Bryn Mawr Big Sisters is a volunteer program created and supervised by Inés Arribas and Julien Suaudeau, in partnership with Willard Elementary School, in the Kensington neighbourhood of Philadelphia. The program is made possible by the generous
commitment of Teresa Bronte, counsellor at Willard Elementary, the generous support of Global Bryn Mawr and the help of Civic Engagement.
Willard Elementary serves children of different ethnicities—mainly Latinos— and of underprivileged socio-economic backgrounds. The Bryn Mawr Big Sisters work one-on-two with 3rd- or 4th- grade students, helping with their reading and writing skills; they pass on extracurricular knowledge and skills they have in subjects relevant to them; they engage in a meaningful dialogue and provide guidance and emotional support through example.
Every Friday, we travel with the six volunteers to Willard school in a BMC van. We leave the campus at 1:30 and return around 4:30. Bryn Mawr participants feel empowered and gratified to serve as role models, while Willard students develop a college-going culture that will hopefully help them in their academic carrier.
We are proud that the program is growing and changing outcomes in the lives of an increasing number of Philadelphia children. This blog is meant as an opportunity for our volunteers to reflect on their experience and share it with community members.
Inés Arribas and Julien Suaudeau