The Community and Justice studies major is no stranger to the fight for justice. As a Bonner Center Community Scholar, she has spent the past two years mentoring and tutoring students at Glen Haven Community Center, which provides resources and support for recently arrived immigrants and refugees. In this role, Haydyn helps an energetic group of students who are navigating a lot of change and often drowning in homework.
“I was able to witness the way children open up when they have someone who believes in them, just the way I have with my professors,” Haydyn says. “My time at Glen Haven has been one of the most impactful parts of my Guilford experience, and being part of the Bonner program has, as cliche as it is, changed my life.”
Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, Haydyn would escape the sometimes overwhelming college life to join the world of these children. She describes them as brave, brilliant, resilient, and compassionate, giving her so much hope for the future.
“Being a part of these children’s lives is one of the best things that ever happened to me. They bring me so much joy, and getting to watch them grow and flourish is the greatest gift,” Haydyn says.
It was this time at Glen Haven that inspired Haydyn to apply to the FCNL Advocacy Corps. She says the organization’s groundbreaking work in the fight for justice is another way for her to empower the Glen Haven children to speak their stories and advocate for their communities. “I want them to know that the halls of congress belong to them, and they are not too young to be powerful activists to help uplift their communities,” she says.
Haydyn’s service requires her to train 30 people to lobby for ethical immigration reform over the course of 10 months. She will work with the families of the children she’s mentored for the past two years, as well as other refugee communities across Greensboro. Haydyn hopes to provide support and knowledge to help people navigate the difficult and complicated bureaucracy of legislation. She wants their voices to be heard so that they might participate in legislative reform and activism in the future.
At Guilford, Haydyn is a member of the Honors Program, and a Principled Problem Solving Scholar, and a Multicultural Leadership Scholar. She also received the Dick Dyer First Year of Excellence award her first year for starting the Women’s Non-Binary Student Association, a club aimed to empower and build community.
“Being part of these programs has been incredibly engaging and helped me grow as a person and an organizer,” Haydyn says. “The relationships I have with the teachers here are absolutely irreplaceable. Having so many mentors is what makes a small liberal arts education so special.”
She is forever grateful for the relationships she’s made with faculty, staff, and her peers. She specifically points to Visiting Assistant Professor of Justice and Policy Studies Chrstian Matheis and Principled Problem Solving Engaged Teaching Specialist and Program Coordinator Sonalini Sapra.
“The professors and peers at Guilford have helped me grow in ways I never thought possible. I have learned how to manage my time, trust my intuition, admit when I am wrong, articulate my thoughts and beliefs, become a strong writer, develop a robust understanding of oppressive systems, and work successfully with others,” Haydyn says.