Pacific Immigrant Resources Society

Canada Life Literacy Innovation Award top winner: Pacific Immigrant Resources Society

Earlier this year, Pacific Immigrant Resources Society was awarded top honours for this year’s Canada Life Literacy Innovation Award for their program, Trauma-Informed Community English Class for Immigrant and Refugee Women.

Based in Vancouver, BC, Pacific Immigrant Resources Society was established in 1975 to empower immigrant and refugee women and children to fully participate in Canadian life through neighbourhood-based, accessible and inclusive programs. They achieve their mission by providing a supportive and barrier-free environment for immigrant and refugee women to learn English and gain the necessary support and resources they need to positively integrate into Canadian society.

The Trauma-Informed Community English Class for Immigrant and Refugee Women is a multi-level and low-barrier English literacy program serving vulnerable women and children in the community. The program supports the development of basic and intermediate English for use in community interactions, while building awareness of and connection to available community resources. This enables immigrant and refugee women to learn about, access, and successfully navigate the services they need to address settlement issues. It also aims to foster connections and nurture relationships amongst participants in order to build a sense of community, build cross-cultural awareness, and reduce isolation.

The classes offered by Pacific Immigrant Resources Society encourage social and emotional connections and support well-being, alongside literacy needs and instruction. Connecting socially and emotionally through outreach support and building relationships and friendships in class enhances literacy learning for the students.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Pacific Immigrant Resources Society introduced a creative approach to continue program delivery online while also expanding their English class to the pre-literacy level. Their English curricula were moved to an online platform with homework, assessments and assignments all in digital formats while maintaining the same approach and supports whenever possible.

“We’re proud to help ABC Life Literacy Canada recognize these dedicated community organizations for the work they’re doing to improve adult literacy skills and equip learners across Canada for future success,” said Debbie Down, Director, Community Relations at Canada Life. “The Canada Life Literacy Innovation Award is about recognizing the need for these programs and the positive impact they make in their communities. Congratulations to Pacific Immigrant Resources Society and each of the honourable mention winners.”

ABC Life Literacy Canada was thrilled to read about the work happening at Pacific Immigrant Resources Society and looks forward to seeing what lies ahead for this exciting program. If you weren’t able to attend our virtual awards presentation and roundtable discussion, which featured a discussion with staff from Pacific Immigrant Resources Society about the program, you can watch the recording.