The Outdoor Leadership Environmental Education Program (OLEEP) is a partnership between Brown University and the MET High School that started in 1997. Through small group mentoring, weekly environmental science workshops in the school and community, and camping and backpacking trips, the program works to develop leadership skills and a community in which Brown and MET students can learn from each other.
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.
April 26, 2015
April 15, 2015
Adam and Becca are co-community fellows for Olneyville ESOL, an English-language program at William D’Abate Elementary School in Olneyville. The program offers English language and literacy classes to (mostly Latino) immigrant adults living in the school’s surrounding neighborhoods. Both of us have worked in ESOL for multiple years, as teaching assistants, lead teachers, and now in multiple roles in support of the program’s volunteers and learners. We teach with flexible syllabi in order to tailor the classes to our learner’s specific needs and strengths.
April 3, 2015
Nick Gomez-Hall is the new Site Coordinator for the Swearer Center’s “Brown Elementary After-School Mentoring” (BEAM) program at William D’Abate Elementary School in Olneyville, which offers academic enrichment for elementary school students while simultaneously providing Brown students the opportunity to serve their community by designing and implementing curricula in local classrooms. Nick graduated from Brown, Class of 2013, and concentrated in American Studies with a focus on Cultural Exchange and Expression between the U.S. and Latin America.
April 1, 2015
March 30, 2015
March 18, 2015