Methma is a Volunteer Representative for Swearer Tutoring and Enrichment in Math and Sciences (STEMS). As a VR, Methma helps plan weekly meetings for the tutors, which are intended to provide Brown tutors with tools to work more effectively, through tutoring skills, knowledge of current education policy, discussions on the role of a tutor in a classroom, or information about the Providence Public School system. She is currently tutoring in a physics class.
Max Kaplan ’15 is in his third year as a volunteer and first year as a coordinator for Brown Elementary After-school Mentoring (BEAM), a program that runs after-school clubs four days a week at William D’Abate Elementary School in Providence.
The first time I volunteered with elementary school students was a nerve-wracking experience. How was I, a freshman in high school, going to control five third graders for a whole hour? Somehow I managed it, and even grew to like it: over the course of the next four years I worked with third graders once a week, helping them with math homework and pushing them to think creatively.
When I came to Brown I knew I wanted to continue volunteering with students, and I soon found myself involved with Brown Elementary After-school Mentoring (BEAM). As the name suggests, BEAM is a program through which Brown student volunteers run after-school clubs four days a week at William D’Abate Elementary School in Providence’s Olneyville neighborhood. BEAM aims to provide an enriching experience for both our Brown volunteers and our Olneyville students, as well as to foster an environment of collaboration and mutual learning.
Additionally, BEAM aims to strengthen the connection between the Brown community and the Olneyville community as a whole. Working closely with students is the core of the program, and seeing each student grow and mature over the course of the year is inspiring. In my time with BEAM I’ve seen a shy fifth grader pluck up the courage to tell a story in front of her peers; I’ve seen a first grader comfort his friend who was crying; and I’ve seen a second grader try to coax his friend into doing an activity when his friend was having a bad day. Of course, there are more lighthearted moments too: I see kids chasing each other at recess and laughing together every day, and a kite making science activity this past week resulted in some creative designs!
The learning from BEAM is a two-way street, and it is just as thrilling to see volunteers transform into more effective and more confident teachers over the course of the year. Each week Brown volunteers meet to make lesson plans, aiming to engage students in learning through creative activities outside of their normal classroom experience. Personal interactions are another way volunteers get to practice their skills. Two weeks ago I witnessed a moment in which a Brown volunteer spoke privately with a disruptive student and explained to him why it is important to listen to and be respectful towards his peers. The difference I saw in the student after that conversation is one of the main reasons I love volunteering: volunteers have such a huge impact on such young students, and the students in turn have much to teach the Brown volunteers.
I am constantly inspired by the creativity and skill that our students exhibit, and I am especially motivated by interactions like this that take place between Brown volunteers and Olneyville students. So many strong connections have been forged, and I am confident that the experiences that our volunteers and students have with BEAM will impact them for the rest of their lives.
June 20, 2016
June 13, 2016"I think about opening my mouth to call out goodbye, or to salute her in a traditional sign language farewell. Instead, I stand silently and smile."
Sally Hosokawa is a Community Fellow for Writers’ Group, a Swearer Center Community Program that facilitates creative writing workshops for adults with developmental disabilities. She studies literary translation in the Comparative Literature Department.
May 14, 2016“Club teachers understand us,” she says. “Even though they’re older, they’re not that much older, and so they’re like us and we can identify with them and talk to them about our problems.”
Addy is a volunteer with the Brown Elementary Afterschool Mentoring Program (BEAM), a Swearer Center community partnership that facilitates after-school programing activities and mentorship between Brown volunteers and students at William D’Abate Elementary School in the Olneyville neighborhood.
February 22, 2016
Pia is a junior double-concentrating in Education Studies and Comparative Literature. This is her third year with Writers' Group, a Swearer Center Community Program that offers creative writing workshops for adults with developmental disabilities, and her first year as a Swearer Center Community Fellow.
February 19, 2016I was intrigued by the program, but very intimidated by some of the topics. I’ve never been in the position to talk about gender or sexuality or rape culture.
Tiara came into Brown dead set on studying Neuroscience. After a summer or working with the local Planned Parenthood branch and taking health based classes she realized public health was her real calling. She has been volunteering for the SHAPE (Sexual Health Advocacy through Peer Education) program since sophomore year.
February 16, 2016