Barnard College Hosts HLL Students for MLK Day Workshops

On January 20, 2014, Barnard College’s Residential Life staff and Resident Assistants welcomed 43 HLL students from FDA and Truth to campus as part of the college’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day Barnard Reach Out Day of Service. After opening remarks and a pizza lunch provided by Barnard, HLL students joined RAs in small groups for workshops focusing on decision-making, role-models and self-esteem.  “It was a fun learning experience because they broke down, step-by-step, how to make good decisions and why,” said Souleymane, an 8th grader on HLL’s team at the Sojourner Truth School.  

The workshops allowed HLL students to reflect and share personal experiences of dealing with bullies, peer pressure and other adolescent issues. As the day progressed, the RAs’ energy and creativity helped HLL’s kids open up, culminating in a workshop that encouraged HLL students to complement their teammates. The activity empowered the group to build each student’s self-esteem.  On the subway ride back to Truth, 8th grader Tyler reflected, “It made me realize how words affect how you feel and what you do.”

The event was the first collaboration between HLL and Barnard College, giving students from both communities the opportunity to develop their leadership and teamwork skills.  Barnard College Residential Life and Housing Hall Director Marcelle Mentor summed up the entire experience best: “What a wonderful day it was - I think we all learned so much and it was an awesome day of growth and experience for our RAs as well."