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African American, Community, Community Service, Community Spotlght, International Exposure, Peace Corps

Community Spotlight: Byron L. Williams

Serving as a married couple, Byron and Denise Williams during their 2012 winter in Eastern Europe.  Williams said, “You can’t see it but there were icicles on my thin mustache.  That was a first in my life but it wouldn’t be the last.”

“Colder than a polar bear’s toenails” was a line from the famous Outkast song that immediately flew to the front of my mind when my wife and I learned we were chosen to be Education sector volunteers in Ukraine, Eastern Europe. We knew it was going to be quite an adjustment for our Las Vegas, Nevada bones, but we were up for the adventure. Though we weren’t initially interested in serving in Eastern Europe, it ended up being one of the best experiences of our marriage. For both of us, we had a strong desire to live and work abroad, and the Peace Corps was a great way to share our skills with a community in need while also being exposed to a vastly different culture than our own.  

Serving as a university instructor at a Ukrainian in western Ukraine allowed me to share my love of incorporating foreign policy, hip hop, and critical thinking skills in a classroom environment with 1st and 2nd-year students and gave me the benefit of working with new and veteran university instructors searching to expand their teaching repertoire. The instructors learned how to engage students in conversant ways, which in turn gave students and instructors a lot of confidence in themselves, the ability to practice English with a native speaker, and a lot of funny, matter-of-fact discussions about comparative culture, music tastes, relative upbringing, and national history respectively.

Ukraine was an extremely cold place, but once people warmed up to us, it was easy to see the beauty in the former soviet country and its culture.

Byron with his team playing in a Ukrainian 3v3 basketball tournament (L to R: Maksim, Yura, Fedya, Byron. Team Name: SemiPro)
Byron with one of his classes.  He was teaching receptive skills using a love song 
Lviv Town Square decorated during EuroCup Soccer Tournament 2012. This is where Byron lived during his two years in Ukraine.
Ukrainian army enlistees on their way to school on Byron’s morning walk to his job. National service is a two year compulsory commitment in Ukraine.

About Little Black Village

Little Black Village promotes higher education, personal development, and international exposure for African American youth. Little Black Village is a dedicated to discussing and exploring ways of keeping our black youth from dropping out of high school and encouraging them in seeking higher education and living up to their fullest potential. Little Black Village is also committed to making a difference in the black community by encouraging its members to share their voices through social media outlets, lead by example by taking an active role in mentoring a black youth, connecting families to educational resources and actively taking part of community services in and out of our communities.


One thought on “Community Spotlight: Byron L. Williams

  1. Thank you for sharing!


    Posted by DeAndré Uwakonye | February 21, 2021, 7:40 am

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February 2021
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