Changes to HM246

Vivien Sweet, Staff Writer

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HM246, one of the Center for Community Values and Action’s service learning projects, offers numerous of exciting new programs to students from local public schools who participate every Wednesday.

“It’s called HM246 because we’re on 246th street in the Bronx and we want to make it clear that we’re opening up our doors to the community,” Head Coordinator of HM246 Dr. Jeremy Leeds said.

According Leeds, the majority of these new programs were established by high school students at the beginning of the school year, such as the HM246 Times, a newspaper run by Megha Nelgivi (12) and Sadie Schwartz (12), a food review workshop run by Andie Goldmacher (10), a psychology program run by Natalie Baer (11) and Emily Marks (10), and the Math Magicians, which is a workshop on cool math tricks and interesting problems run by Dora Woodruff (11).

Additionally, there are new art programs focused on producing and learning about art and a new health program called Live Healthy and Learn How, Leeds said. Many programs from previous years have grown and are being improved, he said.

Baer started the psychology workshop with Marks because they do not think classes on the subject are available to most middle school students, she said. They plan on starting their program with a bit of history on psychology and why wellness is important, but also including “different experiments and fun things that they can take with them, such as stress balls,” Baer said.

“HM246 seemed like a really good place to start the program since we’re equipped with so many resources and there’s a lot of flexibility to make your own plans regarding the program,” she said.

However, not only are new programs being implemented, but past programs are being improved. For example, William Golub (12), a leader of HM246’s two robotics programs, plans on building the curriculum for his programs, he said.

Each of the robotics programs, directed towards fourth to seventh graders, run for half a year, he said. “The first workshop is on programming, and the second is on robotics,” he said.

The participants in the programs are exposed to “a couple different programming tools that help them build projects on their own as an introduction to the arduino system, which helps them get an understanding of what engineering is like,” he said.

This year, Golub wants to focus more on making sure that the program builds on previous lessons, which will help the students get a sense of how everything fits together, he said.

“Having [the students] build on previous lessons will give them a chance to make cooler and more advanced projects that they’ll be proud of, so I’m looking forward to seeing the projects that they come up with this year,” he said.

Natalie Sanchez, the new CCVA program associate, is very excited about helping out with program, she said.

“I was fortunate to visit HM246 last year and I was really impressed, so I can’t wait to work with this group and to see more of the classes in action, especially the newer ones,” Sanchez said.

Another addition to the program is a partnership with the Mosholu Montefiore Community Center, an agency that will send participants from PS95 up to the school every Wednesday, Leeds said.

Leeds thinks that more high school students are realizing that HM246 is here every Wednesday with a variety of resources, which is why “each year HM246 has grown, both in terms of the projects that HM students offer and the number of participants that come,” he said.