Lesley Desriviere, Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Master’s Student, Creates Scholarship and Mentorship Program
March 15, 2019
Lesley Desriviere always knew he wanted to become a doctor, but he didn’t know any African American doctors when he was growing up. It wasn’t clear to him how to get from point A to point B. That is until his junior year at Boston University, when he met a mentor who helped get him on track.
Upon graduation, Desriviere knew he wanted to give back, so he began the organization Together We’re Giants. He connected with his high school in Malden, Massachusetts, and raised money for a scholarship for an African American high school student who was interested in pursuing a STEM degree in college.
“I wanted to lend a hand back to bring someone else forward,” he explains. “I started a GoFundMe to raise money for a scholarship, and I also wanted to attach a mentorship program.”
At first, Desriviere thought the scholarship would be a one-time thing and something he could return to later in life. He had been accepted to Drexel University College of Medicine’s Interdisciplinary Health Sciences (IHS) master’s program and would be moving to Philadelphia. He thought he would be too busy with school to keep the scholarship going.
However, while volunteering through IHS’s Promoting Achievement and Learning Through Science (PALS) program, he saw how great the need for mentorship was for kids.
“I realized mentorship is not just needed at the high school and college level. It’s needed way earlier than that. These kids want to become these great things, but no one is showing them the ropes of how to do it,” he says. “Teachers are doing the best they can, but they sometimes get bogged down and are not always able to give much individual attention to each student.”
Desriviere decided to revive Together We’re Giants, but now the mission is expanded. In addition to offering a scholarship and mentorship program to a single student in Philadelphia this year, the organization will also work to empower and inspire African Americans in the community. To do this, Desriviere is using his photography skills to highlight the aspirations of individuals as well as the obstacles they face in achieving their dreams.
Through a social media campaign, Desriviere is asking African Americans of various ages to complete the phrase “I can and I will…” He began with the students he was working with at Spring Garden School, a public K-8 school in Philadelphia.
Desriviere credits his own mentor, Rody Alexis, with getting him to where he is today and continues to turn to him for guidance. When they met in college, Desriviere was having some issues with grades, and Alexis helped him change his study habits. Alexis came to Drexel’s IHS program, and Desriviere later followed in his footsteps. Alexis has now been accepted to medical school, another achievement Desriviere hopes to follow.
The scholarship application is now open. Learn more at lesleysees.com.
Lesley Desriviere (holding sign) with students Eric, Siani, Damaj, Aniyah and Diamond from the Together We're Giants program.