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Raise-a-Reader: New immigrants benefit from early childhood education program

October 8, 2023

By Vancouver Sun |

When Morena de Alfaro arrived in Canada from El Salvador in 2001, she says: “We didn’t have the time to get ready mentally or anything. I didn’t have any English at all.”

Though she has a background in graphic design, de Alfaro said it was difficult finding work. The mother of two says she was “jumping from one job to another” when a neighbour told her about the Canucks Family Education Centre.

“I really needed to go to school to improve my English and get certification. So I enrolled in their early childhood education assistant program.”

The CFEC’s early childhood education program is offered in partnership with Burnaby Community and Continuing Education ECE program, Canucks for Kids Fund and Britannia Community Services Centre Society. Funds raised by the Vancouver Sun’s Raise-a-Reader campaign support some of the salaries of ECE students working as assistants in the CFEC’s Get Ready 2 Read early learning program.

Last year, Raise-a-Reader helped bring literacy programs to 66,000 children and their caregivers through 10,934 program sessions. The total funds raised in B.C. since RAR inception in 1997 is $22,223,260.

With the help of the CFEC, de Alfaro became an early childhood education assistant.

In addition to financial assistance for the courses, the CFEC supplied de Alfaro with a conversation group, bus passes, and gift cards to buy food. More importantly — as she shared in a testimonial — she received “the emotional support to continue and achieve my personal goals” and she is now employed as an early childhood education teacher.

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