Get Fully Funded Grant Supports Wells International Foundation Arts / Study Abroad Initiative
Classes Duo Paris / Knoxville program teaches elementary school children to learn a foreign language and instills a desire to travel/study abroad through art
The Classes Duo Paris / Knoxville program addresses the need for American children to learn a foreign language by establishing a cross-cultural exchange between French and American elementary school children based on the life and art of Beauford Delaney, a painter who was born in Knoxville, Tennessee and lived the last 26 years of his life in Paris, France. It speaks directly to WIF's mission of cultivating global citizenship through education and culture.
Classes Duo is creating a strong, direct connection between 7- to 10-year old American children and French children of different races and genders at two schools through video conferencing and travel abroad. It has grown from 32 to 35 students since its inception in January 2018.
The program also touches the ~250 additional students at the participating schools because they see how strongly their schoolmates are embracing Classes Duo and what they are learning through the program.
Nine video sessions took place between January and September 2018, during which the children became increasingly acquainted with each other and showed the art they created between video sessions. In October 2018, thirteen Knoxville students traveled to Paris, France with their families for a week-long French / American cultural exchange with their Paris video pals. This included a public exhibition of the students' art at a town hall, a visit to their pals' school to attend classes together, and an overnight stay with French host families. Additional video conferences are scheduled through the end of the 2018-2019 academic year.
In the aftermath of the success of the American students' trip to Paris, WIF's next objective is to organize a reciprocal visit for the French students in Knoxville in 2019.
Get Fully Funded's support will ensure that the program not only goes to completion, but also serves as the successful pilot for a second Classes Duo program for a French / U.S. elementary school pairing that is already in preparation.
Dr. Monique Y. Wells, WIF's founder and CEO, had the following to say about the event:
"I am happy and grateful that the Get Fully Funded grant will permit us to continue to conduct and fine tune the video conferences that are an essential part of the Classes Duo program. These conferences are the means through which the relationships between the French and American students in the program are established and the platform through which the students practice each other's language. Without them, Classes Duo would not exist."
Access online photo galleries for the Knoxville students' excursion to Paris here: https://wellsinternationalfoundation.org/
About the Wells International Foundation
The Wells International Foundation (WIF) is a U. S. non-profit organization whose mission is to empower women and persons of African descent to realize their highest potential through arts, literacy, study abroad, and other educational and cultural programs. We are building a network of global citizens who embrace inclusiveness and foster a spirit of cooperation throughout the world.