Archive for the category “Community Partner”

CP Reflection

It’s crazy to think that our time with our CP is over. IT seems like just yesterday we were “bouncin'” from EFA at the Annex. God that was terrible. I wouldn’t of had it any other way with our CP’s Lily and Sonia. Their effervescent had me always excited to go and hear their stories. The project, with them, was a learning experience for us as EduChicas. We went in with not only an idea of what it was going to be like but also an idea of what we wanted out of it. Both of those things have been completely altered as I sit down and write this blog post today. Our biggest barrier yet learning experience was us becoming flexible with what we would do when things didn’t go according to plan with our CP. Lily and Sonia shared stories with us that allowed us to broaden what it meant to be global learners. Although we are not only GST majors but have all studied abroad in different countries we still learn something new by talking to other citizen who are not originally from here. While Sonia and Lily didn’t give us our photos that we were hoping they put us in a situation to become creative and think of different way to use photo voice according to our project. Once we hit the ground running with our posters around school even our CP was able to participate in them as well. As a thesis group we challenged so many different definitions this semester including some that we thought we had defined on our own.


CP Reflection by the gringa

As Taylor and Lynnzie both have posted, our last session with Sonia and Lily was filled with laughter like usual.  Sonia teased Grace about her cerveza, Taylor about her prince, and looked me in the eye and said, almost shocked, “Tú eres gringa” (you’re a gringa).  We almost died, given that we’re all gringas, but she went on to say that I am gringa gringa for my blue eyes, light hair, and profile.  If nothing else, I am successful in looking like the exported image of an American woman!  It was such a riot and led to a discussion of why some people don’t like being called gringo.  It was yet another sign of how close we’ve grown this semester that Sonia felt comfortable telling me like it is.  Lynnzie and I need to find a way to sneak into Ray to say our official goodbyes.

I printed off all the pictures I could find that we had taken, and as they went through them, they remembered almost exactly what we had been talking about that day.  For all of us, our weekly meetings were memorable.  We gave them invitations to our final event, though given the time they said they probably couldn’t make it.  We had wanted to use our time on Friday to let them pick which photos to show at the event, but they were so excited looking through them that we didn’t get that far.  Our time was also a little short because they had to end their break on time to go prepare turkey burgers.

The educhicas are now in a flurry of work preparing for our event on Wednesday.  We’re trying to put together a powerpoint that highlights important responses, we’ll have the posters set up, the pictures from Sonia and Lily, and the pictures from our facebook page (most likely).  We’re also trying to figure out how the flow of the event is going to go, in terms of balancing the stories of our storytellers with encouraging our social change (I’ll post more on that soon, don’t worry).

CP reflection

I just want to say how glad I am that we spent our Friday afternoons with Sonia and Lily this semester. Even though the photo voice component of the project, in terms of them taking pictures to tell their stories, didn’t go exactly according to plan, I think that, in terms of relationship building, we nailed it. As global studies majors, I think we’re well aware that everyone has a story and that anyone, regardless of her background, can teach us something. Even though this was not a new idea at the start of the semester, it is always amazing to experience it again and again.

Working with Sonia and Lily has reaffirmed a lesson that I learned abroad and what I consider to be the most important thing I have ever learned- the fact that laughter, love, and friendship are not limited by culture or language. Sonia and Lily always thank us at the end of our time together, but I think that we really should be the ones thanking them. They asked us very sincerely to please stop by to say goodbye before we leave, which I think shows that the five of us are not the only ones who have valued our time together this semester. I can only hope that in the future there are other PC students who realize who incredible Sonia and Lily are and take the time to get to know them and share stories. They truly do have so much to offer.

“I HAVE to go”


The title of my post refers to a phrase that Sonia likes to repeat often at our sessions. She said it to us the first time we met when we were talking about the differences in language and culture. In a very light-hearted and fun way, she described how Americans always say I have to go and she would always wave her hands up and down when she did it. It always cracked me up. She said it today too, but this time it wasn’t only her and Lily that would be leaving.

Anne printed off all the photos we had taken during our sessions with Sonia and Lily and we had them look over them. They loved it! They were cracking up over some of the photos. They even remembered what we had been talking about the day the photo was taken. It was really cute and fun to see them looking over the photos. We told them the concrete details of our event so hopefully they can come! We asked them to select which photos they would like to see included in the final event and they seemed glad that we were incorporating them.

We spent most of the time looking at the photos and rehashing the memories, but we also talked a little bit about graduation and future plans with them. We then got into a discussion about the term gringa which was quite comical.

I’ve found the CP experience to be quite rewarding. It was definitely a challenge at times trying to coordinate everything, but I would never trade those Friday afternoon sessions for anything. Sonia and Lily have really made my Capstone experience that much richer and I will forever keep them in my heart along with my EduChicas.

going over photossonia reacts to photos

R-e-f-l-e-c-t-i-o-n on our CP sesh

Our second to last session (tear, tear) with Sonia and Lily went well.  I love those women so dearly.  They came strutting in saying “hola” to us all and calling Brenna and Grace the “cerveza” girls.  Jaja.  Cracks me up.  Sonia had taken a photo of a TV show on the Spanish channel that had some sort of spelling game or competition.  We had fun spelling out different words during our session.  The differences in languages was a major part of our conversation.  We always seem to discuss that to some extent during our sessions.  In some ways, language is our common ground, especially because all of us know to varying degrees another language and have lived in another country.

We invited them to our final event though we didn’t have a date/time/location settled yet.  They told us to let them know as soon as we knew so fingers crossed that they can come!  We’d love to have them there.  I’m looking forward and at the same time dreading our final session.  I’m not ready to part ways with them! : (


Reflection CP

It’s getting to the point where I don’t look at our time with our CP as something that’s required, yet more as something I enjoy doing. Friday was another great time with our Ray ladies, and they we ventured some unknown territory as well! While once again they didn’t take an abundant number of pictures Sonia went out of her way to take a picture of something that reminded her of education. While watching TV she saw a commercial about spelling and she thought that was important in regards to education. After showing us the picture she talked to us about her issues with spelling in the English language. In most respects she was able to spell pretty well, but she had trouble spelling a lot of words that sounded different because we don’t have tildes or accents over letter in the English language. We were able to practice some words with her and at this point I felt like the teacher and her the learner/student. It’s great to be a in a situation where these roles are constantly being reversed and switched. Such role reversals is the way the education system should always be, and the way I see it being the most beneficial.

After meeting last night for a substantial amount with my fellow EduLadies we were able to illustrate the correlation between our CP and our education dialogue we’ve been doing around campus. We say that Sonia and Lily serve as an example for what education looks like and how we can learn things outside the classroom wether that is with Ray workers, on a poster next to McPhails, in a Capstone class, etc.

CP Weekly Update

Sorry it took me a little while to do this ladiez! As we all know we’ve been busy thinking about what our final event was going to plan out being. Today we met in Slavin and discussed the feedback we got, and very much appreciated, from class on Thursday. Besides for that I still wanted to go over our meeting with our CP in Ray on Friday. We had a great time talking with the ladies, even though once again they failed to bring pictures. Even though this is a frustrating process when they don’t bring the pictures it still remains so obvious how happy they are about talking with us. We are establishing and fostering such a unique honest relationship with them, but our photo voice project in relation to them is lacking. Although most of our thesis is based off of this “photo voice” I believe our photo voice lies elsewhere on the posters we have been putting up around school. And we have been able to incorporate the Ray ladies into the posters we have put up in Ray.

This reality of not having our CP correlate too much to our photo voice aspect of our thesis has made me question what it means to have photo voice and does it really need to 100% connect? There was a chance for photo voice in a different way and we took it, yet is there still the possibility to have more photos with our CP without us relying on them bringing one every Friday?

A College Degree: Symbolic or Substantive?

One of my biggest qualms going into this project had to do with the notion of building rapport with our CP over a designated amount of time. I love finding out about people and hearing stories, but I don’t like when it feels forced or rushed. For weeks we’ve been trying to get to know our CP just a little more intimately, and on Friday I feel like we finally got there.

The afternoon started off with me getting called out on having a few too many cervezas the night before (dios mio) and right off the bat we were all laughing. The conversation kept building, from dancing to night life to their lives in the Dominican Republic compared to here. As Taylor pointed out in her post, they told us about the injusticias in their work places back in the DR regarding exploitation and unequal pay. Even though I could only pick out a few words here and there, I felt connected to them and their stories through body language and their eyes. I am loving how much we are getting to know them and how we are connecting on a real level.

I also thought the feedback from capstone Thursday was SO helpful and clarifying. We could not appreciate everyone’s feedback more. Deconstructing what it means to have a college diploma/degree and analyzes whether or not it is symbolic (representing this notion of being “educated”) or substantive (you’ve actually learned the necessary things one needs to make it in the world, beyond just a classroom) is really really cool. Deconstructing the college diploma: re-conceptualizing education through the lens of lived experiences. Love the sound of that! Now we just need to organize a final event and really hone in on *who* our audience is, how we can arrange photovoice (still a big question mark) and what the social change is that we want to make. Is the change just PC based? Are we still pushing for a democratic space? Are we challenging the institution of education?

In the days moving forward I think we need to keep asking ourselves critical questions. One thing I have always loved and appreciated from our group is that we keep each other on our toes and push each other forward. We all bring different insights into the group dynamic but it couldn’t work if just one of us was missing. Tomorrow morning is going to be a critical meeting since we only have 2 more weeks of classes. We need to figure out:

-our next posters

-photovoice (whose stories are going to share? should we get in contact with international students? how are we going to use the facebook group photos?)

-final event (where? why? what? who? when? can we have an event on campus during finals week if its for a class?

Just some questions to think about. Adios!

Bien educad@

education should be

Kudos to my fellow EduChicas because we have been killing it on the blog with all these posts and reflections!  There are so many wonderful questions and criticisms going on.  I love it!  Also a huge MUCHAS GRACIAS to everyone for giving us such great feedback during our workshop and on our blog post.  It is greatly appreciated.  We received some fabulous insight that’s really helped us focus and think of our project in new ways.  You are all wonderful.

Friday with Sonia and Lily went pretty well.  I came running into Ray to find them grabbing a quick bite to eat before they joined us.  I briefly chatted with them and Sonia asked me if I brought anything with me.  I figured that because I was holding posters (in order to put up a new prompt) she meant those.  I said yes and then she picked up her glass and looking through the plastic cup to me (it was an odd but funny sight), she told me, I think embarrassed, that she didn’t bring any photos.  I had to laugh though I don’t want her to think that if she doesn’t bring photos we will be mad at her.

Nevertheless, our session went on regardless of the fact that they didn’t bring photos.  We talked about our prompt poster and had them write on it.  Sonia wrote in English and Lily in Spanish.  We then discussed some of the things that they wrote and that others wrote and tried to delve a little more into learning and education.  We talked about their jobs in the factories and got to the question of why they came to the United States.  They told us that they did not make a lot of money in the DR and they talked about some worker’s rights issues.  They said they work really hard in the US but that they are happy here and enjoy having the support of unions, which they didn’t have in the DR.

We took some photos during the session which resulted from us asking them what they have learned from being at PC.  We got into a discussion about how the students treat them when they are serving us food.  (Look for photos that we took with them doing role playing!) They said that they really like it when people acknowledge them and use their names.  In reference to the title of my post, Sonia mentioned in a story that someone was bien educad@ which is translated as being “polite”, not necessarily well educated.  Obviously the language geek in me goes nuts over these nuances and the fact that it shows how different cultures reflect different values through language.  Being bien educad@ seems much more holistic and centered on the person and behavior than on textbook knowledge.

We had a lot of fun at this past session.  We left them with the same prompt that we would’ve had for this past week “What does education mean to you?”.  Maybe we’ll see some photos.  Or maybe we won’t.  Either way, I just enjoy talking and being with them.

Springing forward – CP Weekly Reflection

EduChicas are getting back on the saddle this week!  Not that we ever totally fell off it, but we’re starting to move forward with our CP and our Reclaiming Education movement.  I’m really excited about all the responses we got from our “I want to learn…” prompt.  There were a wide range of comments, some funny, some very sweet and many very inspiring.  I was glad to see so many people were open to it and I loved seeing their reactions as they walked by, some even asking themselves “What do I want to learn?”.  I doubt that it’s the first time anyone’s ever asked them that, but I would imagine students don’t often get asked that question.  At the least, I hope this prompt got learners thinking about their role and autonomy (or lack there of it) within learning.

Our CP session went pretty well on Friday.  It was great to be back with Sonia and Lily.  The photos Sonia brought were good, although they didn’t necessarily pertain to the prompt we had given them the week before (actually two weeks since we missed one).  I see our relationship growing through these photos.  Sonia even said to us that when she stumbled upon one of the photos, she began to cry.  It’s really touching that she is getting to be more vulnerable with us.  One of my big takeaways from this session came up at the very end when we were trying to get Sonia and Lily’s opinions on education and what the EduChicas were doing in Slavin.  We asked them something to the effect of “What does education mean to you?” and Lily mentioned that it started within the family, specifically with the mother.  On the one hand, I am looking at this through the lens of an institution.  If education starts with the family, one of the most basic institutions within society, then it seems to be just a transferal from one institution to the next.  The optimist in me would prefer to look at Lily’s comment as education begins with a relationship.  Mother and child.  From there it just flows from relationship to relationship.  Relationships are the basis of learning communities.  Somehow though, these learning communities have become lost and mixed up with the bureaucratic and exclusionary nature of institutions.  I hope our project might be a drop in the pond in reclaiming education and these desired learning communities.

As a final note, we gave Lily and Sonia two prompts: the one from last week which they didn’t do (take a photo of one of your biggest challenges) and what does education mean to you?  We emphasized that they should take some new photos for this rather than bring in old ones, though we do enjoy those a lot.  We also gave them a flyer about the EduChicas and our Reclaiming Education movement. It talks about our Facebook page and how we want to hear the community’s thoughts and opinions on the matter.  We left them with a paper bag too so that participants can put pictures and/or comments in there.  We hope to hear more perspectives from community members through this.  Fingers crossed!

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