Caribbean Connections Summer 2019

July 31, 2019 Published By Sarah Garriepy

The Gables offers a five-week summer enrichment program that aims to help Salem students and their families discover untold stories and hidden connections between Salem and the Caribbean. Caribbean Connections was created in 2012 in collaboration with the Essex National Heritage Commission, who partnered with The Gables after winning an America’s Best Idea grant from the National Park Foundation. The grant promoted Ken Burns’ challenge to excite urban youth about history. Caribbean Connections offers students a chance to learn in English and Spanish about their heritage and the historical connections between Salem and the Caribbean. The program invites students as well as parents to think critically about their role in this evolving history as new residents of the United States.

This year, thirty students, ages 6-14, have embarked on Caribbean Connections. With the support of six additional high school students as group assistants, the program is off to a great start.  Celebrating the culture and heritage of each student was the starting point. Everyone in the program, including guests, introduced themselves and shared their place of birth, where their family comes from, and what languages are spoken in their home.  Students have learned to say “Welcome” in Armenian, German, French, Fula, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Spanish, and Yoruba.

Key concepts introduced have included using coordinates and cardinal direction on an atlas, the age of early exploration, the triangle trade, slavery, and colonial Salem. The group has enjoyed visits to the Salem Public Library, The Custom House, The House of the Seven Gables, and Baker’s Island.  Miss Dora Tevan, from the Ethnics Art Center, helped the students create puppets based on The Red Comb by Juan Picó.

We invite you to join our end-of-summer celebration of the group’s hard work. Students will perform a puppet show and participate in a drum circle led by Mamadou. The celebration will be held at The Gables on Thursday, August 8, 12:30 P.M. to 2:30 p.m.

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This post was written by Sarah Garriepy