volunteer programs

Community Service Challenge

Challenge Cup award

Available Community Service Challenge projects

Science from Scientists

About

Science from Scientists inspires and motivates youth to embrace Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Our goal is to ensure our nation's youth is competitive globally in STEM fields through exciting, informative and engaging training by practicing scientists. Our instructors are individuals passionate about science who have undergraduate degrees in STEM, and have received or are pursuing advanced degrees in STEM or education.  We work with 4th-8th grade students in the greater Boston area.

Proposed Project

One of the programs Science from Scientists runs is Science Theater - large science demonstration shows in front of hundreds of students. The goal of these shows is to excite students about science and teach them important scientific concepts while we are at it!  We continually need to update and improve our demonstrations in order to bring the best program we can to schools and other community groups. We would be happy to work with any number of students.  The number of students will just determine how many demonstrations we create/revise.

Time Commitment: 2-4 hours/week
Location: Less than 1 mile away from MIT's campus

Timeline

February: Brainstorm new demonstrations and discuss which existing demonstrations would most benefit from revisions

March: Construct new demonstrations and revise old ones (create new props, write scripts, design follow-up activities)

April: Test out demonstrations and edit

Project Sustainability

We will continue to develop new Science Theater demonstrations and perform them at schools and events around Massachusetts.  It is a vibrant part of our organization and we would welcome continued assistance.

Contact Information

Shannon Morey, Director of Education, Shannon@sciencefromscientists.org

Courtney Weiber, Education Coordinator, cortney@sciencefromscientists.org

 

East End House

About

East End House community center uses a holistic approach to promote the well-being, academic achievement, and successful transition to adulthood of children and youth from under-resourced families in Cambridge and surrounding communities. As part of this approach, East End House provides support services to a diverse population, from infants to seniors, to strengthen family and community. The agency is nationally accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA) and the first in the country to be dually accredited as an organization and for out of school time programming.

Proposed Project

The proposed project is composed of an academic and an enrichment component.  It focuses on providing middle school students enrolled in East End House's YO! Youth Opportunities Middle School Program with a greater number of opportunities to participate in active relationship building and learning from community role models, while simultaneously addressing the achievement gap between low-income and middle- to upper-income students in the Cambridge Public Schools.

On the academic side, MIT students would be helping the agency to establish an academic support center at Putnam Avenue Upper School, where East End House's Middle School Program operates daily, 3-6 PM.  MIT students would be helping to create and staff a space where middle school students can complete their homework after school, with knowledgeable tutors who build relationships with them over time.  Homework time would begin at 3:15 and extend to 4:15 most days.

Following homework time, students move into enrichment classes (past examples include STEM classes, film-making, cooking, basketball, Zero Robotics, and more); these are designed to complement in-class learning through more hands-on methodologies.  MIT students would be early participants in a middle school apprenticeship model, which would bring in volunteer teachers to expand the offerings into their own areas of expertise. Each semester, volunteer apprentice teachers would come in for 1 hour, 4:15-5:15,  one day a week for the 8 week course cycle, to teach an interactive lesson or facilitate a series of workshops. The central goal of each apprenticeship is to orient the students to a new skill or set of skills.  For example, an MIT student majoring in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering could introduce basic programming logic to the class; or an MIT student majoring in Biology could teach a class on living things.  Each apprenticeship leader would cover a different field, discipline, or subject area, so the range of possibilities is endless and ultimately depends on the interests and skills of the volunteers and the students they'll be working with.

Time Commitment: 1-2 hours/week
Location: Less than 1 mile away from MIT campus

Timeline

The general timeline for this project is from mid-February to mid-April, the 8-weeks between Cambridge Public Schools February and April vacations. The time commitment would be Monday through Thursday, 3:15-4:15 for homework help, and once a week, Monday through Friday, 4:15-5:15 for the apprenticeship; students would also need to schedule in prep time with staff for apprenticeship planning.  Students would be welcome to participate in either the academic or enrichment program, depending on their schedules, and would not necessarily need to participate in both. The agency would welcome participation past April, through the remainder of the semester as well.  A modest budget can be provided for supplies.

Project Sustainability

The project will be sustained by additional community volunteers after the completion of the students' service. The community volunteers will continue to help the middle school students with their homework and to build new skill sets by utilizing the structures the MIT students have put into place.

Contact Information

The project would be supervised by Tim Severyn, Director of Community Programs (timothy@eastendhouse.org). 

The following program staff would be involved in implementation on a daily basis:

Anna Katia Zbikowski, Community Programs Associate, annakatia@eastendhouse.org
Norma Cumbee, Middle School Program Site Coordinator, norma@eastendhouse.org
Aaron Rosales, Middle School Program Group Leader, aaron@eastendhouse.org

All employees can be reached at East End House via phone at 617-876-4444.

Additional Information

East End House primarily serves low-income families in Cambridge and surrounding communities.  More information about East End House's YO! Youth Opportunities Middle School Program and the wide range of services the agency provides can be found at www.eastendhouse.org.