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.
To BRYTE kids, everything is theirs.
“Kunama is my language,” they say. “Ethiopia, my country.”
“This from my culture.”
“She my sister.”
“He my brother.”
To BRYTE kids, nothing is theirs.
“For you,” says Natalina, removing a tiny rainbow heart bracelet from her wrist and sliding it on mine.
“For you,” says Dahaba, opening her Tupperwared Eritrean salad and spooning wet arugula into the palm of my hand.
“For you,” says Kalpana, offering her bag of Extra Extra Extra Flaming Hot Cheetos.
My language, my culture, my country. For you, for you, for you.
Working as a counselor at BRYTE Summer Camp—a six-week day camp serving fifty-five refugee youth in South Providence—has taught me about sharing—about giving and receiving. Every day this summer I gave campers phonics lessons, math worksheets, hand-games, and repeat-after-me songs. I gave camp my commitment, creativity, and enthusiasm. Some days I gave camp my voice. Some days it took my tears. At camp I was part teacher, part tutor, part cheerleader, and part entertainer. After camp I was always exhausted.
I’d like to think that I gave camp my all. However, I have no doubt that I received more than I gave. I received hugs, smiles, and high fives. My campers gave me drawings and bracelets. Naw, a seven year old with missing teeth, taught me how to count to ten in her native language. Pranita, Sabina, and Bwahana, three teenaged Nepali girls, gave me weekly Asian cooking lessons. Tekle made me smile; Abache showed me dance moves. These are some tangible things I received. More difficult to quantify are the intangible lessons I learned this summer. Lessons about teaching, about leading, about running a camp while being a student. Lessons about communication and difference, about expectations and success. Lessons learned from campers, co-counselors and directors.
The importance of the BRYTE Organization’s core value of reciprocity became clear to me this summer. Every day I found myself in a room of around seventy people from over a dozen different countries. I was one of five with white skin and one of one who spoke only English fluently. (Sometime during the third week of camp, nine-year-old Natalina looked at me and asked, “What you mean you just talk English? You don’t got a language?”) My campers know how to count and cook and share and tell jokes, and they know how to do it in their languages and in mine. Because of the ways the world works, I got to be called “teacher” and they were my “students.” Some may look at the work I did this summer and call it giving. I think a much better word for it is sharing.
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