In the Volunteer Spotlight we aim to recognize a Youth Service, Inc. volunteer making an impact in the communities we serve. Maria Priyma volunteers at Baring House Crisis Nursery.

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.

Maria:I was born in Queens, NY and moved to Philadelphia in the Summer of 2018 to begin Graduate School at Drexel University, where I study Biomedicine. Prior to the beginning of my academic year at Drexel, I was a Biotechnology and Anatomy/Physiology Youth Instructor in East Harlem. In the near future I aspire to become a pediatric neurologist, where I intend to commence supporting the lives of the youth.

Q: How long have you been volunteering at YSI?

Maria: I have been volunteering at YSI for one month now and have enjoyed every moment of the experience thus far.

Q: Why did you choose YSI when you were looking for a place to volunteer?

Maria: My experiences in academia, both as a student and educator, have substantially expanded my enthusiasm and commitment to the young members of the community. My work mitigating the issues of STEM representation and academic achievement with the youth of East Harlem inspired me to delve deeper into working with disenfranchised youth in Philadelphia. After speaking with Marketing Manager, Dan Brightcliffe, during a volunteer fair, I became determined to continue to work with the adolescent population at an organization that encourages and promotes wellness, safety, and academic engagement.

Q: Why do you think it is important to volunteer?

Maria:I believe that it is important to volunteer because through volunteering we are able to make small strides in providing support to the lives of individuals. Regardless of whether it is a visible or silent impact, the smile or warm gesture we provide may be trickled down to an alternative setting some day down the line. Through volunteering we are able to build connections and give back to the communities that we live in, given the privileged positions that we often hold as volunteers. At YSI specifically, volunteering provides me with the tangible opportunity to witness the beautiful, transformative journey that youth take when provided with the opportunity and resources to flourish and grow.

To nominate a volunteer for our Volunteer Spotlight or if you are interested in becoming a volunteer, please contact us at