World Day for Cultural Diversity fair

RISE Participated in the World Day for Cultural Diversity fair

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The World Day for Cultural Diversity fair took place on Monday, April 29 from 4:30-7:00 PM in the Woodlawn High school cafeteria

The World Day for Cultural Diversity fair took place on Monday, April 29 from 4:30-7:00 PM in the Woodlawn High school cafeteria. On World Day for Cultural Diversity, English for Speakers of Other Languages and Woodlawn High School developed and implemented a plan to celebrate cultural diversity in the community and Maryland. They allocated that day to not just show how the institution addresses cultural diversity but also how they enhance diversity by incorporating students from various backgrounds in the ESOL classes. There were also many other students from Chadwick Elementary School.

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The kids accompanied by their parents from many countries as diverse as India, Nigeria, Nepal, Ghana, Philippines, Togo, Iran, Pakistan, US, just demonstrates how diverse the community is. It also reveals how the population, included cultures largely underrepresented are all contributing to the community.
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The ESOL and Woodlawn High, in observing this day are pointing not only to the need for an increase in diversity but also the need to welcome and give opportunities to people from diverse backgrounds. The evening also showed the beauty there is in diversity and the great interactions amongst students, teachers, family liaisons and the community. The Woodlawn kids largely from underserved populations on this day showed-off proudly their cultures, dressed in their native colors. The kids introduced themselves, and the country from where they originate and participated in various activities. They brandish their country’s flags, waved them proudly as they processed in front of the audience. The audience comprising largely parents, friends and well-wishers during the well-attended event. For many who attended, they observed that the school maintained a drive towards enhancing cultural diversity amongst the communities and the many students who showed their culture is a pointer to the commitment to diversity and achieving equitable outcomes for all students and to help foster positive interactions within a diverse community.  As the kids presented songs of their national anthems, read history about their countries, played songs that reflect their culture,  it was a chance for the audience and the Woodlawn community to be exposed to diverse worldviews and possibly to be inspired to increase their tolerance for people of diverse backgrounds. 
Ileana Taboada (Acting Department Chair) at the Baltimore County Public Schools who also helped to facilitate the World Day for Cultural Diversity took some time to share information about ESOL and the Baltimore County Public Schools. She introduced the ESOL program as “basically for any student who is born in the US who is exposed to speaking another language at home, or any student who is born out of the country”. She also added that “all the students have to be screened and that’s what determines whether or not they are in the program”. She identified the countries from where students hail from and said they all speak different languages. She added that “every year in February, the kids in the ESOL program takes a test which helps to test their English Language Proficiency. The test is used to determine their final assessment for each of these students. Many of the students in Elementary Schools are doing ‘pull-out sessions where they are taken out of some of their classes to participate in ESOL classes which changes as they go into middle and high schools.” As she reflects on the success of ESOL at the World Diversity Day, it reminds me of the strides that the RISE program of CTK is making as its builds its exciting partnership with Community College of Baltimore County CCBC to provide English classes,  networking and partnerships to help the diverse communities of Woodlawn and Maryland.
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RISE, a new Ministry of the Christ the King Episcopal Church of Woodlawn was amongst several institutions that helped to grace the occasion. The Reverend Mary Elliot of the Christ the King Episcopal Church reflected on the success of the program saying; “Thanks to RISE volunteer Denise who made us aware of the following, as well as signed RISE up for a table. She has some fun things to hand out and to draw attention to the table”. She added, “Denise had an awesome coloring activity and the table was humming”. The RISE volunteers set up a table to exhibit their new initiative to help immigrants and refugees find the resources they need in the community. The volunteers reached out to the diverse community present at the World Day for Cultural Diversity by sharing RISE flyers, business cards and other information about RISE programs and resources. The RISE attracted several kids from diverse backgrounds who were glued to the table, engaged in coloring books, got some candies, and stopped by with their parents to have their ‘passport-sign-up cards’ stamped. The parents also interacted with some of  RISE volunteers Rufus, Denise, Olga, Andrew, and Edward. The program offered RISE the opportunity to enhance their outreach efforts to underrepresented populations especially immigrants and refugees. 
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With the success of the World Day for Cultural Diversity, The ESOL and Woodlawn High School are making a point- They may be promoting the merits of a more diverse, equitable and inclusive community and use the opportunity to identify and develop a number of new initiatives to promote diversity and equal opportunities amongst the diverse communities in Woodlawn and beyond.

By: Andrew B. Greene

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