This 3 Questions Series offers the chance to learn more about board members, grantees, and longtime supporters of Rhode Island Humanities. In the coming months, we will continue to share these conversations as a window into the people who make up our unique network.
Jaffa Davies, MS (she/her/hers)
Psychoeducational Specialist, Delta Consultants
Lives in Barrington
As you join Rhode Island Humanities’ board, what do you find most interesting or exciting about the Council’s work? Or what are you hoping to learn more about through your board service?
In this time where there is so much division in our country and communities, the humanities provide opportunities to create connecting points. I find Rhode Island Humanities’ energies and support for diverse programming quite exciting. The grants offer individuals as well as groups the chance to develop their crafts and share their cultures. I am interested in learning more about I can become a part of bringing these opportunities to students and communities.
How do you interact with Rhode Island’s humanities and cultural sector personally and/or professionally? Can you share a favorite program, exhibit, project, performance, screening, or other humanities activity you’ve participated in recently and what you took away from that experience?
As an educator, I am very aware that we need to develop the whole child. It is true that teaching literacy and math skills are crucial, but if that is our only focus, we may miss the hidden talents that students have. We lose the opportunity to strengthen those talents and for students to define themselves as being more than their academic grades. Increasingly, studies show the positive effects of the humanities in other areas, such as mathematics and science. A meaningful program for me was actually one sponsored by the Council – bringing Angie Thomas to Rhode Island to talk about her book, “The Hate U Give.” I saw my students – some of whom evidenced no interest in classroom readings, come alive. We spent several classes discussing and writing about what it meant to them.
What is it about living in Rhode Island that you find compelling?
Although I grew up in Rhode Island and spent most of my adult life here, I never stopped being curious about what more it has to offer. We benefit from being the home of so many fine educational institutions and their graduates remaining to develop lives and careers. We have the finest restaurants, murals and art everywhere, theater, an amazing medical and scientific community, a beautiful shoreline – I could go on and on. I am made especially appreciative of Rhode Island when viewing it from the perspective of visitors who keep telling me how lucky I am to live here.
Learn more about Jaffa and other board members by reading their biographies here.