I volunteered with In Arms Reach during 2015-2016. It felt good to be able to participate in various activities from helping one student get through a book they were reading, to helping another with multiplication, to mentoring another student about college and the process of becoming a physician and reminding them that all their dreams are possible. I still remember creating a PowerPoint about the SAT and ACT for some of our high school students who expressed to me that they wanted more information about the exams, as well as more information on what they should keep in mind while applying to colleges. Ultimately, volunteering with In Arms Reach was a fruitful experience, where I was able to give back to and connect to the community, further cultivate my leadership skills, and gain a greater sense of purpose.
My name is Jean Fleuriscar and I am currently a third year medical student in the CUNY School of Medicine. In Arms Reach was one of the most impactful volunteer experiences that I’ve had. Working with the young students, coming from under-resourced communities not dissimilar to my own, was very gratifying. Although they came from difficult socioeconomic situations, when they arrived, they would immediately be immersed in the educational experience. Their focus would be the activities that we planned, with the goal of piquing their interest in STEM fields. Every week I would see their young minds working through, and solving, the problems we presented to them. Their enthusiasm and curiosity were incredible. In my opinion, In Arms Reach is an indispensable resource to the community.
I had the amazing opportunity to be a part of In Arms Reach for 4 years before graduating from the CUNY School of Medicine. Being a mentor was more than just another volunteer service. Seeing the way, the children’s faces lit up every week when their favorite mentors were there for them after school was the most rewarding experience. At IAR, I had the pleasure of organizing multiple STEM lessons for the children to participate in after completing their assigned homework. From building spaghetti bridges, they learned about the distribution of forces and basic physics. From making slime and putting mentos in soda, they learned about basic elements in chemistry. From rubbing balloons on their heads, they learned about electricity and basic elements of matter. Through these lessons, the children really started to appreciate how learning can be fun and how these lessons in basic sciences and technology could eventually turn into a career.
I volunteered to tutor and aid the young kids with their respective classes during after school hours. These students who have had a difficult upbringing are full of light and willingness to learn. I can identify with this because I come from an immigrant family who barely knew a word of English when we arrived. Not only does this program allow students to have the opportunity to do their homework with assistance but also allows them the opportunity to be inspired by medical students and students of CCNY and that is priceless. It was an extraordinary and fulfilling experience to be able to help these students of marginalized backgrounds. Most importantly, it was exhilarating to look at their bright and astonished faces when we would do STEM activities such as science experiments or working with robots.
Sophie Davis CUNY School of Medicine Class of 2025. What I enjoyed most about In Arms Reach was how it allowed me to provide mentorship and academic support to kids in need. I could feel that the students I worked with appreciated the presence of a tutor who was close enough to them in age to understand the different things that they struggled with both in school and at home. I could see that I was making a significant impact through instances where I helped students’ complete homework that they were unable to understand before I provided support. I also found it fun to engage in workshops where we exposed the kids to different STEM-related topics with interactive presentations and experiments. There is something satisfying about watching young minds get excited about learning something new. I value In Arms Reach as a great way to give back to the Harlem community and help foster the next generation of young scholars.
In Arms Reach, Inc. (“IAR”) instills STEM exposure, academic enrichment, arts, music, mentorship, and trips to facilities bringing together children and families impacted by mass incarceration from under-resourced communities of color
In Arms Reach, Inc. The City College of NY
160 Convent Avenue
New York, New York 10031