Sophia Perlmutter ’18 Headed Back to Belize Friends School

Sophia Perlmutter ’18, is in Guilford’s Quaker Leadership Scholars Program and will be a senior this coming year. She is also double majoring in Sustainable Food Systems and Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies, as well as a Hunger Fellow for the Bonner Center and in the Honors Program.  Sophia is headed back to Belize Friends School this summer to work with the students there. Here is a bit of her story about the upcoming trip and if you’d like to support her, you can do so on the Go Fund Me page she set up for the trip.

“Visiting Belize was one of the most meaningful experiences that I have been fortunate to be a part of since coming to Guilford. I have always loved working with kids and was immediately interested in studying abroad and working with students. I really fell in love with the students, especially the younger ones since I feel more comfortable working with elementary school aged students. Many of them haven’t been offered as many opportunities as we have been offered here in the states, there aren’t always enough teachers in classrooms, materials are sometimes low, and in the case of Belize Friends school, ages 10-15 are taught together, which allows for multiple learning levels and often not enough one-on-one support. The students were incredibly kind and welcoming to us and would teach us things in return, allowing for a natural give-and-take relationship to develop between our group and the students, which was a really nice thing to be a part of.

I am being called back to work at the Belize Friends School because I felt that I didn’t have nearly enough time to work with the students and feel that it makes sense to go back and continue to teach, learn, and grow. When I was younger I had a hard time in school and it took me awhile to realize that I was smart and capable of doing the work. I was lucky because my school offered tutors and learning specialists that were able to help me understand the material in a different way and gain confidence. Many of the students at the Belize Friends School are behind in school because they weren’t given the opportunity to go, or they had an undiagnosed learning disability that made it hard for them to keep up in school. From working one on one with the students for just 10 days, I could see them gaining confidence and understanding the material better because they had someone giving them individual attention. This extra support is exactly what I needed when I was in school and if I am able to give it back to someone, that’s exactly what I will seek out to do.”

You can support this work here: The Belize Friends School Go Fund Me Page


A Trip to Peru for FWCC World Plenary

As we think about the future of Friends Center and the Quaker Leadship Scholars Program at Guilford College, one area we want to grow into more is with worldwide Quakers.

Part of this means that we are dreaming of what a Global Quaker Center for Quaker Leadership might look like. The landscape of the Quaker world has shifted considerably towards Friends in other parts of the worlds with vastly different experiences, practices and languages than our own. We want to be training young leaders for the Quaker tradition globally and not just for those primarily in the United States. To this end we are focusing some of our work on traveling and building more diverse connections home and abroad.

With that in mind, I had the great privilege to travel to Pisaq, Peru this January for the FWCC World Plenary with two of our QLSP students: Elena Robles (‘17) and Katie Claggett (’19).

The purpose of the trip was to learn more about global Quakerism, especially Latin American Quakerism, build connections with international Quakers, raise the profile of Guilford College and Friends Center and begin building a list of names of people we can connect with in recruiting international Quaker students.

The trip was positive in all these aspects. The soil has clearly been ploughed. The reputation of QLSP, Friends Center and Guilford College is very strong among Friends globally and there are many hungry and interested in our program. We made many new friendships and plans about how to move forward.

This trip south, and other work of similar nature, will impact the direction of our leadership program, our scholarship, recruitment, and fundraising. We see the need to expand our reach into more international circles so that we can be supporting more Quakers globally. This is only the beginning and your help is needed. The interest is there and now we need the resources to make it happen.

To read more updates on Twitter about the trip follow this link.

A Trip to Belize

Frank Massey, Campus Ministry Coordinator, led a January Term to Belize to learn of the work of Belize Friends School (BFS).  Thirteen Guilford students participated in the program, tutored and engaged with the BFS students several hours each day of the two week program.  The students will present a program to the campus community this spring, and write a history of Belize Friends School.  Another trip is planned for January 2017.