2018-19 | East Harlem, NY

Yale Community Connect has been working hard to form partnerships with Harlem Children’s Zone and Mosaic Preparatory Academy to provide ongoing opportunities for volunteers to tutor and mentor local students.


Yale alumnus and volunteer Darian Marcel Parker (PhD ’13) offers his reflections on his YC Connect experiences since November 2018:


I served primarily as an aide to fellow Yalie, Nina Jaroslaw, who created and implemented a curriculum that combines a visual arts practicum and art criticism to encourage critical self-reflection. The curriculum, entitled Who Am I? Exploring Identity and Personal History Through Portraiture, has accomplished exactly what Nina envisioned. Students who previously had difficulty identifying what made them special, by the end of the process, were able to articulate what they valued in themselves. And, what was even more compelling, they were able to communicate this sense of value in the form of self-portraits.

Harlem Children’s Zone

For the past two months, I have been meeting with students individually to help them prepare for their admissions interviews and revise their admissions essays. These students are true visionaries. One young lady wants to open medical clinics in Senegal and repair health inequities in developing regions around the world. Another student is a budding historian who aspires to overhaul history and social studies curricula in public schools throughout the country. In meeting with them from week-to-week, I feel that I have benefited just as much as I’ve contributed. For, in my helping them articulate their visions for their lives, they have helped me to boldly reclaim my own.

Stay tuned for more volunteer opportunities with Harlem Children’s Zone!

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