A Social Connection

Valda Brewer, student, and her two children on a rocky road with trees in the background

Valda Brewer, student, and her two children on a rocky road with trees in the background

 

Yuba College student Valda Brewer enrolled in Professor Kiara Koenig’s English class to extend her knowledge of the language and to practice it by writing essays. The Lithuanian native learned far more than just writing and reading in her second language.

“That class sets you up for anything you’re studying for,” Brewer said.

Brewer, who earned her bachelor’s degree in Lithuania, came to the United States in 2013. Taking advantage of the Yuba College Promise Program, she’s completing pre-requisites to eventually apply to graduate school and earn a master’s degree.

Last fall, Brewer and her peers in Koenig’s class had a final assignment to pick a topic they cared about, do research in addition to their personal experiences, and present it in such a way to encourage people to act. Students could choose any medium to help them reach their target audience.

“Here’s this issue that is happening, and the goal was to get people to take action in some way around that issue,” Koenig said.

With two children under the age of three, Brewer had the challenge of entertaining her children during the COVID-19 pandemic with playgrounds and indoor activities closed. She chose for her topic to create ideas of play activities for parents to engage with their children at home instead of sitting them in front of a TV.

Brewer chose social media as her medium to connect with other parents. Using the Yuba database for a research starting point, she learned how to set up an influencer account on Instagram and what challenges parents are faced with. She launched the Instagram page, Toddler Toys and Games.

“I had other students who built websites, did short videos, and many were really interesting and very well done,” Koenig said. “But I think she really connected with the target audience.”

When Brewer presented her project to the class her Instagram account already had a couple hundred followers 10 days after it went live. She noticed a lot of her followers are on the East Coast, and at the time of the presentation, a big snow storm was headed to New York. Brewer chose her next Instagram posts to be of things to help parents entertain their kids with snow.

“Her awareness of her audience and how she could help them; she really knocked that out of the park,” Koenig said.

When Brewer isn’t in class or with her family, she’s also working. She was intentional about creating activities that don’t require a lot of set up or things to purchase.

“I don’t have time to go to the store and get all of those supplies. We’re just going to do what I have at home,” she said.

While Brewer is no longer posting daily, she keeps the page active and continues to grow a community around her account with more than 500 followers. She’s working on spring content she will post soon.

“It’s fun to involve kids and my kids love to do all the activities I come up with and take the videos,” Brewer said.

And the final project grade?

An A, of course.

For more information about Yuba College, visit https://yc.yccd.edu/.