REACH stands for Raising Education Attainment Challenge. The REACH Program at the Cornell Public Service Center is a student initiative consisting of Team Leaders, America Reads/Counts Challenge tutors (ARCC), and volunteer tutors committed to supporting community organizations and schools serving children’s academic and social needs.

The purpose of the program is to recruit and mobilize a diverse, talented group of tutors so that they may have the necessary resources, peer support, and leadership to assist in the enhancement of academic achievement of children and youth in grades pre-K-12th.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What is REACH? Nate Houghton, REACH Board

I find that, in general, we never have enough time to properly describe the things we do, especially those that mean a lot to us. Usually, we’re constrained by some sort of deadline and even though we could monopolize someone’s time and listening power for hours on end, have to settle for some sort of short, crisp, clean description of multi- dimensional and meaningful topics.

For REACH, I usually just call it “a tutoring program” or if I have a few extra seconds, “a tutoring and mentorship program through the Public Service Center.” At Cornell, we are invariably rushed as it is, so the second option typically takes up more time than people have to listen about REACH (and I don’t blame them, because it’s more time than I have to explain REACH to them).

The purpose of this initial blog entry, in light of the state of affairs described above, is to give a better description of what REACH really is.

1) REACH is a tutoring and mentorship program. I’ve already mentioned this, but it’s not so self- explanatory. Tutoring is one of the most significant challenges to take on when you’re a college student. Our job, after all, is to learn. To turn that around requires us, by definition, to think backwards. Mentorship is even harder, because it requires teaching through action – which we are even less accustomed to. So in this sense, REACH is a way to truly get the most out of your college experience in an academic sense.

2) REACH is a service program. This is key because a second aspect of college is the self- focused tenor of what we do. We are told that we need to take responsibility for ourselves and “live like adults” (whatever that means). This usually leaves little time for others beyond (perhaps) some close friends, let alone people we don’t even know. REACH, like all programs through the Public Service Center, provides a chance to give back (and to stop thinking about our GPAs for a few hours).

3) REACH is a social program. This, I believe, is a lesser-known aspect of REACH and is also extremely important. There are plenty of ways to meet people at Cornell because there are plenty of people at Cornell, but with no exceptions, the people I have met through REACH are interesting, insightful, and genuine (as well as pretty funny). REACH is staffed by quality Cornellians doing things that make Cornell the great institution that it is. I can’t think of anything I would rather be doing with my afternoons and I doubt you could find a REACHie who would disagree.

More to come…

- Nate

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