ConneX empowers the 21st century learner to share perspectives, cultures and lived experiences to construct their own points of view and to discover their potential impact as global citizens and leaders. This program culminates with a meaningful and effective Community Impact Project that challenges student presuppositions and deepens their understanding of local, national and international issues.
Aligned with the Alberta Social Studies 10 curriculum, ConneX consists of 10 weekly, in-class inquiry based workshops that enhance citizenship through deliberate and meaningful activities. Students build project management and leadership skills through the development and execution of a Community Impact Project.
How ConneX inspired a team of kids to go out and grant some wishes ...
Story Kerri Robins;
photo courtesy, Jordan Zavisha
“ConneX opened my eyes to what I can do to make the world a better place.” That’s 15-yr-old Jordan Zavisha talking about her experience in the ConneX program, offered at her high school, Bishop Carroll. “I chose ConneX as one of my options because I wanted to learn about how I can contribute to my community, and learn more about what globalization really is,” says Zavisha.
Zavisha and six of her classmates participated in the 10-week course that encourages students to discover their potential impact as community and global citizens and leaders. The program helps youth build their leadership skills through hands-on activities and open discussions.
“I really liked the conversations and debates we had about a lot of different issues. We talked about what globalization is, and how it can be good or bad,” explains Zavisha.
Continuing, she says that discussions around philanthropy helped push everyone out of their comfort zone. “It made us think about what we can do in our community to make a difference in people’s lives.”
Jordan Zavisha (2nd from left) and her teammates tie-dyed socks to raise money for the Make a Wish Foundation as part of a community impact project through ConneX program. L-r Maryn Massie, Jordan Zavisha, Shelby Piche, Sage Pelland, Emily Gardiyash, Jocelyn Weller and Eric Hewlett
That thinking led Zavisha and her team down the path of granting wishes. “We had a Community Impact Project due at the end of the course, and we chose to work with the Make a Wish Foundation.”
Zavisha and her team got down to business and decided that socks could make some wishes for critically ill children come true. Yup, socks!
“We tie dyed socks and sold them at school, and to our families and friends. “Our first batch didn’t work because after washing them, all the dye came out,” laughs the teen. But the socks didn’t get the better of them, and their second batch came out in flying colours.
ConneX empowers students to develop personal perspectives, challenging them to examine their own assumptions. “The course, and the project, really made me think about local and global issues, for instance, how our actions can affect our community,” says Zavisha.
Jacqueline Peace, one of Empowering Minds’ educators for the program, says that, “Developing and implementing these types of projects fosters a sense of self-reflection in our youth. It’s the meaningful discussions that expand their knowledge,” says Peace.
“I like watching them grow, and demonstrate what they’ve learned through the process of research, project management and project implementation. But most importantly, they start making connections between various aspects of their communities, globalization, and how we’re all involved.”
Zavisha and her team raised $200 for the Make a Wish Foundation, which ultimately led to a wish of her own coming true. “We heard stories about sick kids that made us cry, so helping grant a few wishes is really special to me,” Zavisha says happily.
“The Make a Wish Foundation says that, ‘Wishes give far more than medicine ever will’, and we really believe that. So, we’re holding our 2nd annual fundraiser this spring, and our goal is to raise $500 this year,” explai
Executive Director of Empowering Minds, Vincenzo Aliberti is thrilled to offer high schools this enlightening program. “Our goal is to empower youth, and we make sure the program fits with Alberta Education’s mandate.”
Today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders, and we want to be part of helping our young people develop the skills they need to go out and be difference-makers in their communities,” says Aliberti.
As for Zavisha, she’s been granting wishes for her family and community these days. “After taking this course I realized how important it is to think about others. I’ve been helping out more at home, volunteering at church, and really trying to lead by example. It feels good.”
I’d recommend ConneX to everyone because the open conversations and hands-on activities got us involved, and thinking about so many things,” she says.
ConneX in the Classroom
Through purposeful and thought-provoking activities, grade 10 students will explore various aspects of globalization and how they interconnect with it.
The ConneX program includes:
- Empathetic role play activities
- Videos that challenge thinking and expand realms of knowledge
- Meaningful discussion and debate activities related to issues that matter to youth today
- Self-reflection activities that focus on their learning and experiences
- Research, project management and innovation processes
- Most importantly, demonstrate their knowledge, concern and skills in a Community Impact Project