Arriving in Harlem | #1

This summer I will be interning at Dream, a Charter School founded in Harlem, NY. I’ll be a part of the Operations Team in the k-1st grade department in Upper East Harlem school location. Dream aims to combat the low test scores, low graduation rates, and low literacy within marginalized areas of NYC by providing opportunities for children to play, learn and grow. Dream’s community engagement keeps children out of trouble and helps facilitate their academic engagement. Growing up in the Metro-Detroit area, I know that not all kids grow up with equal access to resources for success. I believe that providing opportunities for all children is very important – Dream’s involvement within their communities attracted me to their summer program and I’m excited to be a part of their mission!

From what I’ve learned in school, I know that immersing yourself into your social and physical environments can tell you a lot about the people within that setting. Here in Harlem, I see people in pain and poverty, yet they are content and free. I found it interesting how marginalized NYC is as you travel north of Manhattan into the more urban areas where African and Latinx Americans mainly reside. Harlem is similar to home in many ways. Like Detroit, Harlem is positively progressing away from its damaged past, but it still needs extensive improvements. Although I am over 400 miles away from home, strangely, I do not feel out of place here.

During my internship, I will pay close attention to how Dream interacts with its community. I hope to learn new ways that I can become better at understanding and empathizing with people from different backgrounds. I hope that I can help make an impact within this community by providing support for students and staff. I hope that I can help improve the program by sharing my ideas and insights. And lastly, I hope that I can bring what I’ve learned with me back to Michigan so that perhaps one day I can make a difference in the Detroit area by implementing a similar program…

Amir

LSA: Biopsychology, Cognition, & Neuroscience Class of 2019

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