Spirited Holiday Celebrations with Refugee Tutoring Program

Most Tuesdays and Wednesdays after school, you’ll find a group of Bishop’s students working with their peers in the refugee community in City Heights via The Episcopal Refugee Network Karen After-School Tutoring Program. This last week, the student volunteer tutors and their counterparts took a break from working on English language skills, basic math and other academics to enjoy seasonal music, activities and gift-giving.
Thanks to the Bishop’s community’s participation in the annual Giving Tree project in November, the group delivered and distributed more than 80 gifts and toys for students and 25 kitchen starter sets with the Tuesday group and the Wednesday group.
Serving elementary and middle school-age refugee students, the program meets at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in City Heights from 3:45 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Faculty and parent volunteers drive our student volunteers to these tutoring sessions.
Most of the children were born in or grew up in refugee camps on the border of Thailand and Burma, arriving in the Unites States with limited English language skills and little formal education. There are also refugee students from East Africa (Sudan and Somalia) who attend the program, as well as new refugee families arriving from Iraq and Syria.
Director of Bishop’s Global Education Initiative (GEI) Dr. David Moseley says, “We have talked about ‘glocalization’ - the local impact of globalization - and the desire to connect students at Bishop's with the wider world without taking a trip to another country - the ‘world in our backyard,’ so to speak.”
At Tuesday’s gathering, the Bishop’s volunteers were joined by David’s friend Laura Reyes, an opera singer from Puerto Rico, and her father, Eduardo, who plays the accordion. David notes, “They are also refugees because of Hurricane Maria, and brought much joy in sharing their musical gifts.”
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The Bishop’s School is an independent, coeducational college-preparatory day school for students in grades six through twelve who live throughout San Diego County. Founded in 1909, the School is affiliated with the Episcopal church.