P&S Journal: Winter 1995, Vol.15, No.1
Columbia-Presbyterian and Its Community: A Changing Relationship
Pre-school and School-based Programs
Many of the projects under way at the Medical Center involve direct efforts to reach people in the community, including its youngest members. The Medical Center Nursery, located in the Bard-Haven Towers, provides half-day and full-day educational and recreational activities for 80 children between ages 3 and 6. A Head Start program for local pre-school children, started in 1993 through collaboration among New York City, Presbyterian Hospital, and the Columbia University School of Public Health, is based in Babies and Children's Hospital.
Diverse programs are offered through the public schools, among them health clinics staffed by Presbyterian personnel and social workers; the Minority High School Student Research Apprentice Program, sponsored by the Office of Minority Affairs; and the Science and Technology Entry Program offered by the School of Dental and Oral Surgery.
Another school-based program is the Summer Youth Employment Program, funded by the city to provide teen-agers with experience in workplaces throughout the Medical Center. Since its inception, the program has grown from about 35 to 100 student participants. Beginning next year, this program will be coordinated by the office of public affairs, where Ms. Fairchild hopes to motivate students to return to the Medical Center in successive years to discover the vast range of jobs available within it. She also hopes to begin a follow-up program to teach job-search skills.
Ms. Fairchild has started a mentor program in which local school children will be paired with medical and dental students for tutoring sessions in academic subjects. She also leads a lively year-round program, called Women in Neighborhood Sports, for 300 participants between the ages of 6 and 21. The group held its second Olympics-style competition in basketball, volleyball, softball, and track events in October. Volunteers, including medical and dental students, serve as coaches and scorekeepers. Although sports are the focus, the program also provides monthly workshops to help young women deal with aspects of their daily lives, such as peer pressure and personal health.