Archived News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

June 6, 2011


Advanced Education and Literacy Minister Erin Selby joined students, parents and community members at the Peaceful Village classroom in Gordon Bell High School today to see first-hand one of the projects supported by the $4-million Bright Futures Fund.

“The Peaceful Village supports students and helps them graduate from high school with the skills they need to better their lives through post-secondary education and training,” Selby said.  “I look forward to seeing how this fund continues to change the lives of young people who might otherwise not think they have post-secondary education within their reach.” 

The Peaceful Village program, started in 2008, is intended to reduce the number of immigrant and refugee students who leave school between junior high and high school by providing culturally relevant and targeted programming.  The program is based at Gordon Bell High School (grades 9 to 12) and Hugh John MacDonald School (grades 7 to 9) and includes tutoring, mentoring, elders and family/caregiver involvement, cultural mentorship in the arts, passion projects and other components designed to help students succeed.  The program encourages the families and caregivers of students to become involved in community activities connected to the program.

In 2010-11, Bright Futures supported 30 participants at Hugh John MacDonald and 50 participants at Gordon Bell High School.

“The Peaceful Village is a powerful example of what can happen when partners work together for the benefit of youth and their families,” said Suzanne Hrynyk, chair, Winnipeg School Board.  “We are very pleased to see how the Peaceful Village helps newcomer students and their families to achieve success in their new country.”

“Part of the success of the Peaceful Village partnership comes from helping newcomer families communicate with program staff, build relationships within the school community, take an active role in their children’s education and receive extra support for their own learning goals as new Canadians,” Selby said.   “This is a made-in-Manitoba solution that helps students and their families become leaders in their communities, work through social and economic challenges, and empower them to succeed in college or university.”

“The Peaceful Village is a program that benefits greatly from the wisdom shared by families who come to Manitoba from all over the world,” said Alysha Slone, program co-ordinator.  “Through the families’ involvement, the program helps to create space for new and culturally responsive educational strategies to enrich the schooling experiences of newcomer youth.

We are incredibly grateful for the support we receive from Manitoba Advanced Education and Literacy and we see this kind of support as evidence of the government’s commitment to education that is deeply connected to community development.”

Programs and services have expanded over the past three years to include village kitchens, gardening co-operatives, English-as-an-additional-language classes for families on Saturdays, theatre and music programs, and family-entry meetings that have created and maintained communication links with parents and guardians in the program.  The Peaceful Village has also established and expanded a language bank that today includes Arabic, Farsi, Nepalese, Swahili, Mandarin and Dinka.

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