Newcomer Literacy Class Graduation Party
Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Options Newcomer Literacy learners gathered together to celebrate their accomplishments in learning English with a potluck graduation party. There were certificate presentations, speeches, stories, thank yous, good byes, hugs and food - lots of international food. Instructors spoke of the impressive progress their students made and learners spoke of their appreciation of their dedicated instructors who taught them more than just the language.

They appreciated learning about Canadian social norms. They were shocked to learn that finger pointing is considered rude in Canada. They were also surprised to learn some routine interview questions such as their marital status, age and family situation in their country are not acceptable questions to ask in Canada.

They enjoyed guest speakers' presentations. KPU psychiatric students taught them words to describe their feelings and provided them with stress management strategies. Learning to differentiate emergency and non-emergency medical situations and to know when to go to ER and when to go to a walk-in clinic were helpful for them. A presentation on culture shock by a counseling student form Adler's School of Counseling helped them feel what they were going through is normal.

They also expressed how support services made it possible for them to attend classes. Without bus tickets and child minding, many of them would not have been able to attend classes. From our wonderful child minder, they also learned parenting tips in addition to their children receiving quality care and learning English and social skills.

Most important of all, they all began to develop a sense of belonging. Over the course of the program, they began to connect with other learners, instructors and even to other Options employees as they became familiar with the array of Options programs/services. Options became their second home. Many can hardly wait to return next term to continue learning.

Options Newcomer Literacy classes are funded by IRCC, Canadian Red Cross and BC Ministry of Jobs, Trades and Technology for the benefit of both permanent and temporary residents.