goals
  C. Lessons Learned
  D. Next Steps
Appendix A: Volunteer Mentors from Fall 1997 through Fall 1998
Appendix B: Science Club Volunteers from Fall 1997 through Fall 1998
Appendix C: Outreach Sites from Fall 1997 through Fall 1998

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