“When my family and I immigrated to Calgary from Ukraine in 2010 I had limited English language skills, couldn’t hold a conversation and knew little about everyday life in Canada,” says Julia. “In 2015, a friend told me about The Salvation Army’s Barbara Mitchell Family Resource Centre, a place where I could improve my English, meet new friends and explore Canadian culture and tradition. My life is so different now.”
The Family Resource Centre offers a variety of programs that include computer literacy, education and employment preparation, reading classes for children, activities and an English language program.
“People come not just to learn English,” says Judy Miller, adult education coordinator. “They come to learn about Canada and gain information about resources that will help them succeed in our culture and society.”
“When I came to The Salvation Army I knew simple English words but couldn’t connect them in
Let’s Talk Canadiana is an English conversation class at the centre where newcomers improve their language skills while discussing topics to help them adjust to life in Canada. From money management to banking vocabulary to current events and the history behind Canada Day, participants move from being uncomfortable and frustrated to feeling confident enough about their English skills and Canadian culture to get more involved in the community.
“When I came to The Salvation Army I knew simple English words but couldn’t connect them in sentences,” says Julia. “Now I know new words that I use to help me communicate at the grocery store and the doctor’s office.”
Furthermore, Julia was determined to become a Canadian citizen but had difficulty understanding the study guide to help her prepare. “I had to learn about the rights and responsibilities as a citizen and a lot of big words like economy and confederation,” Julia chuckles. “It was hard and I had a lot of questions. Teachers at The Salvation Army explained them to me and in April 2016 I became a Canadian citizen.”
“It takes a lot of courage to move to a new country,” says Miller. “I admire the dedication that newcomers have to succeed and become members of Canadian society. It’s a privilege to get to know them and be part of their hopes and dreams.”