Yessenia Moreno ’16 is a Penn Program for Public Service Intern from the University of Pennsylvania, a new exchange opportunity in which 1-2 students from Brown University and UPenn spend their summers in West Philadelphia or Providence, working as an intern and conducting research on a local social issue. These are a series of three reflections written throughout her summer experience at D’Abate Elementary School in Olneyville.
June 28, 2013
Location means everything. When I came to Providence, I did not expect to see striking similarities between the capital city and Philadelphia.
Olneyville is a neighborhood of Providence with a strong Hispanic community. The streets are filled with markets, restaurants, and especially bakeries of North and South American influences from countries such as El Salvador and Mexico. The neighborhood also has a strong African American community. Many families live Olneyville live in poverty; some barely get by, while others are homeless. Yet regardless of socioeconomic status, Olneyville has a strong community that is immersed in their schools.
Melitzi Torres ’15 is a Penn Program for Public Service Intern, a new exchange opportunity in which 1-2 students from Brown University and the University of Pennsylvania spend their summers in West Philadelphia or Providence, working as an intern and conducting research on a local social issue. Reflections from the U Penn intern, Yessenia Moreno, will be posted later this week.
If I told you that my placement in West Philadelphia was easy, I would be lying. Taking up the role as an instructor in the heart of West Philly was one of the most challenging experiences I have ever had.
I was an instructor to ten rising college freshmen, all of whom had a “too cool for school” outlook. Engaging them was only part of the battle; they lacked the reading and writing skills required to conduct their group research project, and my supervisors constantly distracted my students.
I began working as assistant teacher in a class of 25 students; in that classroom were 22 rising high school seniors, 3 rising college freshmen, and a lead teacher. My lead teacher and I quickly noted that the work we wanted to cover with the majority (high school seniors) was not applicable to the 3 rising freshmen. After the first week I came up with a proposal: let’s pull the rising college freshmen out of their “mixed” classrooms, into their own classroom and cover material to best prepare them for college. By the second week I was teaching a class of 10 students by myself.
What happens when over 700 student leaders, volunteers, activists, and entrepreneurs leave campus for the summer?
Welcome to the Swearer Center blog. Over the next several months, we’ll be following the stories of students working across issues, in communities around the world, on projects connected to social impact and innovation. For some, this summer represents the continuation of many years of study and service; for others, it’s the start of a new journey into unknown territory.
Learn how to navigate this site!