Introducing Curtis Kleisinger
It is incredible how one woman from the other side of the world can inspire positive change in your own backyard.
A number of years ago, a group of CEOs and businesspeople travelled to India and were granted an audience with the famed humanitarian Mother Teresa. After hearing her speak, many in attendance were interested in how they could help her mission. Mother Teresa was not interested in their money; instead she urged the group to return to their home community, identify a need, and to give their time and resources to inspire change. Paul and Carol Hill were two of the people in attendance took this message to heart. They returned to their home in Regina, Saskatchewan and started the process of creating a school in Mother Teresa’s name that would serve the province’s disadvantaged aboriginal community.
This is where our guest this week enters the picture. Curtis Kleisinger is the executive director of the Mother Teresa Middle School and a former schoolmate of our host Dave Veale. The Mother Teresa Middle School opened in 2011 and serves a small group of students from grades six to eight.
Though the Saskatchewan economy has been fairly good over the last number of years, this good fortune had generally not extended to Regina’s aboriginal population. Up until recently, only 33% of aboriginal students in the area would graduate high school on time, and many students came from backgrounds of poverty, foster homes, trauma, and abuse. In fact, many current students will be the first in their families to graduate high school. The MTMS seeks to end the cycle of poverty by giving these kids a chance, not only to learn but also to thrive.
In this episode
- Curtis tells us the difference between traditional schools and MTMS.
- We hear about the school’s focus on developing strengths, networking, and a mentoring program that has a 1:23 return ratio.
- Curtis tells us about the success stories from the school and how the students seek to fix world problems.
- Curtis tells us about the admissions process and how building trust, particularly with matriarchs, is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome.
- Curtis also tells us the importance of hope, engagement, and well being for students, businesses, and society in general.
- Dave tells us how he was struck emotionally by the school and how being there really makes you “get it”.
- Greg concludes that building trust with a few key influencers is so critical to fostering change.