A Word from Ruby
INTERVIEW WITH RUBY ABIGAIL SHEETS
Hometown: Brooklyn, New York
Current Location: São Paulo, Brazil
What is your Relationship to Visions?
I have led trips off and on since 2006. I have worked in the Dominican Republic multiple times and this year I was in Ecuador. I have also tabled for VISIONS at summer fairs.
What did the VISIONS experience teach you about life outside yourself?
Every trip is full of challenges—particularly in personal relationships—that can appear insurmountable in the moment, but somehow we always work through them, and somehow, we are always stronger for it. Sometimes I hesitate to do another trip because of the massive mirror it forces you to stand in front of everyday. Sometimes it’s easier to just not look! But easier is rarely better.
Where are you now?
After being a bilingual English/Spanish teacher for eight years in Brooklyn, I am now in my second year as a teacher in a bilingual English/Portuguese school in São Paulo.
What does the word community mean to you?
Community is when you develop connections between a group of people so that everyone is “us,” and you’d never consider anyone in that group as “them.”
What was most memorable about your VISIONS experience?
I find myself returning to VISIONS regularly because I have never found another experience that results in such close and long lasting bonds with people of such diverse age groups and backgrounds.
What is something that makes you hopeful for the future?
Young people being open to traveling and getting to know the world before they lock in their decisions about it.
What do you feel is one of your greatest strengths that you have to offer the world?
I easily connect with people and enjoy getting to know people on a deeper level—sans Facebook.
What would you like to be remembered for?
Big belly laughs, especially in response to Alberto’s jokes.
What do you hope to be doing 10 years from now?
I hope to be collaborating with new teachers to create environments that enable kids in immigrant communities to have the skills and confidence to tackle the academic and social challenges they’ll face as they chase after their future selves. And somehow do this in a way that those teachers will stick with it and feel respected as the professionals that they are.
What would you like to say to other members of the VISIONS community?
I have lots of your extra luggage at my house!
Anything else to add?
In eighth grade, I was struggling through my advanced math class. I was the back of the front pack. My teacher wrote “Say 65” on one test because I rocked the proofs but bombed the rest, so it broke his heart to fail me. My parents talked to him about me changing to the other class and he said, “No, hard is good.” That’s what I would add about VISIONS. It pushes you out of comfort zones you didn’t even know you had, but hard is good.
Do you have a VISIONS Story?
Fill out an interview for our Spotlight Series or submit a story of your own format or creative expression.