Meet the team behind Big Brothers and Big Sisters at Temple

My Little comes down the stairs every week saying, ‘Oh girl! I’ve been waiting for you to come all week, I have to tell you a secret,’ and then she hugs me,” said Isabel Sefton, the Vice President of Big Brothers Big Sisters at Temple. “That’s my favorite part of my week, it’s when I am with her.”

For many members of this organization, being a Big is more than just being a mentor. Once they become mentors, they are reliable role models that their Little can trust.

The mission statement, according to Big Brothers and Sisters of America’s website, is to “provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters is the nation’s largest volunteer mentoring network with matches between Bigs (adult volunteers) and Littles (children), from the ages of 6 through 18 to help the children realize their full potential and shape their lives.

The Temple chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters is dedicated to help mentor local children from the Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence Region. After each college student is matched with a local elementary student, they are required to meet their Little every week for an hour and bond with them.

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Big Brothers Big Sisters at Temple, Executive team

The Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence area serves the Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties in Pa., and Burlington, Camden and Gloucester Counties in NJ. According to the 2016 Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence Fact Sheet, the organization has served 3,781 children from Southeastern PA. and Southern NJ.

They have also significantly helped children from the program as mentors or Bigs. Their fact sheet shows that 99% of children avoid using alcohol and tobacco; 97% advance to the next grade, 100% avoid using drugs and 98% have not become a teen parent since being part of this program.

“The main purpose is to provide children with mentors who might not have access to one otherwise,” Sefton said, “We, as an organization, stress that the Bigs are people for their Littles to rely on and not necessarily be seen as a tutor or babysitter.”

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Isabel Sefton, Vice President of Big Brothers Big Sisters at Temple

President of Temple BBBS, Berk Atillasoy, a risk management and insurance major, can attest to the importance of mentorship today. He joined as a Big during the fall semester of his freshman year and has since been part of the growth of the organization on campus.

“The reach of your influence as a mentor expands beyond your Little,” said Atillasoy, “Once you make a positive impact in someone’s life, they become a better version of themselves, which spills into many facets of life. They become better leaders, employees, family members, and community members.”

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Berk Atillasoy, President of Big Brothers Big Sisters at Temple

Not only do Bigs make a difference in the lives of their Littles by becoming a role model they can look up to, but they’re also benefiting as Bigs as well.

Atillasoy mentions that he learns the most from his Little and that it’s refreshing to hear from a younger perspective on life. He has been matched with his Little since October of 2015, and they are still matched to this day.

Members like Morgan Kolakowski, who is a journalism major with a minor in business and part of the Temple BBBS recruitment team, also agrees that being part of this organization is important because they’re improving the lives of these children but also theirs.

“My Little has given me the opportunity to have a little sister for the first time in my life,” said Kolakowski.

Since being part of Temple BBBS, Kolakowski advocates for mentorship to be taken seriously since it is important to take time to give back to others and help shape the future generation.

While many might give little importance to organizations such as Big Brothers and Big Sisters, it is indeed making a difference by having these relationships established between children and college students like the ones from Temple University.

“I just know that each time I’m coming to visit my Little, she looks forward to it,” Sefton said, “I appreciate the fact she trusts me and considers me to be someone she counts on, which makes all the hard work pay off.”

Written by: Gail Vivar

Photos by: Isaiah Spicer

She’s The First Temple is helping to end educational inequality worldwide

Education inequality between men and women is an issue in various countries around the world. Women are not given the same resources and opportunities to go to school that men receive. She’s the First Temple is a chapter of a national organization that is hoping to change this.

The organization, whose Temple chapter started about three years ago, sponsors female scholars to help them gain access to the resources they need to get an education and to support women who will be the first in their families to graduate high school. Faculty advisor Kimberly Goyette says raising funds for these students is only one of the goals of the organization.

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According to She’s the First’s website, the national organization, which was founded in 2009, has 225 campus chapters, including Temple, and has sponsored 923 scholars’ educations. The organization sponsors scholars in 11 low-income countries worldwide.The focus is getting each scholar to graduation, not just through another year of school.

I think students in the U.S. do not realize how difficult it is for girls and women in some places across the globe to be able to go to school, and even when they do, to have the same resources provided to them as are provided to boys and men,” says Goyette, stating that raising awareness of this global issue as a primary goal of She’s the First.

In her time with the organization, Goyette has seen the organization grow, now partnering with other Temple organizations and doing more fundraising for their scholars. The fundraising events, ranging from bake sales to collaborations with campus businesses, goes directly to sponsoring the organization’s scholars.

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According to President Julia Clements, a senior journalism major, the organization also has a program called STF Global Awareness, which is a part of the scholar mentorship program that allows the scholars they sponsor to be globally aware and to see how their own education has an impact on the world.

Clements says that this year, She’s the First Temple has five scholars, two from Ethiopia and three from Peru. The scholars are assigned to Temple’s chapter from the national chapter. Clements says Temple’s chapter started out with only one student, but the chapter was given more after they were able to fund all four years of the original scholar’s education.

Clements’ main goal is to make sure the organization is sustainable, even after she graduates.

“I want people who don’t really necessarily think about these things to hear about us and think about us,” she adds. She is hoping that people other than those who know about global education inequality to find out about the organization and attend events to learn more.

Lindsey Gilbert, a sophomore and the organization’s co-president, echoes the sentiment of wanting more people to be engaged with the organization.

“By being engaged participants in the organization, I hope that our members are able to become leaders in the fight against gender inequality, advocates for social change, and, of course, active global citizens,” Gilbert says.

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Written by: Ashley Paskill

Photos by: Zhi Lin

Commuters Get Involved

Temple commuter students talk about the clubs they participate in on campus

There are a variety of clubs on Temple’s campus that one can get involved with. The hundreds of clubs and organizations on Temple’s campus give students a diverse set of options. Additionally, if a student lives on-campus, club meetings are usually only a short walk away.

For commuter students, it can be harder to stay involved on campus. It can be difficult to attend club meetings and events because of the distance that has to be traveled.

Dez Johnson, a freshman at Temple, is involved in the Badminton Club on campus. She says that being a commuter and while being involved in a club can get tricky.

“I don’t drive yet so when I take public transportation late at night I have to be cautious. It also takes forever to get from point A to point B when I still have homework to do,” Johnson said.  “I still go to this club because I really like the sport and the people there. So I try to work it out anyway.”

Although there are some drawbacks with commuting and being in a club, she does believe that the experience overall is rewarding.


“Since I’m a pretty shy person it helped me make my first few friends at school and since I’m a freshman the other club members even helped me get used to school,” Johnson said. “They [shared] some good places to eat or what teachers are cool to have and stuff like that.”

Jenna Lee, a freshman, is a member of Temple’s Asian Student Association (ASA). She joined during her first semester and has loved it ever since. She is also a member of ASA’s dance team. She finds it difficult at times to be a commuter student and also be in a club on campus, but like Johnson, she loves the organization she is a part of.

“I kind of can’t see my life right now and not be in ASA. Sometimes it can get really difficult juggling everything, but ASA is a home away from home for me and a place where I can really be myself. I also love all the people I’ve met,” Lee said.

 

Written by Brittney Coleman

Making Change

Temple’s Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children (FIMRC) chapter is working to bring awareness to health issues both locally and across the globe.

Over the past four years, Temple University’s Chapter of the Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children (FIMRC) has been raising funds and awareness for health issues in both local and international locations.

FIMRC focuses on bringing awareness to important public health issues as well as educating people about topics such as health education, nutrition and hand-washing. The organization collaborates with approximately 10 major clinics in several countries including India, the Dominican Republic and Uganda.

Haritha Reddy, a senior biology major and three-year President of Temple’s FIMRC chapter, says she feels fulfilled by the work FIMRC is involved in.

“When you go to these clinics and work there you are with kids who don’t wear shoes outside are surrounded broken alcohol bottles on the ground. They are so grateful for you to come and teach them a little bit about nutrition or for you to come and play with them,” Reddy said.

Temple’s FIMRC chapter provides their members with opportunities to travel abroad at any time during the year. If one prefers working locally, members are able to volunteer at Shriners Hospital in Philadelphia.

Recently, FIMRC planned an interactive event featuring cuisine from each country where FIMRC clinics are located. The event acted as a fundraiser and charged a $5 admission fee.

Teammates were blindfolded as they tasted different foods and attempted to determine the country to which they were from. FIMRC holds similar events regularly both members and non-members alike.

Shreya Inala, sophomore biology major and member of FIMRC, says that making a difference is her favorite part about FIMRC.

“Knowing that we are making a difference…it might change someone’s life drastically and we won’t know until we try,” Inala said. “If I had to describe FIMRC in one word, it would be ‘giving’.”  

 

Written by Morgan Pivovarnik

Photo courtesy of fimrc.org

Temple’s Residence Hall Association

A deeper look into the group of students that represent Temple’s on-campus housing life.

The Residence Hall Association, commonly referred to as RHA, is an organization that represents the voices of students living on campus.

RHA is comprised of two main bodies- each residence hall consists of the Executive Board and Community Councils (Peabody, Johnson and Hardwick, 1300, 1940, Beech International, Temple-Sponsored Edge, White Hall, Temple Towers and Morgan North/South).

The Executive Body is responsible for overseeing and guiding the array of Community Councils and representing Temple’s RHA in regional conferences. Kelsey Mallon, a student at Temple University studying environmental science, is the current president of the Executive Board.

The duties of the president involve a variety of responsibilities.

“As president, I meet with different directors, including Residential Life and Maintenance, to discuss the desires of the on-campus student population. I also lead several different types of meetings that cover the agenda of RHA in order to accomplish the needs of the residents,” Mallon said.

Community Councils are comprised of a president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, RHA representative, public relations representative, advocacy representative, sustainability representative and community service representative. Each student role has specific responsibilities, but they all work together to represent the best interests of the students in their respective residence hall.

The Residence Hall Association is delegated a sum of money to use in event planning.

The money is split between the individual Community Councils and the Executive Board. The Executive Board plans large-scale events that includes the entire student body, while the Community Councils work closely and develop programs within their halls.

Alongside event planning, the group of students attend town hall forums hosted by a board consisting of Temple staff. At these events, the board members answer questions about housing and deliver future plans Temple hopes to achieve.

These students are passionate about helping the Temple community.

Isabelle Lawler, the treasurer of the RHA Executive Board, likes the idea that she is able to help others. “I am able to work as a team to help improve the lives of Temple’s on-campus community,” Lawler said.

Tyler Ressler, vice president of external affairs for the Executive Board, values the opportunities that being an executive board member provides.

“My favorite part of being an e-board member is that I get to interact with not only other incredible executive board members, but also a number of amazing students who live on-campus and wish to have a positive impact on community,” Ressler said.  
By  Lubin K. Park

HOW MANY SANDWICHES?

The Main Campus Program Board’s PB & J day breaks a Guinness World Record.

 

Temple’s Main Campus Program Board (MCPB) has broken a record this year.

This September during Temple’s homecoming week, its Peanut Butter and Jelly (PB & J) day event broke the Guinness World Record for the most sandwiches made in one hour. More than 1,400 students, faculty, and staff members turned up to volunteer and made a total 49,100 sandwiches to be donated.

Danielle Snowden, the director of university events, originally had doubts as to whether such a large event would be successful.

“We pull off big events all the time but never something of this scale,” Snowden said. “We just didn’t know if it was going to happen so we were the ones that were freaking out the most.”

Trina Van, secretary and director of community service events, came up with the idea and hosted a small scale PB & J event to make and donate foods to the local community. With the encouragement and assistance from MCPB’s E-board, Van started planning for a larger, more daring goal where students would be able to show their Temple spirit but also be able to support the homeless and those in need.

Although it took only 12 weeks to get permission from Guinness World Records, a lot of planning went into organizing the event, especially with sponsorship and marketing.

Dylan Rhudd, the director of marketing, believes that the hardest part was getting the best turn-out.

“We wanted to have as many participants as possible,” Rhudd said. “I did a lot of promoting at Temple and the surrounding area to see who was on board with our goal to beat the world record.”

 

 

Written by Anh Nguyen

Sponsoring Girls going to School

Student organization She’s the First is sponsoring five girls to go school.

 

She’s the First at Temple University is a chapter of the She’s the First global organization.

The global organization aims to provide scholarships to high-potential girls with financial need in order to allow them to graduate. The money raised by college campus chapters covers tuition, school materials, and uniforms so that the girls are able to attend school.

Each campus chapter is assigned a number of girls to sponsor each year. When a chapter receives the assignments, it also is given a picture of each girl as well as some background information such as where she lives, her hobbies, and her favorite school subjects.

Sydney Schultz, a sophomore at Temple, is the secretary of Temple’s She’s The First chapter. She says the group is in contact with the girls throughout the year in order to show them support.

“We are able to write them letters to let them know that they are being supported in Pennsylvania,” Schultz said.

Madison Gray, the president of she’s the first, says that receiving letters from the girls is the most rewarding part about being involved with She’s the First. “My favorite thing about She’s the First is getting the letters from scholars. Putting a face and a name to all our hard work is so rewarding and it never fails to make me tear up,” Gray said.

Temple University’s chapter is only two years old, but its fundraising success last year has allowed them to sponsor five girls this year instead of the previous year’s one.

The organization owes their success to a variety of fundraising events such as outdoors yoga classes and bake sales. A popular fundraising event is ‘Cheese the First’.

“We’ll go out on Friday night to a corner on campus and we’ll make quesadillas and sell them. Just on one night alone we raised around $140,” Schultz said. “A lot of times we get together with other feminist organizations like FMLA [Feminist Majority and Leadership Alliance] to fundraise.”

Temple’s chapter will continue to raise money for their five scholars through their bake sales while also planning awareness events.

 

 

Written by  Yanuara Ramirez

InMotion Dance Team

Move and groove with InMotion

Temple’s InMotion dance team was started in 2007 as an outlet for girls to continue dancing when they came to Temple.

Membership to InMotion is contingent upon auditions. These auditions are two days long and require potential team members to showcase their dance abilities by memorizing routines and performing technical dance skills.

“On the first day of auditions we learned one contemporary routine and one hip-hop routine,” said sophomore team member Rachel Makar. “If you get called back for the second day you perform the routines again but they need to be perfected. We also learned a jazz combo on the second day.”

Makar wanted to continue her dance education at Temple because she is very passionate about it.

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“I have been dancing for ten years,” Makar said. “I wanted to continue dancing, so I started looking at clubs and organizations available at Temple so I wouldn’t lose the skills that I had.”

President of InMotion Elizabeth Tatti, had been dancing for about 13 years before she came to Temple. Tatti, like many others on the team, did not want to give up on her passion.

There are 27 girls on the dance team this year. For Tatti, choreographing dance routines for the entire team comes with some challenges.

“There are a lot of girls and we all get along really well, sometimes it’s a struggle to get everyone quiet and ready to go, but once we do it’s awesome,” said Tatti, who first made the team as a freshman and has been a devoted member ever since.

Tatti said InMotion attends dance competitions occasionally but tries to stick to smaller performances because of the time commitment that larger competitions would require.

“Since we are only a club team at Temple, many of our girls have busy schedules already without the added practices that more competitions would require,” Tatti said.

For Makar, a second year member of the team, InMotion has been an enjoyable experience because of the love and support the team gives one another. Not to mention, all the girls share the same passion for dance.

“The team is so fun to hang out with,” Makar said. “We do bonding events and hang out, and we always have such a great time together.”

Written by Hannah Mccomsey

Photographed by Daniel Burton Worrell

A Cappella

You may have seen flyers around campus advertising shows from organizations such as Broad Street Line, Low Key, Jewkebox, Singchronize, Owlcappella or Pitch, Please. You acknowledge the catchiness of these student org names, but have no idea what they do.

A cappella is a very unique style of music that involves only voices and no instruments. It can include imitating instruments and percussion, clapping, stomping, tapping or pretty much any type of noise that doesn’t require an instrument.

Temple is home to six a cappella groups, each one possessing its own style and flair. Owlcappella usually performs cool and calm indie music, whereas Singchronize does sassy and fun pop music. Each of the groups is also categorized. Broad Street Line is all male, Singchronize is all female, Low Key is a co-ed show choir, Owlcappella is co-ed, Jewkebox is affiliated with the Temple Jewish community and Pitch, Please is LGBTQ affiliated. The diversity in the TUAC community allows each a cappella group to bring something unique to the table.

Members of TUAC groups don’t just enjoy being able to express their artistry. They also cherish the relationships with their fellow singers.

Jewkebox director Hannah Stevens is a junior at Temple majoring in music education and minoring in Spanish. She is passionate about Temple’s a cappella community.

“My favorite thing about TUAC is the community we’ve created,” Stevens said. “It’s always growing and changing, but we’re always there
f
or each other.”

On the first Thursday of every month, all the groups get together at the Alumni Circle to share performances. The atmosphere of these serenades is full of love from the TUAC groups.   

Senior education major Tresier Mihalik  transferred to Temple in 2014 and immediately knew she wanted to get involved with a cappella.

“A cappella fosters the outlet to be creative and imaginative,” said Mihalik, who auditioned and got accepted to Low Key in the fall of 2014. “Low Key is like a second family to me.”

Many students in a cappella groups feel as though their group is a home where they can truly be themselves.

“When you join an a cappella group, you are instantly enveloped with support and have 20 plus new friends on your side,” said Holleigh Christie, president of Jewkebox. “I fell in love with 20 people in 20 different ways, and that love has changed everything about my Temple experience.”

Written by Lauren Waksman

Photographed by Sarah Whitehead

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