John Hope Settlement House and the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence Welcome Brown University Students and Mentors to Providence

August 27, 2010


On Thursday, August 26, staff from John Hope Settlement House and the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence spoke to a group of students from Brown University about community and service in Providence. Among the topics they discussed were ways to mentor Providence youth at John Hope and juvenile justice issues addressed through the Nonviolence Institute and other community agencies in the city.

PROVIDENCE, RI – What are the most pressing social issues facing residents in Providence? What kinds of community resources are available to students who are new to the city? What does community look like when you’re talking about the neighborhoods of Providence? These are some of the questions that were addressed when a group of incoming students from Brown University ventured “off the hill” to join representatives from John Hope Settlement House and the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence on Thursday, August 26 at John Hope, 7 Thomas P. Whitten Way.

The group from Brown consisted of students who are part of a unique program called the University Community Academic Advising Project (UCAAP), an initiative organized by the University’s Swearer Center for Public Service. “UCAAP has been designed to encourage students to embrace community participation, reflection, and civic responsibility as central parts of a Brown education,” said Alan Flam, Director of Advising and Community Collaborations at the Swearer Center at Brown University. The program is limited to 50 students, and participants must apply to be part of the program.

The students participating on the 26th were part of UCAAP’s Institute on Service and Community and their visit to John Hope arrived following what, for most, was their first night in Providence, RI. New students moved in to Brown on Wednesday, August 25, then, “instead of spending their first full day on campus,” said Flam, the UCAAP students spent it “out in the community.” His goal with the Institute is to show that Rhode Island, and Providence specifically, is a “rich location for learning and service.” In a conversation before the Institute, Flam said they do this by having students “explore various neighborhoods of Rhode Island, investigate some of the pressing social issues, visit community organizations, [and] meet with community leaders, neighborhood residents and governmental officials.”

For the group on Thursday, some of those representatives included Teny Gross, Executive Director of the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence, and Michelle Freeman, the Director of John Hope’s Family Renewal Center, which actively supports households with children at risk of abuse or neglect, with different types of severe emotional disturbance, or who have been involved with the Juvenile Justice system.

Flam also talked about being excited to introduce UCAAP students to James Day, who, as Director of Youth, Adult and Family Wellness, oversees a partnership between John Hope and the Brown University Mentoring program. Under the partnership, 6-12 year olds enrolled in after school programming at John Hope are matched with Brown University students who help with homework and provide positive motivational supports. And while changes are coming, due to a United Way of Rhode Island grant designed to give new direction to “Out of School Time” at John Hope, the partnership with Brown remains intact. Or potentially strengthened after August 26, according to Peter D. Lee, MSW, President & CEO of John Hope:

“We are excited to help welcome an incoming class to Brown University. It gives us a new way to continue forging partnerships with Brown, and it brings more resources to the children, youth, and families served by John Hope.”

For more information about UCAAP and the Swearer Center for Public Service at Brown University, visit http://www.swearercenter.brown.edu. For more information about Out of School Time programming or the Family Renewal Center at John Hope Settlement House, visit http://www.johnhope.org or call 401-421-6993. To learn more about the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence, visit http://www.nonviolenceinstitute.org.

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Learn more and hear what students had to say in this report from WPRO
Brown freshman get to know Providence far from college hill

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