This past Thursday, the 21st of January, the Centre for Community Partnerships celebrated their ten year anniversary! With over 100 friends of the CCP in attendance, it was an amazing night filled with passion, memories and hopes for the future.
With two amazing Mcs, Yusuf Yusuf and Reid Locklin, and amazing speakers the night was definitely a success. University of Toronto President Gertler spoke on behalf of the university and City Councilor Kristyn Wong-Tam gave remarks on behalf of the city. The night truly exemplified the beauty university-community partnerships can create.
Created at the event was an interactive art piece by local artist, Jim Bravo. Attendees were able to sign around the painting indicating what their hopes for the CCP for the next 10 years were. Now, filled with the perspectives of many, it will be featured in the CCP office for years to come.
As the night ended, the excitement of the past ten years was palpable. From past student staff, to current faculty teaching service learning courses, to community partners, the night was filled with the connections that the CCP hopes to foster. From this event, it was clear that the CCP does an exceptional job at creating and maintaining these partnerships and does so with meaning and love.
By Courtney Villeneuve*
When I was younger, being a teacher seemed like my dream career. Getting to help others and be creative all day – plus summers off – was definitely an appealing lifestyle. As I got older and entered high school, my career plans shifted, but I never lost sight of the respect I had for those who chose teaching as their profession. Through the Centre for Community Partnerships and the From 3 to 3 program, I have found a way to give back to my community and engage with early childhood education over the last two years.
I spend my Tuesday mornings at Queen Victoria Public School in Parkdale, playing and reading with the children in my kindergarten classroom. They are incredibly sweet, always telling me how much they love my shirt or hair or fingernail polish. I devote my time with them to reading a short picture book in groups of two or three, and discussing the main elements of the story to make sure they understand the concepts and plot. More often than not, my kindergarteners surprise me with their insight. They are incredibly fast learners, and it amazes me how quickly these students can adapt to being in a classroom setting, many of them for the first time, and improve their English if it is not their first language. I have had the pleasure of working with a few students for two years, as they moved from Junior Kindergarten to Senior Kindergarten, and the improvement in their reading, comprehension, and social skills is astounding.
Volunteering through the Centre for Community Partnerships, especially through the From 3 to 3 program, has helped me gain confidence and give back to my community. I have loved to read since a young age and I hope that my time at Queen Victoria has helped inspire at least a few students as well.
*4th year student with a double major in Political Science and Latin American Studies, and a minor in Spanish.
The CCP is so excited to announce a new grant program! If you are a U of T student please apply! Applications are due January 25th at 4 pm.
The maximum funding amount is $1,000 dollars, which can be spent on:
- Craft supplies
- Kitchen supplies or ingredients for programming
- Snacks or meals for participants
- Promotional materials and other printing costs
- Venue or equipment rentals
- Event decorations
- Transit fare
If you have a question about whether your project can be funded or not, please feel free to get in contact with the CCP.
Qualifying projects include:
- volunteer activities and projects that meet the goals of a community,
- opportunities for students to think, talk, or write about their community involvement,
- opportunities to engage students in a public purpose, social action or advocacy
Since one of the critical elements of Community-Engaged Learning is reciprocity, we highly encourage proposals be created WITH your community partner (an agency lead).
CLICK HERE for more information!
We are so excited about this initiative and look forward to working with you on your proposals!
My name is Elisa Bellicoso, an undergraduate student at U of T’s Saint George campus finishing up my final year of Romance Language Studies, with a major in French Language & Learning as well as double minors in Italian Culture/Communication and Spanish. I decided to take one Portuguese class this year, for students like myself, who have knowledge of other Romance Languages, as I was interested in learning a new language.
I’m a returning On Your Mark Volunteer Tutor – in fact, this is my second year with the program!! I first found out about the On Your Mark Tutoring Program through the CCP’s website in 2014, while looking for volunteer tutoring opportunities affiliated with U of T, that would give me firsthand experience to work towards my goal of becoming an elementary school French teacher. I choose to volunteer, as I know I am helping students overcome any academic difficulties or language barriers they may be facing, while acting as a mentor and role model for them.
Takeaways or insights for me from volunteering with the program include the following:
- mentorship facilitates learning as it helps to motivate, focus and inspire students to strive for success. It can also act as a support mechanism permitting a learner to take risks and fulfill dreams.
- the importance for teachers and tutors alike to encourage their students and give them constructive/positive feedback little by little.
- the need to adapt lesson materials to the student’s area(s) of need and preferred learning style(s).
In advance of joining this program, I thought it would be similar to others I’ve had, where I would be matched with a student who had difficulty or challenges in a subject area. Specifically, for this program, upon receiving further information on the student with whom I was to work from the program coordinators in the form of a teacher referral letter, I started to think of strategies I could use to help them, given their subject areas of need. My sessions thus far have most definitely been gratifying. Each week, I see my student progress and improve in her areas of need, which are Math and English. I am feeling pleased about this experience as I know that have been able to help my student improve weekly – the most rewarding times are when I see that concepts “click” with her.
I continue to volunteer because the benefits are many – not only for me, but also for the student I am tutoring. As a volunteer, I feel a sense of satisfaction that I can support a student strive for success and I love seeing the student I tutor feel a sense of accomplishment with my support and guidance.