Reach Out! 12/98 Progress Report: I. Anecdotal Report D

Marie's photo is coming!
Marie Tripp

Engineering Physics undergraduate

Alicia met and supported Marie starting out as a CUOS REU volunteer with our summer CEW program in 1997. They both periodically perform as "wizards," bringing liquid nitrogen experiments to classrooms and groups. Marie established an Alternative Spring Break hands-on science program and site in Boston in 1997. Seven volunteers worked with 20–40 children, ages 5–12, per day at the Boston Boys and Girls Club. She then helped other UM students in 1998 to continue this program in Boston and to add another in Miami (ten volunteers serving 40–80 children a day). Both sites and groups were supported by Reach Out! experiment kits and lessons. As a dry run for the first ASB, Marie took her group and its experiments to 63 Girl Scouts in the Brighton area, where she also helped leaders learn about our Web site and ways to incorporate careers and hands-on science within scout badge programs. Marie was also one of the original organizers of Reach Out!

Jim Birnby & Amy Raudenbush

Now graduated from Rackham School

Jim and Amy were CUOS graduate students who became stakeholders with the children, staff, and volunteers at Peace Neighborhood Community Center. They began with offering "wizard" kinds of once-in-awhile science demonstrations. This evolved into a science club. They also worked with Bonnie Billups, Peace Youth Director, on a grant application to the McDonald Foundation to establish a computer lab. During their nearly two years at Peace (before obtaining their masters' degrees and leaving Michigan), Jim and Amy saw the computer lab become a reality. They worked with youth to learn how to use different software programs and, when they left, we found that the kids were perfectly capable of continuing the services and training on their own. This was a true example of the Reach Out! desire to "teach people how to fish"—or to see real ownership evolve from the site and community so that programs we help to start will continue when we leave and are sustained by the people themselves.

Aarti's photo is coming!
Aarti Raheja

1998 BS graduate (Biopsychology & Cognitive Science); 1998-99 stipend employee

Aarti came to Reach Out! as a volunteer who wanted to find a campus group that "got things done." She started out with organizing and bringing together the UM's Hindu Student Council, to which she belonged, to plan and provide a science day at Ypsilanti's Cobble Creek Housing Center. Her passion to get more UM students out to provide children more hands-on and fun science activities grew by leaps and bounds. She saw the need to adopt a group of children and stick with them every week for a long time. As we all talked, the CCoG Opportunity Center seemed like a logical place for her to focus her attention and efforts. Ten years ago, Professor Joe Eisely and his UM NASA group provided a weekly science club at this site for nearly two years. Both adults and children in the community were waiting in hopes that one day science clubs would start back up.

UM Stakeholder Development
Aarti went to her PreMed Club leaders to seek their involvement with adopting the Ypsilanti Community Church of God Opportunity Center to provide elementary science clubs. Aarti envisions Reach Out! helping many campus groups who are already committed to community service to adopt a site and program for the long haul. In this way, she realizes that a school or community program can be assured of having ongoing support for children's programs even as individuals come and go—and UM students can experience true community involvement. Aarti was key to the PreMed Club's adoption of the Opportunity Center. Today, Srinivas Sridhara (00) and others have become true stakeholders there. The Black PreMed Association is also becoming more and more involved. During the last three semesters, 162 volunteers have provided lessons for some 539 elementary children.

Along with a friend who works for the Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives, Aarti met with Gloria Taylor to suggest OAMI adopting teachers at Ypsilanti's George Elementary School. Aarti has worked on every aspect of this marriage, from developing science club work-study job descriptions, to being the liaison among OAMI staff and school folks, to soliciting volunteers when OAMI didn't come up with the numbers they had hoped, to arranging for transportation —generally making this program work. Her hope is to see OAMI embrace and enfold this program within their mission and outreach programs. During the fall, 29 volunteers, 4 coordinators, and 6 teachers provided hands-on science experiences for 120 children, ranging from outrageous ooze to home-made volcanoes.

When she needed more volunteers to work at George, Aarti met with members of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. This relationship started from Jason Bristol (01) hearing from his mother, Sue, about the program while he was home one weekend. Sue was a science teacher with whom Reach Out! worked at Pioneer and then became a parent volunteer to help coordinate parent involvement with the mentoring program. Jason, in turn, wanted to encourage his fraternity to adopt a long-term service program and the natural fit that came about was with a class of first graders at George. Now, they have plans to expand.

Aarti recruited volunteers for a science day at Chapelle Elementary last year as a part of UM's Project Serve Community Outreach Day program. She worked with the mentoring program there to make this event happen. Aarti has a vision for how Reach Out! can be a significant part of students' lives on campus—embracing departments, organizations, and individuals. She recognizes the void such programs can fill in the lives of UM students, community folks, teachers, and children. Clubs and student groups typically share that from their working together through Reach Out! with children, they become closer to one another and meet people that they otherwise wouldn't have.

Aarti recruited members of the UM Undergraduate Psychological Society to Chapelle School as mentors and to George School for a science wizard series in spring 1998, illustrating her wonderful ability to link groups and friends in ways that are effective and mutually beneficial.

Aarti also made Reach Out! presentations with others for College of Engineering deans, for Lew Morrissey and Jim Kosteva, and for Governor Engler's staff. She prepared and presented a poster about Reach Out! for NASA's Michigan Space Grant conference on science education and service programs. One result of this conference was her desire to "hit the streets" to share the Reach Out! model with other universities. She further presented this model to the HOPE medical group's steering committee and is supporting a merger of our programs to heighten support for Ypsilanti teens.

From a volunteer to a paid, part-time coordinator, Aarti has gone the entire cycle of Reach Out! Her wisdom, experience, and ability to bring others from campus into the community is inspiring. She has helped the groups she belonged to become more focused about their service outreach and, in so doing, has strengthened relationships among peers and provided serious and effective programs for children.

In an example of how Reach Out! empowers UM students to dream and make programs happen for children, Aarti and several Reach Out! leaders are planning a free day camp for some of the children and teens involved in our programs for this summer. In typical fashion, she is recruiting family, friends, and organizations she has been a part of to get involved. This will be something to watch grow and evolve.

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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