Breaking the Bubble Through Conversations and Coffee
Jan 25, 2016 by Stuart Haruyama
Paridhi is a member of the Leadership & Community Engagement [LACE] Fellowship, which is a 300 hour leadership program combining community service, critical reflection, and leadership training. The Fellowship is an opportunity for RISD students to learn more about the local Providence area and experience how their art & design training can be utilized for the betterment of their communities. Fellows also receive a $1,200 education stipend at the conclusion of the program.
Hello! I am Paridhi Mundra, a current LACE fellow and a sophomore in Illustration at Rhode Island School of Design. I come from Mumbai, India, whose 84 °F seems to be smirking at me as I write this blog in the cold January winds of Providence. When I am not illustrating, I enjoy reading, and writing fiction. I also like travelling as I grew up shifting across cities and sometimes countries, creating in me inquisitiveness about new places, people and cultures.
I believe it is one of the reasons why I decided to participate in the LACE Fellowship. The Fellowship provides a platform to connect with the Providence community beyond the campus and give back to its members through service. I think there is a special relevance as well of it being a part of the RISD experience for me. Last year, I discovered it was easy to coop myself in the fantastical realms of the RISD Bubble. However, being a LACE fellow has encouraged me to create a self- awareness of social issues and concerns at both a local and global level through my main site, but also by re-discovering initiatives that are being taken on-campus.
For the past couple of months, I have been volunteering at my main site, Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island and it has been a wonderful experience so far. Dorcas International Institute is an independent, non-profit agency that aims to empower low-income individuals/families, immigrants and refugees through their various services including Education & Training, Refugee Resettlement and Citizen& Immigration. As part of my voluntary service, I am currently a teacher assistant at the ESOL classes, which are part of the Institute’s Family Literacy Program for parents wanting to acquire English language skills. Going forward, my other responsibilities include assisting with the program’s event management and outreach as well as conducting initial and exit family interviews of the parents.
I aim this fellowship to be about teaching and learning. I hope to learn more about the cultural opportunities and concerns of the city’s refugee and immigrant society, and to hear theirs and share my stories over conversations infused with some English, some Spanish and of course coffee!