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Kingcrest and Options working together

to reach more students

For the first time, Kingcrest International Neighbors and the Migrant Workers Project at Options Community Services have joined forces to teach English to a broader spectrum of immigrants. Thanks to the services that Options provides to clients with a variety of immigration status, five students are learning English who are Temporary Foreign Workers living away from SE Vancouver.

This is the very first time that Kingcrest has ever offered classes on Saturdays. The school decided to open the online-classroom at 1:00 pm because all of these students work Monday to Friday in shifts that change time to time. Without the connection with Options and the coordination with Kingcrest, these students wouldn’t be able to learn English in a good educational setting.

Ana Yansie Parada, Migrant Support Worker at Options Community Services is very happy with the classes being offered to these Temporary Foreign Workers. The workers have been asking for English classes, but they could not attend a regular school because of their immigration status and working hours. Now, thanks to Kingcrest they can access English classes from the comfort of their homes and without scheduling problems. She is hoping that this effort will reach more workers in the future.

Kingcrest’s Board is pleased to be working side by side with Options because for several years the school has been seeking to reach students from other regions, but commuting and time issues have been challenges. Christine Collison, KIN’s Treasurer says: “This collaboration between service providers for Canadian newcomers is a tangible support for these students who have few options of English Language Learning settings. Moreover, this partnership between community services and Kingcrest’s outreach ministry demonstrates the best possible coordination between agencies, enhancing the well-being in our larger community! I am delighted that Kingcrest and Options are working together creatively, implemented in our current situation of limited in-person education.”

For over 30 years, Kingcrest International Neighbours’ ministry has been supporting people from many cultures and religions in their process of learning English and adapting in a new country.

Options Community Services offers immigrant service and is operating more than 30 programs and projects. The BC Settlement and Integration Services (BCSIS) provides specialized support on immigration, settlement and employment to refugee claimants, temporary foreign workers, and international students with work permits, as well as naturalized citizens. In addition, they assist eligible clients to pursue Pathways to Citizenship; increase ability to enter or thrive in BC’s labor market; establish connections to workplace and community. Another program is the Newcomer Employment Program (NEP) which provides pre-employment skills training, labour market information, employer connections and career mentorship support to newcomer job seekers. Their services are offered in English, Korean, Hindi, Tagalog, Punjabi,and Spanish.

In-Person and online classes are being offered

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kingcrest International Neighbours is continuing to open its doors to English learners from many countries!

We acknowledge that we are going through a difficult situation and know social distancing is needed to stop the spread of the virus. But we also recognize that the English learning process, for some people, requires a face-to-face method.

Therefore, KIN’s Board came to the agreement that for this Fall term the classes would be in-person for Levels 1 and 2, and that Level 3 would be on-line.

Levels 1 and 2 are being taught in different buildings to reduce the contact between students, one in the basement of Peace Church on 52nd and the other in the Community Hub.

For these in-person classes, there is a limited number of students per class as established by the BC health authorities, based on the spaces of the facilities. The students are required to follow general instructions like using face coverings or masks in the classroom, keeping 2 meters of distance, monitoring their health, and reporting if they are sick or have been exposed. In the buildings, they are provided with hand sanitizer and the staff makes sure that frequently touched surfaces are sanitized.

Thanks to a donation from Peace Church of 52nd, those students who don’t have a mask to wear can get a reusable one. The Level 3 students who are receiving on-line classes are following the same textbook that the school has used in the past. Their teachers are implementing a different a methodology to teach on-line in order to motivate them and to promote interactions that will lead to community attachment and improvement of their English skills.

The number of students has understandably been lower than usual this Fall term, but we are happy that no-one who wants to learn English has been left behind.

Meet Rhea Ravanera, our newest volunteer teacher

Most of my friends say that I have a great sense of humor and that you are likely to hear my laugh before you even see me. I guess the one thing that I would like people to know about me is my warmth.

Just like most Filipinos, I am friendly and love to laugh. I arrived in Canada 21 years ago. I love Vancouver although I wished it’s a little bit warmer. I work at UBC as a Manager and have been working there for 18 years.

I attend church at Ebenezer Baptist and have been doing so for 10 years. I am also part of the worship team. I love that I can worship using a gift that God has given me.

Why am I volunteering with Kingcrest?

I love to inspire people. I used to be a Health Educator and my passion in teaching and facilitating learning has always been a part of me. I am fairly busy but I could not pass an opportunity to teach and help others. The ability to speak English opens a lot of doors and it serves as a tool to become a better version of yourself.

I am at a point in my life where pursuing my dreams is important. I believe that living a life passionately and purposefully is God's calling in our lives. I would love for my lovely students to develop the appreciation for the language and for them to know that they are incredible. They inspire me to do better every single class!

Perseverance is the key

My name is Osiel Quihue, I came to Canada at the end of 2018, I'm from Peru and my family lives here in Canada with me. I had the opportunity to study English in two different schools while I was searching for a job in Canada but when I was hired full time I couldn't keep attending to any English classes.

The schedule at Kingcrest works for me and since I came across this school I haven't stopped attending.

I registered in this school this year, in January 2020 and started level 3. It was very nice to be in a classroom learning English with other newcomers and sharing our experiences. Then Covid-19 happened, I still needed to keep learning English and I was happy when I knew that the school offered past students the opportunity to learn from home through a self paced method. Again, I worked on level three to reinforce my knowledge.

This time, I joined fall term and I am receiving my classes through Zoom. Even though I prefer in-person classes, it has been very convenient for me to learn from home, mostly because I can stay safe at home, I don't have to spend time in the transit and I can be close to my wife while she cares for our two boys (one is three years old and the other is a newborn).

I had experienced the three methods of teaching in one year, all methods have challenges and opportunities for each student, but I am grateful because the classes did not stop and I have been steadily learning English, which is important to succeed in this country.

I motivate other students to don't give up in this uncertain times and to keep studying, some days it will be difficult but perseverance is the key and it always pays off.