• Social Innovation Fellowship

Award Year 

Brown Refugee Youth Tutoring and Enrichment (BRYTE)

Brown Refugee Youth Tutoring and Enrichment (BRYTE) is a student-run organization that facilitates one-on-one tutoring and mentoring between Brown students and recently resettled refugees in the Providence area. The program helps the underserved refugee population acquire crucial language skills as well as cultural fluency in a time of difficult transition. It also fosters meaningful relationships and promotes cross-cultural understanding. BRYTE works in collaboration with the International Institute of Rhode Island and the Swearer Center for Public Service. Since its inception in 2006, the program has grown exponentially. Rapid expansion has meant that BRYTE’s leadership has been fully engaged in keeping the program running from day-to-day, and so unable to address long-term goals and opportunities.The program has reached a point where administrative and strategic methods need improvement. Effective protocols need to be institutionalized while non-effective methods of operation need to be re-designed in order to fulfill potential for social impact. This summer, I will focus on: building organizational capacity and definition, research and write a report on the national system of refugee resettlement, facilitate networking with people involved with refugee resettlement nationally, and develop BRYTE’s relationship with local organizations and resources to further support tutees.

Personal Statement

In becoming a BRYTE volunteer in the fall of my freshman year I was paired with an eight-year old girl from Burundi who had arrived in Providence the week before I began working with her. When I met them, Alice and her family spoke not a word of English and were illiterate in their native language of Kirundi. Communicating through mimes and visuals, we worked on learning the alphabet and very slowly started being able to tie words together. A year and a half later, Alice and I have extended conversations about her day at school, her family, and sometimes even her life before Providence where she lived in a refugee camp in Tanzania. Alice is absolutely brilliant – the most advanced English speaker in her family – and picks up concepts with incredible agility. Wise beyond her years, she is also one of the most amazing and gentle little people I have ever met. Working with Alice and her family is one of the best parts of my life at Brown. It has been challenging, rewarding, and completely transformative.

For most of my life I have felt like I was passionate about everything and therefore nothing. Over the last two years  BRYTE has increasingly enriched my life. It is what I fall asleep thinking about, what makes my eyes light up and words come a millions miles a minute. I think change is most sustainably and effectively achieved when we “think globally, act locally.” BRYTE embodies this motto and I believe in it with every fiber of my being.