Local Outreach Initiatives
St. Clare Multifaith Community Dinner
The St. Clare Multifaith is a social housing project located at Davenport and Avenue Rd. The residents in the housing complex include many young adults and families who have been subject to abuse and are presently on the road to recovery. By the end of each month, most have little to no money left from government assistance. With the past help of Sodexho and now Chartwells food services at Trinity College, BSI members have been assisting with the organization of a community dinner for the tenants at the end of each month. The generous food donations from Trinity College food services have ensured the continuation of this initiative and have provided us the opportunity to provide some support for food insecure families, while interacting socially with the residents as they build a stronger community.
Street Community Outreach: Into the Cold
Students involved with BSI gather at least once monthly to put together care packages that include food and beverages as well as warm articles of clothing, which are handed out to homeless individuals in Toronto. This ‘Into the Cold’ initiative is motivated by a desire to provide some relief and also to educate students about the fragility of security around food and shelter. Students are encouraged to engage in conversation as they hand out the care packages.
BSI International Remote Conference
BSI chapters at partner institutes will host local conferences that will be broadcast live internationally in January 2016. The goal of this conference is to provide an accessible platform for high quality academic discourse. The conference will cover diverse topics in focus sessions chaired by renowned faculty in areas including immunology, maternal health, outreach, and technology entrepreneurship. To learn more, please click here or contact us.
Moi University School of Medicine, Eldoret, Kenya
Our collaboration with the Moi University School of Medicine in Eldoret, Kenya is one of the more advanced remote mentorship programs aimed at medical, graduate, and advanced life sciences undergraduate students. Current discussion topics include women’s health in remote areas, child mortality, vaccination, and infectious diseases. This initiative is based primarily on academic discussion and partnership, and aims to provide a forum through which BSI members on both sides can discuss possible solutions to pressing and topical global health concerns worldwide. Under faculty supervision, advanced BSI members will also engage in supporting graduate level research projects for MSc students at Moi Universtiy. Finally, BSI leaders at Moi are an important partner in the launch of the International Remote Conference to be held in January.
National Institute of Immunology (NII), New Delhi, India
BSI is involved in a growing collaboration between NII and the Department of Immunology at the University of Toronto. We propose to establish bidirectional mentorship primarily between graduate students in the Dept. of Immunology at the U of Toronto and students at the NII. To this end, we have already connected a few students working on similar projects at the two institutions. We are hoping to expand this dialogue to include more students that will engage in discussions pertaining to pertinent medical research questions in the different labs. at each institute. NII students are also expected to participate in international online conferences hosted by BSI.
Chenrnivtsi National University , Ivan Franko National University, and the Ukrainian High School Initiative, Ukraine
The BSI Mentorship Program in Ukraine is an opportunity for students to establish cross-cultural communication, learn about life in other countries, and promote personal growth for both mentors and mentees. The first year of the program saw the pairing of 16 students from Trinity College with undergraduate or high school students in Ukraine. As part of the mentorship program, students communicate by email or Skype to discuss differences in cultures, student life in their respective countries, their travels, as well as reading books in parallel and sharing perspectives. Moving forward, BSI is establishing a local chapter with the help of top graduate students at Ivan Franko University of Lviv.
First Nations Youth Mentorship and Pen Pal Project, Canada
This First Nations Mentorship program is an initiative of BSI with a planned launch date of Fall 2015. Through this program we will partner First Nations community youth in Toronto and Northern Ontario with BSI undergraduate and graduate members. BSI members at Trinity College will be available to provide academic support when requested. The overall goal of this program is to promote cross-cultural understanding and promote networking between like-minded individuals.
Girl Child Initiative, Kenya
BSI is currently establishing a partnership with Windle Trust Kenya with the goal of offering mentorship to refugee girls with limited access to educational and academic resources. These girls have been affected by war in their respective countries and experience enormous challenges in accessing education in the refugee camp. In most cases these girls are denied access to education by virtue of their economic and social circumstances, as well as the community practices that do not acknowledge the importance of education for female children. The communication between our students and the female refugees will be based primarily on confidentially shared e-mailing. The intent is to partner with females undergraduate students at Trinity College who will strive to provide both educational and moral support via this remote mentorship program. In the future we plan to provide other forms of assistance through reading materials and school supplies such as solar lamps for these students.
Rongai Boys High School Initiative, Kenya
The BSI plans to offer online mentorship to grade 11 and 12 high school students in the Rongai Boys High School. Areas of support include, but are not limited to; life skills, career guidance, writing skills, science tutoring, among other areas.
The BSI lead for this initiative, James Madhier, is actively engaged in liaising with the Rongai Boys High School student heads to partner Trinity students through a confidential email system. The goal of this bi-directional interaction between Trinity students and the Kenyan students is to increase cross- cultural understanding.