Why You Should Know: Peyton Klein

The goal of Klein's student-run organization is to combat cultural intolerance and discrimination at a young age.


photo by martha rial

 

About: A rising sophomore at Taylor Allderdice High School, Klein is the founder of The Global Minds Initiative, a student-run, after-school program that teaches international relations, allows for conversational English practice and provides educational support for English as a Second Language [ESL] students. The goal: to combat cultural intolerance and discrimination at a young age.
 

  • Klein’s idea for The Global Minds Initiative began on a typical day. “I was sitting in homeroom and saw an ESL student — a Syrian refugee — struggling to communicate with the teacher. And I thought, this is a problem, and I’m sure there are many more students like this,” says Klein.
     
  • Anywhere between 30 and 50 students meet for an hour and a half each week to participate in different group activities and community programs. The club most recently worked with artist Sandy Kessler Kaminski to paint a mural at the Wilkins School Community Center in Regent Square.
     
  • In February, The Global Minds Initiative won a $1,000 grant from Awesome Pittsburgh, which Klein says will go toward curriculum development, field trips and community service opportunities. The group also received the Sprout Fund’s “100 Days of US” grant and funding from the Three Rivers Community Foundation and the Vert Charitable Trust. “[We want to be] especially involving people from all cultural groups and asking, ‘How can we give back to the community and serve?’” Klein says. 
     
  • The organization has already expanded beyond Pittsburgh, with a chapter in Rochester, N.Y. Klein hopes that with proper funding, the club can grow to reach as many as 10 more schools in the next year. 
     
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