Archive: October 2015

RISE at Apollo Middle School: My Perspective as an AmeriCorps Member

Posted by Ellen Larson to Uncategorized

Refugee and Immigrant Students Empowered (RISE) at Apollo Middle School

by Ashley Rice

My students at Apollo Middle School through the after school program are nothing less than remarkable. The first couple of weeks have opened up my mind to the possibilities of how far children can excel and achieve in their lives STARTING now. I have not worked with middle school kids in a while, but these children light my world up each and every day. My students are diverse ranging from nationality to personalities. They are very unique in their own ways. The students are very receptive and respectful to themselves and to the AmeriCorps members. I interact with the students by being down to earth and always attempting to relate to them. I am consistently trying to build a relationship with the students while building trust. We build trust by working together with enhancing projects, and the programming that is structured helps us to learn from each other. Apollo Middle School rocks, and I love my position as an AmeriCorps member!


RISE at Stonebrook: Sacrifices

Posted by Ellen Larson to Uncategorized

Refugee and Immigrant Students Empowered (RISE) at Stonebrook

by Brittany Long, RISE AmeriCorps Member

Last week a few of our Muslim students were absent from the RISE afterschool program because of their traditional holiday Eid- Al-Adha also known as The Feast of Sacrifice.  One of the things we really try to emphasize for RISE at Stonebrook is community and how important it is to work with each other and to understand each other’s stories.  So we decided to talk about the holiday, what it meant to them but decided to highlight the word sacrifice… what does it mean to sacrifice? We brainstormed different ways people we knew and loved had made sacrifices. One example since many of our students are refugees was coming to America. Their family left behind things they were familiar with, their job, their home; they left family and friends so their family could have a better future. We talked about how sometimes moms and dads have to work long hours, sacrificing time at home so that they can provide for the family. We talked about giving things to others who are in need can be a sacrifice.

That day we wrote in our journals a time when WE had to make a sacrifice. I love when things click and you see students start to grasp a concept!

One of my favorite journal entries was from a student who wrote about his little sister. He had a piece of candy, the last piece and was about to eat it when his sister decided she wanted it. Since it was the last piece he was reluctant to share and was determined to save it for himself. However he saw how much she wanted it and decided to make the sacrifice and give her the coveted piece.

This to us may not seem like much…. A piece of candy!?  But something small like this may mean much more to someone else. When you think about the circumstances, coming from a big family, having to share a lot and not having much of your own…. giving up a piece of candy can feel like a big sacrifice.

It was heartwarming, hearing the kids talk about how sometimes you have to give up things for the people you love or to show love to others.

Three Stonebrook students were selected to participate in the Nashville After Zone Alliance Leadership Retreat at Camp Widjiwagon during Fall Break. See photos below: