Jan. 31, 2018

“Everyone at The Mustard Seed understands that ending homelessness is more than just providing a roof over their heads. It is also about bringing people to a place of strength and independence.” — Stephen Wile, CEO of The Mustard Seed 

Campus Calgary/Open Minds is thrilled to have five new pilot sites on board this year as we celebrate our 25th anniversary. Not only are we celebrating 25 years of the Open Minds program we are celebrating the “idea” that began it all. One of our pilot sites this year is The Mustard Seed, or SEEDschool.

The Mustard Seed has long been engaged in intentional student learning experiences. SEEDschool evolved out of 22 years of summer learning programs, and three decades of speaking and teaching in school classrooms. Over the years The Mustard Seed has developed opportunities for schools to engage in on-site for tours, and workshops, leading to a relationship with three Campus Calgary programs in 2015-16. As some Campus Calgary sites began integrating The Mustard Seed into their weeks, The Mustard Seed and Campus Calgary began to dream about initiating a pilot program at The Mustard Seed.

A week at SEEDschool engages students in hands-on learning about poverty, homelessness and social issues, challenging students to consider their role in engaging in the larger community. Listening to stories of a resident or guest of The Mustard Seed allows students to gain an understanding of poverty, homelessness, compassion and what makes a healthy community. Topics such as addictions and Mental Health are discussed and allow for students to learn how we can care for people around us with the skills, passions and resources that The Mustard Seed offers. During the week students have the opportunity to tour the buildings of The Mustard Seed and to learn about what services they provide and how they help people in need.  By incorporating student choice and design, teachers and site experts act as facilitators working collaboratively with students. By grounding education in the local community, students can see the relevance of what they are learning and therefore become more engaged in the learning process.

The SEEDschool team is composed of Brittany Vine and Kelsey Brown who are part of the Community engagement team at The Mustard Seed. Both Brittany and Kelsey have an incredible wealth of knowledge with working with youth in community engagement and are both passionate about education and community service.

With its rich history and diverse surrounding community, SEEDschool provides an excellent opportunity for teaching and learning in the Calgary beltline. These experiences develop and build capacity for critical understandings of our interconnected Calgary community.