It happens on Saturdays. While many members of our community are still getting up, a committed group of HS Room to Read students heads out to a school across town to work with students at the Little Flower School. Their task? To support the learning of children in grades 3-5 at the school. Offering enrichment opportunities students from the Little Flower school arrive with their homework, to receive support from ASD students. The work is differentiated by the student receiving the support.
Research would suggest that such local, ongoing, partnerships are a great way to support education and broaden understanding and skills related to culture and literacy. The fact is that such experiences are often quite powerful for our students in as much that they allow those involved to generate a deeper critical consciousness about the world around us.
Though this type of direct community engagement is, according to research, a very powerful tool to creating lasting relationships and deeper learning - both for the individuals and the schools involved - it is not easily found in Dubai. At ASD we recognize the benefit of such ongoing community relationships and we hope that the prototype offered by Room to Read will be one we can replicate across student organizations.
Moving forward, several ASD student organizations - SEENAH, SHINE, GIN, Cure and Acacia in particular - are aiming at direct involvement with the issues that matter to their respective organization through direct partnerships with local community members (both within the school and outside of it).