Toyota Family Learning: DIIRI Dishes Up Thanksgiving Dinner

For their first Family Service Learning project this year, Toyota Family Learning families from the Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island (DIIRI) in Providence, R.I., have volunteered to host Thanksgiving dinner for the student-led Brown University Refugee Youth Tutoring and Enrichment (BRYTE) program.

Preparing this Thanksgiving feast has been more involved than planning a menu and setting the table for 250 guests, though. These Toyota Family Learning parents have been learning about refugees and the challenges they face. Additionally, during Parent Time, these Toyota Family Learning parents have been discussing how to share one’s culture while simultaneously honoring the cultures of others.

DIIRI logo“Our hope is that the parents will be able to learn from each other regarding the school system, living in Providence, and raising children outside of their home country,” said Hannah McIntire, DIIRI’s school programs coordinator.

The majority of the children served by BRYTE were initially identified by Dorcas International and live in the same neighborhoods as Dorcas International’s Toyota Family Learning participants.

“We are excited to bring together two distinct programs, the BRYTE Refugee Tutoring program and Toyota Family Learning,” McIntire said. “Both groups seek to better the community through their work, and our hope is that mentoring relationships will develop between our refugee and Toyota Family Learning families.”

DIIRI’s Toyota Family Learning site participants will be setting up the tables, serving their own cultural foods, and cleaning up after Saturday’s meal at Dorcas International North Campus. They are also preparing to share their culture and backgrounds with the BRYTE refugee families.

Toyota Family Learning participant Ynes Rivas said, “I feel really good about the event. It shows we love the people who have lived in these situations and that we care about them.”

Update: The Providence Journal covered the DIIRI/BRYTE Thanksgiving meal. Read the story here.

Toyota Family Learning, a 6-year nationwide initiative led by NCFL, was created to address educational needs and provide opportunities for low-income and ethnically-diverse families to roll up their sleeves and build stronger communities. NCFL knows that when children and families solve community issues together, they are simultaneously learning and applying 21st century college and career readiness skills.