First Friday: February 3, 2023

Published by Program Manager on

First Friday: February 3, 2023

February is the month that kickstarted Outreach Events for the semester. In this month we have begun to plan Sip & Learns, First Fridays and reaching out to many organizations at our local universities. Thus far we have hosted Sip & Learns events as well as attending First Friday on February 3rd. First Friday is an event where, “the streets of Historic Downtown Bryan transform into one big stage on the First Friday of each month with live music, performances, art demonstrations, and unique & interactive events and activities” (Destination Bryan). First Friday caters to the local community in an event that lasts from 5:00 P.M. until 9:00 P.M. First Friday is hosted in downtown Bryan in a hub area for many immigrants in the Bryan area. This has allowed the immigrant community to have an easily accessible event being brought to their ‘front porch’. Many of the organizations that have become a part of First Friday are those owned by community members themselves sharing their products and services. This ranges from food vendors to service providers among the Bryan College Station community. 

BIIN stands for Brazos Interfaith Immigration Network where the mission is to promote the human dignity and well-being of all immigrants in our community and to advocate for and facilitate better access to legal, educational and social services. Within this BIIN has recognized the need for those who immigrate to the Bryan/College Station area for social and legal services. BIIN’s legal services include Information, Referral, and Assistance (IRA) in which the organization has been able to provide recommendations and referrals for many of their clientele. Whether these be Citizenship classes, English classes or even walk-in appointments with our Americorps volunteers, BIIN has used their resources to benefit the immigrant community. During First Friday, BIIN was able to share their services with the Spanish speaking community of Bryan. English classes drew the most attention to those that visited BIIN’s table.

The purpose in participating in this event for BIIN was to generate awareness of BIIN’s services to the public. This event for BIIN is mainly to share with potential clients the services we can provide for them. For BIIN it is important to be involved in First Friday to be accessible to the immigrant community in Bryan. For many immigrants entering the United States there are many challenges, amidst these technology access is included. To be accessible for those without access to search engines or social media, it is important that BIIN continues to show up to this event in order to further provide services in favor of the community. 

First Friday began for BIIN at 5:00 P.M. where Viviana and Tania, our Americorps members,  were able to set up our table. On this First Friday our team was set up next to a live mariachi band. Due to this BIIN automatically had an in into their target community. The location of the mariachi created a space where Spanish speaking people would be within the BIIN table’s vicinity. Individuals would watch the band and then after each song would walk by BIIN’s presentation. The presentation included brochures of English and Citizenship classes as well as flashcards that help study for the Naturalization test (the test taken to become a legal U.S citizen). These flash cards became our game as we would ask people who would come to the table ten questions in which they had to answer six correctly just as on the civics portion of the test. Of which many were not able to answer. This included our English speaking population and the Spanish speaking population. If the individual was able to answer six questions correctly they ‘won’ a candy bar. In the process of playing this game there was the incredible opportunity to speak to the client about our services, volunteer opportunities, and mission.

Viviana and Tania speak to potential clients about English classes.

During First Friday on February 3rd we were able to speak to about twenty potential clients about the services we provide. Many of these questions were asked in Spanish about our English classes hosted on weeknights. Those that spoke English tended to be college students from Texas A&M University upon whom we were presented with the opportunity to speak about BIIN’s internship and volunteer opportunities. 

In this event BIIN learned the importance of accessibility to a community they are here to support. All of BIIN’s outreach cannot come from social media campaigns alone but by participating in events within the Bryan College Station community. BIIN will participate in First Friday every month. While the location of where BIIN is located each month within the event, please join us at First Friday on March 3, 2023 for more information on classes, internship and volunteer opportunities!

Thanks to our Spring 2023 Outreach and Communication Intern Grace Graham for attending First Friday and reporting on it.