IT TAKES A VILLAGE
Program proves community-centred approach to education is best For newcomers in Winnipeg, adapting to life here can be difficult. A feeling of isolation is common and this can impair families – students are at increased risk of dropping out of school, parents aren’t engaged, and communities suffer. That’s where Peaceful Village comes in. “It’s peaceful to be together,”
says Peaceful Village literacy leader Batista Kwajok. “It’s all about village. It’s all about sharing, being together, and it takes a whole village together to take responsibility.” Through its after-school program,
Peaceful Village supports more than 300 students at three locations – Gordon Bell High School, Hugh John MacDonald High School, and a downtown community site. Peaceful Village is run by Manitoba School Improvement Program, a non-profit that promotes educational equity and social justice. A Nourishing Potential grant from The Winnipeg Foundation helps support the program’s nutrition component. Each Peaceful Village location
caters to individual community requirements, but there are some commonalities: every program includes language and literacy support, homework help, and recreational opportunities. The program helps build friendships and leadership skills. A nutritious meal is also always
on the menu. Staying at Peaceful Village tacks another three hours on the end of an already long school day, so a meal is extremely important. The Nourishing Potential grant helps ensure meals are healthy and fulfill dietary requirements.
“For a lot of the kids it’s their
only meal of the day,” says program director Alysha Sloane. Village Kitchen is a
complementary initiative developed to strengthen community. Once a month families are invited to come down to learn about what their kids are doing and meet with other parents. “The idea was at first to give
parents a chance to ask questions about the program,” Slone says. It quickly became apparent it was doing more. Before Village Kitchen,
parents of newcomer students very rarely attended school events. Now that’s all changing. “I know from my own experience most of them get stuck in their homes and don’t want to go anywhere, they feel that no one will understand them,” Kwajok says. “But by inviting parents out, they start learning a few things.”
For more information about Peaceful Village, go to www. msip.ca/the-peaceful-village/
WHAT IS NOURISHING POTENTIAL?
It’s a program that helps kids access healthy food, cooking skills and nutrition education by making grants to non-profits across the city. Since Nourishing Potential’s launch in 2011, 71 grants totalling $471,520 have been made to programs like Peaceful Village.
Money for grants comes from the Nourishing Potential (endowment) Fund, which works by pooling and investing all the gifts, and only spending the interest earned for grants – meaning the fund keeps on making grants forever. The Nourishing Potential Fund is targeted to grow to $5 million, which means there will be approximately $250,000 to grant to programs each and every year. To date, hundreds of donors from all walks of life have supported Nourishing Potential with gifts of all sizes.
STORIES OF FOOD THE WINNIPEG FOUNDATION NOURISHING POTENTIAL
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