UPDATES May 2016
PIRS delivering Trauma Informed ESL
Program at Edmonds School has a waitlist
Thanks to a generous anonymous donation, PIRS piloted a trauma informed ESL class in Burnaby this spring. Teacher, Emily Hunter, is developing the model and is writing a curriculum that we plan to use to to replicate this program at other sites in the fall. 
"There are women in this class who have not been able to attend ESL because of their status in Canada, they have young children or their husbands wanted them to attend a women only program." says Zarmina, PIRS Outreach Worker for the program. The childcare and the teacher's flexibility around babies in classroom has made this class very successful.
The program, which is run in partnership with the Edmonds School, served 24 women and 19 children and has a waitlist of 19 families. Participants came from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Tibet, Syria, Columbia, Mexico & Lybia.  Participants learned about the public transportation system, the public library, digital literacy and visited community resources included a community centre. They learned about the benefits of family drop in programs for their children and they made social connections.
Building Bridges practicum student, Leticia, supported the ESL teacher and generously donated Arabic-English dictionaries.
A graduation celebration is planned for June 17. For more information about this program, contact Amea Wilbur at awilbur@pirs.bc.ca or 604-298-5888.
PIRS "Pop Up" program for Syrian refugee Children & Families
Syrian Refugee children playing
Thanks to generous gifts from donors, PIRS operated a pop up drop in and ESL conversation group at the Muslim Association of Canada from March to June. A partnership with ISSofBC, Frog Hollow, Collingwood & Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood Houses, the main focus was to provide creative programming for Syrian refugees living in temporary housing.  The project served 160 children aged 1 - 12 and 43 adults .
Program staff used photographic documentary approaches to develop a “vocabulary” to reflect on the children’s experiences without a lot of language in common. Through sensorial activities the children were given the opportunity to process their trauma and settlement experience in Canada.
While the children explored different activities, parents participated in “Conversation Circles” where they practiced English with a BC TEAL volunteer. PIRS also provided an Arabic staff member to talk with families about life in Canada. 
PIRS was honoured to be able to support families living in temporary housing. The families were enthusiastic, engaged and eager to be part of Canadian society. We want to thank all of our generous staff, partners and volunteers for being part of this very exciting project.
Volunteer Spotlight:
Former GAR from Iraq gives back
Suad Al-Taie
Suad Al-Taie, PIRS volunteer & LEAD participant came to Canada as a  GAR in 2011. Suad's goal is to study ECE, gain experience and work with children. She is very grateful for the opporutnities that Canada has given her family and volunteers at YMCA & PIRS in order to be able to give back.

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