Impact of community partnerships

Impact of community partnerships

This quarter, 200 students and teachers participated in a Community Partnership in the High School.  

Naphtali, who is 6 years old, and a regular at the Winch (a charity with different branches throughout London that focus on improving the community) feels an impact on her life when the ASL students come and volunteer. “They are really funny, and they make a big difference,” Naphtali said.

At another Community Partnership, the St. Johns Wood Adventure playground, ASL students play with, and serve as role models to, local children.

Six-year-old Lily Nesste goes to the Adventure Playground every day after school and believes ASL students make the playground a happier and more inclusive space. “No one is ever left out and everyone feels welcomed back,” she said.

Milly Grange, who is 11 years old, spends every afternoon at the Adventure Playground. “Before ASL volunteers come, it’s boring. When they arrive, that’s when we all start to have fun. You all make me want to come here after school, and it’s sad when you leave”.

Students at ASL also benefit from Community Partnerships. Aerin Agyei (‘19) explains how the partnerships change the relationship between American and British students. “For some kids and adults these programs provide a first time introduction to Americans. It provides a great chance to break down some common stereotypes,” Agyei said.

Apart from human interaction and disproving stereotypes, the partnerships help ASL students understand the city they live in.

Ana Salitan (‘16) said the three partnerships she has been involved with gave her  “a perspective on my own neighborhood, the differences in income and wealth within St. John’s Wood, and an insight into other people’s lives. It made me much more empathetic towards different situations.”

Director of Student Learning Brandon Block has been involved in community partnerships for most of his student and teaching life. “I really like the enthusiasm that I see when our students participate in programs, helping young people do good in the world and become less [consumed] by their own lives,” he said.

Comfort levels grow quickly and bonds between ASL students and other kids are established. “There is a clear sense of respect from both sides,” Block said.

It is clear that these acts of community service affect all teachers, students, and people at the partnerships, and makes everyone involved feel more positive.

“ASL students may not initially realize the impact they have on someone else’s life until they get involved.  Another benefit is the increased level of confidence students gain by working in new and possibly unknown areas around London, with people who may not naturally enter their lives,” Block said.