by Project Hope Students - Audry, Joyce, Jennifer, Marie and Maria
This reflection was written collectively during the workshop "Ready, Set, Write" facilitated by student-leader, Shellie Walters.
We came to the WE LEARN conference in Providence, Rhode Island. We listened to the stories of many women. We learned it is never too late to learn. For me, I am always talking negatively to myself. I always put myself down. Yesterday I had the revelation that I CAN do it.
There are many ways to benefit from a conference. You can benefit from visually seeing things, from hearing things and doing things. Listening to the speakers was engaging. We learned how to get rid of stress and how to calm down, relax and breathe.
Another benefit from the WE LEARN program was (watching) how the women who participated in reading their writing pieces (in Women's Perspectives) were extremely robust.
Also, the conference was informative. We found that there are places to go to file your taxes at no cost. We have that to take back to share with family and friends.
All the things we learned at the conference were essential to us. We are coming back and bringing others with us.
Project Hope is a multi-service agency in Boston, MA that moves families up and out of poverty. It provides low-income women with children access to education, jobs, housing, and emergency services; fosters their personal transformation; and works for broader systems change. Students and teachers from Project Hope have attended all of the WE LEARN conferences. They participate actively as particpants, planners, and presenters. Dozens of students from Project Hope have their writings published in Women's Perspectives.
After the March conference, San Diego-based learner Jessica Ramos wrote an essay about her experience of attending the conference. Jessica has been published in Women’s Perspectives and read her work at the studentreading Friday, March 7th.
Response to Rhode Island Trip
There were many benefits from attending the WE LEARN conference in Rhode Island. One benefit was that it empowered me to continue thriving with my academic goals. Also, it motivated me to keep on working hard because one day it will pay off. As a DSPS student, I have been attending Mesa College for five years and this trip was a great recompense for having a brain injury and still attempting to be successful in school. Also, I am thankful for the people who gave me the opportunity to travel to Rhode Island and read my writing.
My family will benefit from my trip to Rhode Island by getting informed about Rhode Island with pictures, souvenirs, and videos I brought for them. While I arrived at Rhode Island, I documented my life on the plane, at the conference, hotel and weather, which was unusual for a person who is born and raised in San Diego. My mother, sisters, and little brother were excited and happy to receive the souvenirs I had bought for them, as well as to hear my stories. While giving my speech, I had asked one classmate to record it. Despite the time frame it might take to achieve your academic goals, you can get amazing opportunities to immerse yourself into a place and people that are different from yours.
My professors and colleagues were interested to hear my stories about my time visiting and attending a conference at Rhode Island. My professors were truly happy and have more motives to encourage other students to do the same. Students attending my campus felt encouraged to do the same.
Attending the Conference at Rhode Island, helped me exchange conversations with other students with different backgrounds; great diversity group. It also helped me to reach for that voice and speak with confidence to an audience. It opened my eyes to women’s perspectives and obstacles they have to overcome in order to be successful.
WE LEARN takes pride in creating a truly unique event. Here are some things you can expect if you attend a WE LEARN (Net)Working Conference & Gathering.
- Women-centered learning environment;
- Adult learners involved as presenters and speakers as well as attendees (Attendance in 2012 was 35% learners);
- Workshop presenters include ABE students as well as teachers and researchers;
- Keynote address, workshops, panels or town hall;
- Exhibit area & Resources exchange;
- Topics that are practical, as well as theoretical and academic;
- Activities that are participatory, hands-on, and/or reflective;
- Spaces for healing, music, making art, performance and storytelling, and other "alternative" happenings;
- Time for physical activity such as walks, exercise, or yoga;
- Healthy breakfast and lunch (with vegetarian options) included;
- A sensory environment filled with colorful banners, fresh flowers, music, art, and other beauties;
- Accessibility: , Spanish-language translation, affordable registration, and more;
- ABE student scholarships and work-exchange for part-time teachers & university students available;
- A friendly, welcoming, warm, and festival-like environment.