David Starr, principal of Edmonds Community School in Burnaby (one of Byrne Creek Secondary School’s feeder Elementary Schools) wrote a book, released a few weeks ago, called From Bombs to Books. Starr’s love of his school community is evident as he shares the difficult journeys of so many of our communities Refugee families. It is a very powerful book about courage, survival and belonging. And it is well worth a read!!!
I am humbled by the resilience and sheer tenacity of so many of our families’ arrival stories into Canada! Our students and community is so fortunate to be able to have access to this sort of strength, wisdom and experience. And I have been thinking a lot lately about how we might connect with this gift that is often hidden in plain sight.
Over the past few months Byrne Creek Secondary and the Canucks Family Education Centre have hosted workshops at Byrne Creek for parents and youth to help families better transition into Canadian culture.
This past week we held a workshop World Café titled “The Community and You.” The questions served up to parents and youth during this session were: What are your likes, passions, interests, and skills? And what would you like to share with the community?
The youth engagement and suggestions were phenomenal! Their ideas were very impressive. They offered the likes of holding FaceBook training for parents and mentorship/leadership workshops with younger children.
Parents were also very generous with their offerings. Out of this session we have the beginnings of the following:
A very experienced pediatrician from Afghanistan will be holding workshops for parents on family health, a university professor of English from Russia will be holding TOFEL preparation training sessions for parents, and English (and perhaps Russian) conversation classes for youth and a university Economics Professor from Malaysia has offered to lead financial planning workshops for parents and youth in our community.
This is some of the wealth that we are hoping to connect with more and more as Byrne Creek transitions into a Community School. We will be holding more such workshops, and we are beginning to look for funding to maintain such initiatives (for example, if materials are required).