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Chester Fellows Help Run Children's Camp at Nia Center

Chester Fellows Help Run
Children's Camp at Nia Center

by Zoe Lewicki '11

Lauren Yoshizawa '09 and Gina Grubb '10 worked hard this summer to help run the children's camp at the Nia Center, a not-for-profit cultural organization that serves the Chester, Pa., community. Although they came to the project through separate channels, they collaborated to serve the Center.

Lauren Yoshizawa '09 and Gina Grubb '10

Gina Grubb '10 and Lauren Yoshizawa '09


Gina, an education and psychology special major from Pittsburgh, Pa., received a Chester Fellows grant from the College's Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility and knew she wanted to work with kids and education. This summer, she also worked with Summer of Learning/ Learning for Life Program. Lauren, an education and political science special major from San Ramon, Calif., also received a grant from the College to fulfill her internship requirement. She combined her time at the Nia Center with research on campus for her thesis. She became connected to Chester because of her interest in urban school reform.

The overarching goal of the camp's curriculum is to encourage the children to think about peace and what it means to them. In one art project, the kids made a collage of pictures answering the prompt, "I have a dream...". Gina and Lauren also read aloud from books borrowed from the Swarthmore College Peace Collection and taught the students how different cultures celebrate peace through craft projects.

The children contributed one of those projects, peace cranes, to a Peace Collection summer exhibit of children's artwork that depicts scenes of war and peace from around the world. Other projects were recently exhibited in Chester's J. Lewis Crozer Library.

Gina and Lauren also taught math, reading, writing, and science projects. "We knew they didn't do much science during the year, so wanted to do that with them," Gina says. To keep them engaged and interested, "We try to do more hands-on things with them," adds Lauren.

Both have seen improvements and sometimes glimpse a moment of inspiration in the kids. "For each student, we could name something they get excited about," Lauren says. Both agree their experience has been good teaching practice - incredibly hard but fun.