Regina Sanchez immigrated to Canada from Colombia in 2007. She connected with CBAL's ESL and Settlement Assistance Programs through her employer in Radium. In addition to English-language tutoring

ESL program seeks new valley tutors

When Regina Sanchez first moved to Canada in 2007 from Colombia she was told by an employer in Calgary she wouldn't be hired because her English wasn't strong enough.

When Regina Sanchez first moved to Canada in 2007 from Colombia she was told by an employer in Calgary she wouldn’t be hired because her English wasn’t strong enough.

After finding a job at a motel in Radium Hot Springs, her new employer connected her with the Windermere Valley chapter of the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL), an organization which runs a variety of literacy-improving programs in the area — including an English as a Second Language and Settlement Assistance Program.

Soon she was meeting with her tutor, Betty Knight, once a week and taking part in a conversation course. Her language goal is to improve her English to the point where it’s not an obstacle to getting a job in the future.

Though the ESLSAP program — which focuses on language and cultural education for new immigrants to Canada — has been running in other parts of the East Kootenay for several years, it only came to the  valley last year.

“Statistically, we don’t have enough immigrants here,” says Knight, who is also the East Kootenay regional co-ordinator for CBAL, in addition to her tutoring duties.

“But over the years we’ve been working with some people who would have qualified, so we just this spring got some funding to be able to start this formal program.”

Learners and tutors develop programs individually, depending on what sort of skills a participant is hoping to build.

“For instance, the learner I’m working with, she sometimes needs to greet people who come to the hotel where she works and show them a room,” says Knight. “So I’ve been working with her on what she can say to people in that situation.”

Tutoring can also focus on language skills needed for parent-teacher conferences, banking, or other day-to-day tasks.

While interest in the program has started to rise, Knight says the local CBAL chapter is facing one difficulty as the program grows: there aren’t enough tutors to go around.

“We had seven students last year,” she says. With only three tutors active in the valley, many weren’t able to get one-on-one help.

CBAL is putting the call out for new volunteer tutors, and hopes to launch a training program later this month.

“We’re not announcing a date, because we’re willing to be flexible depending on who contacts us,” says Knight. “If people are willing to come on two Saturdays, then we’ll do it on two Saturdays. If they’d rather do it on four evenings, we can do it on four evenings.”

To sign up for tutor training, or learn more about the program, call local CBAL co-ordinator Yolande Dolman at 250-342-9229.

Tutors should be willing to commit to one two-to-four hour training session a week for at least six months.

For more on CBAL visit cbal.org.

 

Just Posted

The end of an Echo

Invermere Valley Echo shuts down operations in Columbia Valley

Creating a new narrative for Canal Flats

Economic development consultant hired, lists vision for next 90 days

UPDATE: Crews battle as wildfires rage in B.C. Interior

Crews brace for another day on B.C. firelines as no let up is likely

VIDEO: B.C. wildfires by the numbers

Wildfires continue to engulf regions of B.C.’s forests and communities.

VIDEO: More than 180 wildfires burning across B.C.

Firefighters from other provinces called in to assist

DTSS Grad March 2017

DTSS Grad March 2017

59 cats seized in Chase

59 neglected and injured cats were seized from a property in Chase

Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell dead at age 52

The singer/songwriter passed away early Thursday morning in Detroit

Paying tribute to a primeval passage

Uninterrupted celebrates the Adams River sockeye run in an extraordinary way.

UPDATE: Pemberton Music Festival cancelled, no automatic refunds

In the past, the music festival located in Pemberton drew large crowds last year of 180,000 fans

Medical wait times cost B.C. patients $2,300 each

New Fraser Institute report places B.C. at second worst in costs associated with long wait times

UPDATE: 22 killed at Ariana Grande concert

Witnesses reported hearing two loud bangs coming from near the arena’s bars at about 10:35 p.m.

One in three Canadian high school students have rode with drinking drivers, study reveals

Nearly one in five rode with a driver who’d been smoking pot

Top court to hear federal government’s appeal on residential school records

A lower court judge ruled to destroy the stories after 15 years unless consent is given to preserve

Most Read