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.
Lost and Found
When I first got to Brown, I really had no idea what to do with myself. I was one of the elite group of arbitrarily selected first years who had been awarded a single dorm, and when I shared that fact with my classmates, I was the object of considerable jealousy, which I would encourage by hinting at all kinds of potential intrigue made possible by the absence of a roommate. I’d always end up returning to an empty room. Some nights, just to escape, I’d trek down College Hill and wander through downtown Providence in the darkness. Sometimes I’d pass people getting ready to spend the night on the street, but I felt too sorry for myself to feel sorry for them.
I’d heard whispers of a glorious fountain of information, a gold mine of purposeful leads for the aimless known as Morning Mail. I began to read it. What most caught my eye was a walking tour of Providence sponsored by the Swearer Center. I didn’t know what the Swearer Center was, but I figured a solid geographic orientation might reduce the risk of my midnight strolls ending me up in Boston (or, God forbid, somewhere worse).
I hadn’t gotten the memo, but it turned out the walking tour had a theme: homelessness. It was led by two formerly homeless people who now work as advocates for the Rhode Island’s homeless. They showed us the site of the tent city where they used to live until it was dismantled by order of the city, and various locations where homeless people have tended to congregate since then. To be honest, I don’t remember very well the specifics of the tour. I just remember thinking how much deeper my depression would be if I didn’t have a room, however lonely, to come home to at night, or family to call when I was feeling scared, or a practically unlimited food supply at my fingertips any time I felt the slightest hunger.
I started volunteering with HOPE right away as an outreach worker, surveying Providence at night to ensure the safety of the homeless population. At the end of my first night out, as I was getting ready to hike back up the hill, my team leader declared, “Remember, the work you do matters.” I’ve never been comfortable with self-congratulation, and I nodded awkwardly as I walked off.
I soon discovered that my team leader would close every outing with those words, and eventually they began to sink in. They became something of mantra for me, a thought to cling to when I felt like I had no reason to be here. For a while, it was my biggest motivation to stay at Brown, and now my friends and I are very glad that I did. These days as a leader of HOPE, I sometimes remind my volunteers that community service is not about you-- but it is far from self-sacrificing.
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 10, 2016