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Jennifer Paik ’12

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Jennifer Paik ’12. DPCS Intern – Summer 2011. International Rescue Committee Refugee Youth Education San Diego, CA. Mentor: Bruce Gemberling ‘58.

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Jennifer Paik ’12

DPCS Intern – Summer 2011

International Rescue Committee

Refugee Youth Education

San Diego, CA

Mentor: Bruce Gemberling ‘58

I worked mainly with the IRC’s Summer Students Plus Program, which provides instruction in English, Math, and various enrichment activities, such as science or hip hop dance, for refugee youth in the San Diego area.

The students all have strong connections to their cultural identity. But instead of building walls to separate themselves, they have learned to share their culture as a means of strengthening their community. They were happy to be in a place where they could proudly showcase their heritage and be unreservedly accepted.

In a country where even people from two different parts of the same city may fight, here were these teenage students exemplifying the inclusivity that is taught repeatedly in schools. The years of oppression they faced in their home countries have shown them that the most important thing we can possess in humanity is tolerance and acceptance; I hope that they are able to continue with their education and spread this ideology with their peers, community, and beyond.

Mu Aye and Eh Eh, who are both Karen girls from Burma, working in the Crawford Garden. The IRC created the garden program to educate students about food justice in America. It also provided the students to work with agriculture as they had done in their home countries.

Djamia (Somalia), Aline (Tanzania), SreyNieng (Cambodia), and Anna (Ethiopia) waiting for food at our end of summer BBQ! Not only was Crawford a place of great diversity, but also a prime example inclusivity.

Jennifer Paik