As part of GPI’s New York Cares Volunteer Program, we had an opportunity to work with children, ages 6-12 years old, to introduce them to the world of engineering. This opportunity took place at the Salvation Army – Harlem Temple Corps Community Center, under the GAINS program, an after school program to help disadvantaged children excel in all aspects of their lives.
The project involved constructing model bridges out of various materials such as wooden sticks, cardboard, masking tape, string, and marshmallows. GPI volunteers explained the basics of structural design and the children were challenged to build stronger structures by applying basic physics concepts. GPI’s Charles Longsworth and Diane Xiao led the team of approximately 10 volunteers, some of whom share their experience below.
It was a good learning experience to work with kids on topics that relate to engineering and very great idea to include the bridge building activity since it seemed to engage the kids more into the topic. I thought the location was good and just wish we had more time to work on the bridges. ~Argenis Villanueva
I had a lot of fun sharing the joy of engineering with eager children. They taught me how to approach a complex problem from a simpler and more creative angle. I was especially happy to see a number of them wanting to become engineers at the end of the event. ~Tra Vu
Building Bridges with the Salvation Army was such a rewarding experience. At first I didn’t know what to expect from the kids, but that quickly changed. They were awesome! They were very outgoing and just as excited to build the bridge as I was…if not more! ~John Fang
Never underestimate a young mind! The children brought great ideas, what they’ve learned in the classrooms as well as their wonderful energy to the table! It’s wonderful to see them excited about building a bridge and thinking about how bridges are built! ~Flor Escobar
I had a great time volunteering with GPI at the Salvation Army. I felt like we made an impact working with the elementary school students. For a lot of the students, it was their first exposure to engineering. We definitely taught them something new while having fun! ~Diane Xiao
I had a great experience interacting with the future of our workforce. They amazed me at how they just come up with solutions effortlessly to achieve their goals utilizing only their imagination. ~Charles Longsworth II