Category: Feb 2020 Newsletter

What does Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion look like in practice?

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are powerful tools to use to think through how we each move through the world. How do we treat each other with compassion and respect rather than prejudice? How do we respect, value, and even welcome difference? How do we embrace each individual’s right to define their own story, while also acknowledging the social realities that shape our world?

These are all important questions to engage both in our personal and professional lives. Professionally, DEI is becoming a framework through which forward-thinking institutions around the world are using to see the workplace in a new light. DEI has offered a very useful set of guiding principles to Global Village Project as we think critically about all our processes, practices, and perspectives in order to evaluate how we might better ensure that DEI is at the heart of everything we do.

We are happy to announce that as of this semester, the DEI journey at GVP has been catalyzed by the formation of a designated team called the “DEI Circle”, which has been meeting regularly to discuss goals and projects related to DEI at GVP. We are developing plans for addressing how each of our stakeholder groups at GVP can take part in increasing our awareness, thinking critically, and bettering ourselves in order to stand together in our commitment to DEI.

One theme to emerge through the discussions the DEI Circle has had so far is that practicing a commitment to DEI often looks like meeting people where they are. Often, this manifests in how we communicate with each other, especially when a mistake has been made or when a problematic interaction takes place. Working to uphold DEI together means that we respond to these moments with generosity and compassion, attempting to understand where someone is coming from, while also holding them accountable in order to reduce harm in the future. Soon, we hope to codify these principles in order to share with everyone what practicing DEI looks like at GVP, and in the meantime, we encourage members of our community to consider what communicating with compassion looks like in their own lives!

In the next few months, the DEI Circle is looking forward to having many more productive discussions and developing specific projects to ensure the integration of DEI into all aspects of our work. As we travel this path, we welcome perspectives from our collective community; any and all insights will be gratefully received by DEI Specialist, Jai Simpson-Joseph, Esq. at jsimpson@globalvillageproject.org.

GVP receives award from Georgia State University

This past December, Global Village Project was selected alongside Clayton County Public Schools to receive the 2019 Partnership Award from GSU’s College of Education and Human Development (CEHD). Each year, the award recognizes community organizations who have valuable partnerships with the college and are working to serve the public good by addressing educational and community challenges.

We are honored to receive this award after many years of partnering with GSU, thanks largely to the support of CEHD Associate Dean Dr. Gwen Benson. Since beginning this partnership, Dr. Benson has also joined the GVP Advisory Board. Working with GSU has not only enabled Global Village Project to benefit from the resources of a research university, but also allowed GSU students and faculty to put their skills and passion to use developing innovative programs to serve refugee students.

One exciting opportunity that wouldn’t have been possible without this partnership is GVP’s participation in the Atlanta Maker Faire in 2017 and 2018. GVP Science Teacher Marjorie Cooper, working with CEHD Assistant Professor Dr. Rachel Fiore, led students through the creation of Maker Faire projects that they later presented to the public. GVP students got to take advantage of a unique, 21st century approach to learning about science, engineering, and technology, while GSU’s preservice teachers got direct experience developing a program that suited the needs and strengths of a nondominant, culturally diverse student group. Ms. Cooper and Dr. Fiore later published an academic paper about the collaboration.

More recently, GVP was approved this school year as a placement site for social work interns from GSU. A GSU social work intern has been placed with us this year to support the Social and Emotional Learning program at GVP, and we are lucky to have her and the many other GSU student interns who make GVP’s impact possible.

The partnership between GVP and GSU has allowed both schools to pursue what is deeply important to our missions: serving our diverse communities through education that is inclusive and equitable. “As a college of education,” said Dr. Gwen Benson, “It’s our mission to prepare effective teachers for high-needs schools and support students from diverse backgrounds. Clayton County Public Schools and Global Village Project have been great partners in that work.”

Learn more about GVP's partnership with GSU below:

GVP’s new “Family Saturdays” deepen engagement with Clarkston community

On January 25th, Global Village Project piloted our first-ever “Family Saturday” to bring together members of the community served by GVP. The event took place at Clarkston Library and was open to all student and alumnae families, as well as mentees, mentors, and volunteers.

The development of a caring and close-knit community has always been a hugely important part of GVP’s success as a school. While the refugee young women in our student body come from 15 different countries and collectively speak 16 different languages, our students and staff work hard to build a community that bridges difference and welcomes everyone. GVP has long had the goal of extending this community-building to the families of our current and former students, most of whom live in Clarkston.

GVP’s “Family Saturdays” program is an answer to this call. The first of what will be a monthly recurring event, our Family Saturday on January 25th drew a lot of excitement as students and families gathered and saw so many new faces. The event brought together a total of over 30 people. In addition to current students, alumnae, parents, and siblings, members of GVP staff, volunteers, a GVP Board member, and even a school founder also joined for the afternoon. As Head of School Dr. Amy Pelissero commented, “I don’t think we could have asked for a more beautifully representational group gathered together for this first event. We had stakeholders from every single GVP group represented there.”

The afternoon featured casual conversation, a raffle drawing for GVP gear, and most importantly, a community circle in which everyone shared hopes and goals for the Family Saturday program. When asked what they hoped to learn from and teach other, many people voiced the desire to learn how to cook each others’ cuisines, speak each others’ native languages, and gather to read and tell stories, among other things. These are all exciting possibilities to consider as we continue to develop Family Saturdays and explore the structure and processes needed to make these activities possible.

Overall, our hope is that the Family Saturdays program will create the space needed to strengthen relationships in the refugee community built with and through GVP. We hope that the same culture of love and welcoming that develops each year between our students can also be fostered among this community of families and friends, and judging from the individuals who voiced that they were “happy to be here today” or “happy to make a new friend today”, our Family Saturdays are off to a great start.

Tribute to Education 2020 to feature Nasteho Ibrahim, Posse Scholar

UPDATE: Due to the COVID-19 crisis, we have made the difficult but necessary decision to not hold Tribute to Education this spring. For more information, please visit our Tribute Cancellation FAQs. 

On Sunday, April 19th, Global Village Project’s annual gala Tribute to Education will be held at The Temple in midtown Atlanta. Now in its eighth year, Tribute to Education is an event as entertaining as it is impactful: it’s a chance to not only provide vital support to GVP, but also enjoy a lively, fun-filled evening with dinner and cocktails, a live auction and paddle raise, a performance by the GVP chorus, and more!

We are honored to announce that our keynote speaker this year is Nasteho Ibrahim, GVP alumna and recently selected recipient of the prestigious Posse Scholarship. Nasteho graduated from Global Village Project in May 2016. Now a senior in high school, she was selected as a Posse Scholar this past December and will attend George Washington University with a full tuition scholarship in the fall. The Posse Foundation is committed to supporting a diverse cohort of leaders for tomorrow and selects Scholars like Nasteho based on their extraordinary leadership potential.

At Tribute to Education, Nasteho will share her experiences as a refugee student living in Atlanta as well as her hopes for a better world. Her keynote promises to be the highlight of an evening that also has so much more in store: live music by GVP students, speciality cocktails, a catered dinner, and the opportunity to bid on an exciting array of prizes - auction items in past years have included private French cooking classes and dinner parties featuring different cuisines. We are excited to announce that dinner will be catered this year by Zest Atlanta, a new partner to Global Village Project!

Last year, through the generosity of our global village family, we raised $240,000 at Tribute to Education to support the educational journeys of the remarkable young women at GVP. We hope you will join us at Tribute to Education 2020 for this incredible event and the opportunity to contribute to the work and impact of Global Village Project. It’s an evening you won’t want to miss!

To purchase tickets for Tribute to Education, visit bit.ly/GVPTribute2020.

Danielle Ereddia brings growing STEAM opportunities to GVP!

Since she joined the GVP Team in July 2019, STEAM Coordinator Danielle Ereddia has been building out new opportunities for GVP students to learn, explore, and engage in projects related to STEAM, one of the core components of GVP’s innovative educational model.

STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math - a 21st century adaptation of educational models that previously focused on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). The STEAM Coordinator position was newly created at GVP in order to support the development of a STEAM curriculum that would offer an integrated learning experience to students.

Danielle Ereddia was just the passionate and experienced STEAM educator GVP was looking for to take on this role. A high school biology teacher before coming to GVP, Danielle has a degree in Biology Education from Kennesaw State University and coordinated many STEAM activities at her previous school. To Danielle, “STEAM education is all about creativity and critical thinking. I love encouraging students to use their passions to create and innovate!”

One of her favorite projects so far has been coordinating Media Club, a new club at GVP for students who are interested in learning photography and videography skills. With Danielle’s help, a small group of interested students are learning how to use professional equipment to take photos and videos. They have been using these new skills to document field trips, Authors’ Teas, and other special events!

As GVP’s educational model continues to develop to best serve the needs and strengths of our students, we are lucky to have Danielle on team. She is truly an educator at heart, with a strong passion for teaching and deep love for the students at GVP. Regarding her favorite GVP moment so far, the semi-annual student talent show “GVP’s Got Talent”, she writes, “It was such a beautiful day of students sharing their voices and supporting each other wholeheartedly.” We are so grateful for the heart and energy that Danielle brings to GVP and can’t wait for the many more beautiful moments to come!

GVP is grateful to Georgia Council for the Arts for their generous support of our STEAM programming.