Algoma University and the Algoma District School Board are pleased to announce a partnership that will see University students mentor local elementary school students in age-appropriate science, reading, and math activities aimed at promoting healthier everyday living. The Sci-FY program begins in January 2015 and runs until March.
The program is the brainchild of Sault native Melissa Kargiannakis, who saw a similar program while studying at Western University in London, Ontario, where she is now completing a Master’s in Health Information Science. She began developing the Sci-FY program while a Fellow in Cohort One of Studio [Y] in the MaRS Discovery District in Toronto, and wanted to bring it home to Sault Ste. Marie. Kargiannakis worked with her former principal, now ADSB Director Lucia Reece, to make her vision a reality.
“I knew from an early age that I wanted to work on improving the healthcare and education systems,” says Kargiannakis. “Sci-FY has been uniquely created for Sault Ste. Marie students. It includes the most relevant science curriculum and presents it alongside literacy and numeracy activities in a fun and engaging manner. Elementary school students will have two hours each week for nine weeks to spend with a local university student”.
The program pairs a University student with a student at a local elementary school, and the two will work after school on numeracy and literacy skills, while learning about healthy lifestyles. Examples include sessions on the consequences of smoking, the importance of flossing, and the impact of bullying on the brain.
“We’re excited about the opportunities that this program offers our students,” says Kevin Hemsworth, Director of Marketing and Communications at Algoma University. “Aside from giving them the opportunity to give back, they will gain valuable experience from working with these students that could assist them as they move forward in their careers.”
ADSB Director of Education, Lucia Reece, noted: “It has been a pleasure to work with Melissa – a former ADSB student – on the development and implementation of this program, and we are delighted to be partnering with Algoma University. Having university students support elementary students is a powerful model as it not only provides positive mentors and role models, but also allows elementary students to interact with young adults who are continuing their learning and who are giving back to their community. It’s a great way to combine support for academics with the development of good character, citizenship and healthy habits.”
Sci-FY is based on the curriculum of the Learning it Together (LiT) program at Western University and in direct partnership with the S.E.E.D.S. Science for Life program out of The University of Toronto.
“This program is just the beginning, and this year is only a small step forward. I hope to see it roll out to multiple schools at both local school boards in the future, and involve students from both Algoma University and Sault College as we move forward,” said Kargiannakis. I want to thank both Algoma U and the ADSB for their support of this initiative, and for nurturing this program as we get it off the ground. I would also like to thank Cynthia Burmaster and Heather Douglas, the student leaders from Algoma University, for their leadership as we work up to the launch of this program.”
If you are a current Algoma University student looking to be involved, you can apply online at Algoma U until January 11th at 12:00 noon.