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 sciences 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 and mentors can be critical in a student wanting to pursue higher education or giving back to the community themselves.”
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 my students 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.”
The program is a positive opportunity, not only for Saint John students, but for the city itself. By building relationships with adults who have gone through similar experiences, the students can find emotional support and build self-confidence.
“These kids may not have the means or the social support to pursue further educational opportunities, but that’s what the Promise Partnership offers. We know these kids can do it,” said Kyle. “I didn’t have that kind of mentorship growing up so I can relate to how some of these students feel.”
The Promise Partnership provides value to the community while also giving UNB Saint John students a chance at hands-on learning. 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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