A special event is coming up at George Street Middle School in Fredericton on June 12 to help launch Global Minds, a new program which brings students to the Multicultural Association of Fredericton (MCAF) to share in activities and do tutoring for newcomers to New Brunswick.
Twelve Grade 8 students have taken part in training sessions to help them connect with the global community in the city. In April, these students began volunteering to help teach English at the MCAF. Along the way, they are making new friends, learning about different cultures and becoming globally minded young leaders.
"We are incredibly grateful for this opportunity to partner with the MCAF and give back to the community," said George Street Middle School teacher Amanda Collicott. "The enthusiasm of both the tutors and learners as they work together, and the connections that are being made, are inspiring. Global Minds was founded on empowering youth through leadership opportunities just like this!"
Vice-Principal Michelle Keefe said the program has been so successful it will go school wide in the next school year.
On June 12, the school will hold an assembly and workshop with 17-year-old Peyton Klein of Pennsylvania, who founded the Global Minds organization worldwide. George Street Middle School is the first Canadian chapter and hopes to help other schools set up chapters in the district. Representatives from other middle and high schools have been invited to attend the launch and take part in the information sessions with Klein.
Global Minds is a "for youth-by-youth" organization which offers opportunities for students of all ages, social groups and nationalities to come together and build friendships, while gaining important social skills and learning about issues students face every day. The program encourages tutoring, conversational English practice, community engagement, leadership, friendship, inclusivity and also celebrates diversity.
The George Street Middle School students currently volunteering at the MCAF hail from Nigeria, Egypt, Jordan, Iran, India, Bhutan, Syria, Vietnam, Philippines and Canada.
"One of our tutors for Global Minds is part of a Syrian family, the first to come to Fredericton in December 2015," Amanda Collicott explained. "He remembers where he sat in the room at MCAF when he first arrived, the same room where we meet."
Shawna Allen-VanderToorn, subject coordinator for English as a Second Language for ASD-W, said she sees great value in having a Global Minds chapter in district schools.
"It is a student-led initiative which I think is powerful," Allen-VanderToorn said. "The intention of the program is to bring together newcomer youth and native speakers of English to develop intercultural connections and understandings. I look forward to learning where George Street is on this journey."
Nayyaf Alotaibi from the Multicultural Association of Fredericton said this year's program with wrap up in June and was designed to help newcomer students who have difficulties with reading, writing and speaking English. The peer mentors meet with the students who attend the after school program at MCAF for an hour once a week for eight weeks.
Shown in the photos below are students from George Street Middle School volunteering at the MCAF as part of Global Minds. For more information on the program, visit www.globalminds.world