In an effort to address social isolation in their neighbourhood, a group of MVA member organizations in South Vancouver held a listening campaign, using a series of one-to one conversations and house meetings. One of the major challenges that surfaced during these conversations was the isolation of immigrant seniors, excluded by language from participating in their local community. It was discovered that many of these seniors bring their grandchildren to story-telling sessions at the library, but have no opportunity to interact with others while they are there. Because of cuts in funding and government restrictions, few of these seniors can access ESL classes.
South Vancouver Neighborhood House, Metro Vancouver Alliance & community partners joined together and are now running a series of english conversation classes in South Vancouver, aimed to help immigrant seniors develop English language skills that would allow them to better communicate with each other and their neighbors and build relationships among the seniors and their neighbors to better include them in the local community.
We are proud to say this project has been a resounding success. The program is running classes for 140 students, at 3 levels, 6 days a week in 18 locations, led by 50 volunteer facilitators and dates are scheduled through to April.
On Jan 30, volunteers, facilitators, students and supporters met to celebrate the completion of the first round of classes. Over a delicious lunch, facilitators shared stories of what they had gained from helping seniors to tell each other their stories. The next session of Beyond Conversation starts later this month.
If you are interested in participating in any way, contact Amie Peacock at South Vancouver Neighborhood House