Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Jillian Rexford and Empowerment Through Education Experience

Brandeis University has been leading the way when it comes to experiential learning. Offering hundreds of opportunities, there are many ways to fulfill your hands on need in and outside the classroom. Experiential learning includes community-engaged learning (CEL), internships, lab work, theater practicum, research, fieldwork, creative work (visual/performance) and independent study. Over thirty-three departments at Brandeis offer this opportunity.
Many students have already taken advantage of these great chances including sophomore Jillian Kasha Rexford. Jillian took a experiential learning course with Professor Jane Hale her freshman year; as a final project created and wrote a bilingual children’s book in both Haitian Creole and English.
Jillian remarks, “I was able to apply what I learned in class and rather than just reading about the lack of children books in Lesotho and Haiti in the children’s first native languages I was about to meet that need by creating one.”
These hands on applications led to Rexford to apply for a World of Work (WOW) Grant through the Hiatt Career center. Rexford was awarded $3500 towards a social justice unpaid summer internship funded by Mr. Jules Bernstein, class of 1957. With this funding and support Rexford interned with Empowerment through Education Camp (ETE). ETE Camp is a summer camp based in Hinche, Haiti that seeks to empower youth ages 8-12 through an academic summer program in addition to leadership and community building education. Jill’s experience began with trainings in southern Florida with a long-standing youth center at Wildwood recreations. For four weeks, she served as a youth development coordinator and volunteer advisor prior to her departure to Haiti. She continued on to her camp location in Haiti and taught for an additional four weeks on site. Jill was responsible for creating and constructing lesson plans, curriculum, and assessments. Ironically, the ETE Camp was started by then Brandeis student, now alum, Shania Gilbert, through her own expedition with experiential learning.
According to Jill, the possibilities are endless with experiential learning at Brandeis University. There is nothing but will and opportunity.

Check out the video of Education Through Empowerment and see what it is today according to Shaina the founder and director: Education Through Empowerment 2010

Written by Jillian Rexford November 2010.
Photos credited to Jill in Haiti.

Here is Jill leading activities with the ETE Camp kids, who come from mostly impoverished backgrounds and excited to have recreational and education opportunities that people like Jill provide. 

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