LITERACY SUCCESS STORIES

Family program helps son – and mom

While Vivienne was happy about the progress Nathan was making, she was also benefitting from the program. “I began to make friends and I was able to talk to them and practice my English. I also learned about Canadian ways…how to be a parent in Canada and the school system.” 

Leaving everything behind to start a new life can be scary, but that’s exactly what Vivienne and her husband did three years ago.

Looking to pursue a career in computer technology, Vivienne’s husband packed their bags and made the long journey from Korea to B.C. Shortly after arriving, the young couple had a child. With dad at work and school most days and nights, Vivienne was left at home.

“After a long time at home with my son, I began to feel alone. I did not know anyone…I needed to be with people. And I needed my son to make friends.”

Vivienne’s circumstance is not uncommon for many new immigrants to Canada. Thankfully there are a number of community programs available to help make the transition easier – and many of these programs are rooted in literacy.

When her son Nathan turned one year old, Vivienne began to look for resources in her community that would help her – and her curious young explorer – learn about their new home.

“I found the South Burnaby Neighbourhood House because of a friend. She went there with her son and they both learned a lot.” Her neighbor was also a new immigrant to Canada.

Vivienne and Nathan enrolled in the free family program and almost immediately began to see changes. “Nathan would not eat fruit, but in the program, he started eating fruit, because the other children did.”

She also noticed Nathan began to do things like line up and help clean up the toys…things she could never get him to do at home.

While Vivienne was happy about the progress Nathan was making, she was surprised to notice that she was also benefitting from the program.

“I began to make friends and I was able to talk to them and practice my English. I also learned about Canadian ways…how to be a parent in Canada and the school system.”  According to Vivienne, both practices are very different in Korean culture.

“School in Korea is important and starts very early. School in Korea is strict and is about grades. Learning here is fun and I am happy Nathan is learning this way.” The program uses storytelling and songs as part of their activities, something that Vivienne can participate in as well.

As for Nathan, he starts pre-school in September and there is no doubt that both of them are better prepared for the experience. “This program is good and helped us both. I don’t know what I would be doing now, if I didn’t find it. Thank you everyone for helping me and Nathan.”

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