When I last wrote on my grant, I was frustrated by setback after setback in the formation of my project. The end of July marked another five steps backward from the one step forward I had made in conversing with Project Bread. After two weeks of enthusiastic and rapid responses, I was referred to radio silence. I then sent email after email, desperately trying to reassemble the connections I had made before cutting my losses and moving on. The next week, I was given an opportunity on a silver platter.
Beginning at the start of August and lasting until the 26th, I worked with a small and consistent group of newly arrived Brazilians between the ages of 10 and 16. Over the course of the month we spent 25 hours together. They went from not speaking a word of English to: being able to hold basic conversation, writing sufficiently with a plethora of vocabulary words, reading with basic comprehension, and feeling confident in their ability to continue learning in a brand new environment.
Due to the size of my ESL group, I had cash to spare, so, to not let it rest any longer, we reached out to contacts made in the Brockton Public library and set up a meeting with their director of English Second Language, a person I wish we had been introduced to earlier. To serve the breadth of the immigrant youth community in Brockton, we prepared 96 backpacks with school supplies to be handed out at a Library immigration event at which they offer free counseling, legal aid, and much more. I was not able to attend this event due to a conflict with the August SAT, but I am so thankful for the distribution help such a vital pillar of the community was able to provide.
Working on this grant I learned to go with the flow and gathered much helpful information on the world of education and non-profits. Despite initial hindrances, I was able to truly achieve my goal of providing sustainable ESL tutoring in a more in-depth manner than I would have been able to with my initial setup. I was also able to reach out and provide much needed supplies to a community somewhat forgotten.
My final thought on what I have accomplished is that there is no feeling as brilliant or genuine as when you see someone’s eyes light up as they figure something out that they had been struggling with before. My suggestion to those reading this is to look for moments of realization and joy in others and attempt to provide them more often because, trust me, you will be even more fulfilled.
– Gabe Swisher-Rosa ’23