The second annual Celebration of Learning awards ceremony for English language learners was recently held at Matsqui Centennial Auditorium. (Photo by Lyndon Dueck)

Celebration of Learning honours English language learners

Awards ceremony held in Abbotsford by Archway Community Services

More than 250 English language learners attended the second annual Celebration of Learning awards ceremony on June 12 at Matsqui Centennial Auditorium.

The adult students are a part of the Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) or Access2English programs at Archway Community Services (formerly Abbotsford Community Services).

The LINC program provides free English classes, as well as information about local communities, employment and Canadian culture.

The Access2English program matches adult learners in the community with volunteer tutors who teach literacy, oral communication, computer skills and more.

“Our students absolutely loved this celebration last year and they have convinced us to make it an annual event,” said Paula Mannington, manager of English Language Services.

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More than 100 students received certificates for progressing to the next level in the Canadian Language Benchmarks system even when family and job commitments also competed for their time.

The Celebration of Learning event featured a dessert reception, photo booth, prize draws, and musical performances. “It was a wonderful evening which symbolized hope, learning, confidence and friendships in a new world,” said Manpreet Grewal, director of Multicultural and Immigrant Integration Services. Mannington said the programs are much more than an ESL class.

“It’s a small community where people from all walks of life and cultural backgrounds become friends who support and encourage one another,” she said.

“The classes help foster a sense of belonging and encourage our students to become valuable members of our community.”

Archway has been offering adult English classes to newcomers for over 25 years.

In addition to language classes, the Multicultural and Immigrant Integration Services department connects newcomers to the wider community in a variety of ways.

Settlement workers give guidance to adults and help integrate immigrant and refugee children into schools.

There are also specialized employment services to help skilled immigrants find relevant work in the local workforce.

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