2017-01-04

In South Philly, Southwark Elementary is a melting pot of various holiday traditions because of the diverse student population.  At City Year we view this as a strength and wanted to show others the value that learning about other cultures can bring. Two City Year AmeriCorps members wanted to spread messages of acceptance, tolerance, and diversity to the students in their City Year after school program through a Culture Day event. 

City Year AmeriCorps Member Mihir Mulloth teaching students about Nepali New Year

"Culture Day came about as a fun way to expose students to holiday traditions different from their own," explained first year City Year AmeriCorps member Khalil Suaray. "Then, we realized students could really benefit from a lesson in tolerance because many of them have been asking questions about other ethnicities and cultures in response to the news headlines that they see and hear.”

 

"With a team as diverse as us we can show our students that even though we don't look the same we can all work together, be friends, and accept each other for what's inside not the color of our skin or the language we speak." -City Year AmeriCorps Member, Morgan Phillips

Team Leader, Bethany Bieber, and AmeriCorps Member, Carson Bowes, teaching students about Mexican folk art

City Year's team at Southwark screams diversity and that is something first year AmeriCorps member and Culture Day coordinator Morgan Phillips wanted to highlight. "I am lucky enough to work on a team of 15 other people with backgrounds ranging from African American to Puerto Rican to Vietnamese to Indian," explained Phillips. "With a team as diverse as us we can show our students that even though we don't look the same we can all work together, be friends, and accept each other for what's inside not the color of our skin or the language we speak." 

During the Culture Day festivities corps members asked the question, why is it important to learn and accept cultures different from your own? One African American fifth grader making Mexican folk art said, “The world would be so boring if we were all the same. My best friend is Spanish and I’m black. Ms. Whitney is Vietnamese. I wouldn’t have my best friend or a City Year if I didn’t respect where they come from.” Wise words from a bright ten year old that embraces the diversity around her. 

"My best friend is Spanish and I’m black. Ms. Whitney is Vietnamese. I wouldn’t have my best friend or a City Year if I didn’t respect where they come from.” - Southwark Elementary 5th grader

 

City Year AmeriCorps Member Cate MacQueen helping a student pick out a flag to make for Kwanza

Written by City Year Philadelphia AmeriCorps Member, Sam Retamar serving at Southwark Elementary School Team. The work of Sam and her team is made possible by Team Sponsor, Comcast and Program Sponsor, American Airlines.

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