Promising Practices Program

Administering Organization

Brown University

Program Name

Brown Refugee Youth Tutoring and Enrichment (BRYTE)

Program Objectives and Unique Needs Addressed

BRYTE Academic Year is a student-led organization that pairs Brown undergraduate tutors with students ages 5-18 in refugee families. Currently, BRYTE Academic Year works with over 160 refugee youth that are resettled from a diverse set of countries, including Iraq, Syria, Colombia, Nepal, Eritrea, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Burma, Somalia, and others. BRYTE's mission is to support the self-empowerment of refugee youth by providing academic tutoring and mentoring, as well as by fostering community among students who share experiences of resettlement in the United States.

Program Description

Brown undergraduate, graduate, and medical school students serve as the tutors and mentors in the BRYTE program. Around 160 BRYTE volunteers work one-on-one with refugee students in their homes at least three hours per week. Volunteers spend time primarily tutoring (providing homework help and building on foundational literacy skills), but also engage in enrichment activities such as taking their students to visit the zoo, playing soccer at the park, or bringing them up to Brownʼs campus for community events. Each volunteer is paired with one of six coordinators whom they email weekly with progress reports outlining the various academic and enrichment activities completed with their student. Additionally, coordinators meet individually with volunteers three times a semester to provide them with guidance and resources as well as receive their feedback on the program.  

BRYTE volunteers undergo an intensive training program to equip them to be proficient tutors. At the beginning of the semester, new volunteers attend an all-day orientation training, while returning volunteers go to a refresher training to build on their existing skills. Throughout the rest of the semester, all volunteers attend two additional trainings, covering topics such as literacy instruction to the conflict contexts of the refugees' countries of origin.

Every year, BRYTE volunteers bring their students to several activities and events organized by the coordinators to bring the community of some 160  tutoring pairs together.  These community events have included our annual Fall celebration, Dance Workshops, Spring Talent Show, Science Day and more.

Resource Materials Used in Program

Under the resources tab are a multitude of resources gathered for tutors to use.
Additionally BRYTE has a multicultural library which houses several hundred donated books for tutors to check out and use with their tutees ranging from SAT prep to story books.

Groups Served by Program

The refugee community throughout Providence, Rhode Island, primarily ages 5-18.

Program Funding

BRYTE recieves funding from a variety of different departments throughout Brown University including the Provost's Office, Brown Medical School, The Student Activities Office, and several other sources.

Program Staffing and Required Staff Training

We have 10 volunteer management positions, known as Pod Leaders. Each Pod Leader's responsibilities include responding to volunteers on a weekly basis, attending weekly meetings, facilitating one training for volunteers, meetings with all volunteers in their group three times per semester, and generally co-leading a group of 32 tutor/tutee pairings.

There are three directors. Each director works about 10 hours per week. Their responsibilities include overseeing the ten Pod Leaders and volunteer management, weekly meetings with the leadership group, monthly meetings with advisers/general communication with advisers, overseeing finances/reimbursements, overseeing trainings, putting together around three community events every semester, recruitment, and other logistical day-to-day necessities.

There are around 160 tutors that tutor an average of three hours one-on-one with their tutee, in home every week. These tutors are responsible for sending weekly progress reports detailing how their tutoring sessions are going to their Pod Leaders. Additionally, tutors are required to attend a program-wide training at the beginning of the semester and two additional trainings held throughout the semester. These trainings include presentations from professionals such as pediatric doctors, english-language specialists, and public school teachers. The purpose of previous trainings have included developing skills such as lesson planning, English language learner tutoring skills, mental health and trauma trainings, and other concepts which may provide tutors with helpful knowledge in working with their tutees.

Program Evaluation

Surveys are sent out to tutors at the end of every semester go look at ways we can improve our program. We also look closely and monitor the progress of BRYTE students as they move through the program. We as a program are always looking at ways to improve our program and our evaluation process.

Program Outcomes

Of tutors surveyed, 77% see great/exceptional improvement in their tutees speaking. 60% see great/exceptional improvement in math. 40% see great/exceptional improvement in writing. 48% see great/exceptional improvement in reading.

Additional Comments

We recognize that it is impossible to engage in this work without being deeply moved by it. We are here to share ourselves with our youth and to create the space for them to share themselves with us and with each other. We embrace emotional honesty, joy, and above all, love.

Program Contact

Sara Alisa Hoban

Program Dates

BRYTE began in 2006 and is still operating as of 2017.