Meet the Bloggers
Jemma Benson ’13
Home Town: Newton, MA
Placement: I will be the Hacia El Futuro (Toward the Future) fellow at Puentes de Salud, an organization that “promotes the health and wellness of South Philadelphia’s rapidly growing Latino immigrant population through high-quality health care, innovative educational programs, and community building.” I will be one of the coordinators of an after-school tutoring program for children in the community, and hope to work on new public health and education initiatives.
Haverford House Project: I hope to launch a local “Immigration Field Study” for Haverford students over spring break. Students would have a chance to visit different organizations in Philadelphia that provide immigration services and gain a broader understanding of urban immigration.
Hannah Michelle Brower ’13
Hometown: New Orleans, LA
Placement: I will be working as a Research and Advocacy Fellow at the Center for Hunger-Free Communities, which is located within Drexel University’s School of Public Health. I will work with the Center to help produce a better understanding of hunger and poverty in Philadelphia.
As a part of this research, I will conduct interviews of caregivers of young children at St. Christopher’s Hospital in Philadelphia. I will also assist with the Center’s Witnesses to Hunger project, which allows women who have experienced hunger to have their voices heard and to advocate for policy changes.
Haverford House Project: I hope to make Haverford students more knowledgeable about homelessness in Philadelphia. I will continue the work of Elizabeth Wingfield, Haverford House Fellow ’12-’13, who has begun planning an “inside-out” course for Haverford students. In this course, students will engage in discussions about homelessness with residents of a homeless shelter, and they may also volunteer at the shelter. I will continue planning the course during the summer and fall, and I hope to then implement it in the spring of 2014.
Sumin Park ’13
Home town: Ambler, PA
Placement: I will be working as a Case Management and Outreach Fellow at a medical clinic in Camden, NJ. I will function as an advocate for patients, working directly with patients to empower them, raising awareness of the issues of homelessness and participating in outreach work on the Medical Van.
Haverford House Project: (1) I will organize externship opportunities for Haverford students over Fall, Winter and Spring breaks. Selected students who are interested in public health, medicine or social work will get to shadow the work that I or other staff members do. (2) I will also organize a field trips for children who are refugee or homeless with Haverford students as chaperones This project will provide educational opportunities for not only the children, but also the Haverford students to learn about the impact that social inequality has on under-served populations.
Michael Riccio ’13
Home Town: Malvern, PA
Placement: Like many Haverford House Fellows before me, I will be working as a paralegal at Community Legal Services in the Employment Unit. Though it is illegal, many employers use criminal records as a screening device making it very difficult for those who have gotten caught up in the law to find legitimate work. My job will involve helping clients clean up their criminal records through expungements and pardon applications. I will also help clients understand the laws regarding what employers can and cannot do regarding discriminatory practices.
Haverford House Project: This past spring I was fortunate enough to take a CPGC sponsored course that met at Chester Correctional Institution discussing the overlap of restorative justice and architecture. Having been inspired by my classmates on the inside, I hope to pick up the work of past fellows Emily Bock and Emily Dix with the restorative justice project at Graterford Prison. Aside from being an outside sponsor so that the men at Graterford can meet, I will be helping organize student involvement at Haverford. I hope to enable the men at Graterford to hold discussions and help Haverford students organize around prison issues.
Benjamin Van Son ’13
Concentration: Peace, Justice, and Human Rights
Home Town: Rochester, NY
Placement: I will be working as the Housing and Basic Needs Coordinator at HIAS Pennsylvania, an organization that provides legal aid and support services to refugees. As part of the refugee resettlement team, my duties involve finding affordable housing for incoming refugee families and assisting them as they transition into their new home.
Haverford House Project: I hope to develop and implement some type of collaborative program between refugees and Haverford students. Refugees have a myriad of unique life experiences that could provide a valuable perspective to Haverford students. Once I start working, I’ll have a better understanding of how this partnership could take place.
Bridget Gibbons ’13
Major: Political Science
Home town: Columbia, PA
Placement: I’ll be working as a paralegal in the Housing Unit at Community Legal Services. Specifically, I’ll be working on cases that deal with matters of public housing within the city. If residents experience problems or complications with their public housing situation, CLS helps them to settle the matter through individual consultations and occasional class action suits.
Haverford House Project: I will join forces with a group of local non-profits who are addressing the problems that come from a lack of digital literacy. Today, more than ever, having basic computer skills can make it possible for people to search for and secure employment– the lack of these skills can be a formidable challenge to lower-income city residents. I hope to engage with these local groups in their educational outreaches.