With 400 plus student groups and tons of events daily, how does a Brown student navigate life outside of the lecture hall? I’m Lily Hartmann, and I am the freshmen behind “The Extras”; the blog that aims to give you a glimpse into the most exciting and noteworthy activities on campus. Throughout the year this blog will give you snapshots of what Brunonians do when they aren’t hitting the books on College Hill!
With Thanksgiving in just a couple of days, I thought it would appropriate to talk about The Extra that I am thankful to be a part of. Earlier in the fall, I joined the BRYTE youth tutoring program through the Swearer Center. It was a way for me “to get off the hill”, but the program means a lot more than that.
Brown Refugee Youth Tutoring and Enrichment (BRYTE) is a student led organization that pairs Brown undergrads with students in refugee families that have recently relocated to Providence from Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. We help them acquire language skills in order to become more fluent in English, but also help them to adapt culturally to living in a new place. Each tutor makes at least a one-year commitment to the program, but many tutor for much longer than this. On a week-by-week basis, we are required to tutor for at least 3 hours a week, but how you get those 3 hours in is totally up to you. The goal of BRYTE is to build strong relationships and support refugee youth in gaining the independence to excel in school and being active participants in their new community. We also do enrichment activities like bringing our tutees to Brown sports games or the RISD museum in order to further build a relationship. There are currently about 130 tutors in the program but each tutor has unique experiences through BRYTE. This past weekend we had BRYTE Thanksgiving where a bunch of the tutors and their students came together to have a good conversation, play games and have good food. It was amazing to see the students playing soccer together, running around with friends from BRYTE summer camp, and trying dishes that reflect the diversity of the program. Through the laughter and energy at the event, you could tell BRYTE is making an impact in the Providence community.
This semester I began tutoring Natu, a sixth grade boy from Eritrea, Africa. He is one of four kids, and his family has been in the United States for about a year. While the beginning of this program has been a bit challenging, every session is better and better as we both become more comfortable around each other. Sometimes during our tutoring sessions, we play games like UNO or Bannagrams, and his sisters will play too. I am on of four tutors in his family, and it is great to have a dynamic where we can all work together to help teach them language skills. BRYTE has definitely become a great way for me to escape from the bubble that Brown can be, ands it is nice to be in someone else’s home for a bit each week. I do not feel like I’m committed to three hours a week or a program, but rather a person and a relationship. BRYTE has made me more aware of world outside of Brown, and the Providence community. From experiences so far and what I have heard from other tutors, BRYTE is a program that keeps getting better and better with time. The relationships tutors form with their students are irreplaceable.
Have questions about a specific student group or event on campus? Want me to cover a specific topic in my next post? Feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with any of your questions and comments