Why Briya? Because it broadens my worldview.
Growing up in a small Midwestern town, I remember seeing pictures of the war in Vietnam or starving people in Ethiopia, and they felt unreal. The pictures saddened me, but that world wasn’t remotely connected to my world.
But today, children crossing the border alone are my students’ children. I hear of bombings in Syria and think of my students’ relatives huddled in their homes, fearing for their lives. I read about deaths in El Salvador and cry with a student whose family member was murdered there. Making these connections is difficult and painful, but doing so opens my heart and my world.
Working at Briya has made me a better parent, a better teacher, and a better coworker. My students’ stories, insights, and generosity never fail to inspire me. They give me the energy to keep striving to improve.
There is always something more that can be done. But when challenges seem overwhelming, I walk down the hall and see the children playing. I see the adult students laughing and giving each other hugs. And I think that for now, this is enough.