October 25, 2013
Some students headed out into the woods today to make some new friends. The Charlottesville High school students were at Triple C Camp for a lesson on building trust.
The trip was part of a peer tutoring program that has been going on for four years at CHS. The program matches new students from all over the world to a mentor the same age.
The group got out of the classroom and into the woods to do trust building workshops and activities. The goal is that the program will help students who are in unfamiliar surroundings have a friend and an ally.
Tina Vasquez is an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher that works with the students. Vasquez says the program helps with creating a sense of community.
“They sign up and are matched up with a partner. They meet once a week at lunch throughout the whole school year. They really build a relationship over the year. So the reason we are here at the ropes course is to really give those partnerships a strong foundation and a good start."
Catherine Johnson is a 9th grade Charlottesville High School student, “It's hard when it's not your first language. Just to go to a new school, let alone if you are from another country and not used to that country's customs."
Atiqullah Mohammad Nasim moved here from Afghanistan two years ago. He says while at first he was overwhelmed, his peer mentor Catherine provided a friend to help him at the school. “'It's easy to talk with her instead of a teacher. Teachers are so busy with other students. If I had any problems, not just homework, I can share with her."
The mentors help the students with homework and learning the ropes, but they really do more than that. They give them a friend and a familiar face in their new home.