UNB students are used to experiential learning in their courses, but at UNB Saint John the opportunity for hands-on learning is also woven into extracurricular activities.
The Promise Partnership is an initiative at UNB Saint John that provides educational support and opportunities for youth in two of Saint John’s priority neighbourhoods. UNB Saint John students can volunteer for the summer reading program, the high school tutoring program or the student mentoring program.
Kyle Buckley, a fourth-year science student at UNB Saint John, signed up to be a mentor and a tutor in his second year of university. He knew he wanted to make a difference and The Promise Partnership was the perfect opportunity.
“This program has such an impact on the community,” he said. “Tutors are effective academic role models for high school students, and mentors are helping students recognize that they are capable of learning by instilling the love of literacy and numeracy."
Through the Promise Partnership, Kyle has seen dozens of students, from elementary to high school, transform their math and literacy skills and become more confident.
“In the tutoring program, high school students come to the university twice a week for extra support. One of the high students that I work with had grades in the low sixties and didn’t want to continue his education after high school. A year later, he has grades in the low nineties and wants to become a lawyer. I mentor a student in the second grade we spend a lot of time on improving her literacy fluency and comprehension”.
The program is a positive opportunity, not only for the youth serviced by the Promise Partnership, but also for UNB Saint John students. By building relationships with UNB students the high school students receive educational support, and build self-confidence, and the students at Hazen White – St. Francis are getting additional one-on-on academic support that they may not be receiving elsewhere. This may provide the extra reinforcement needed to meet, and perhaps exceed, expected curricular outcomes. For UNB Saint John students, the program creates opportunities experiential learning, and an opportunity to gain leadership skills.
“These kids may not have the academic or social support to pursue further educational opportunities – this is what the promise partnership provides. We know these kids can do it,” said Kyle. I grew up in a low-income home and would have benefited from a program like The Promise Partnership”.
The Promise Partnership provides value to the community and UNB Saint John students. In Kyle’s case, it even changed his career trajectory.
“When I started at UNB Saint John, I was leaning more towards a career in psychology and science. Now, because of the Promise Partnership, I’m applying to become a social worker so I can continue helping kids.”
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