“My mother always made us appreciate the things that we had. Growing up, things were tough, and she would work three jobs to ensure we had enough. My mother also believed in the importance of community, making time to develop relationships with our neighbours and inviting people over to our home. I acquired both my work ethic and unwavering belief in the power of community from her.
I am a teacher by training, working with special needs and gifted children, and adults with social disadvantages. For nearly 30 years, I have taught and tutored thousands of children. I also have a daughter myself, and when she was six months, I decided that since we would only have one child, we would host exchange and visiting students to expose her to different people. My partner and I wanted to instill in our daughter the importance of sharing, and respecting other people’s opinion, backgrounds, and experiences. It’s been a blast!
Now, I work with newcomers at the Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House in Vancouver, teaching newcomers English, computer training, and other skills. The people I work with are very tolerant, diverse, and they are working to make Canada a better and more inclusive place.
It’s work that reflects my values, including strengthening our community, and working to make it more equitable. I really believe that everyone should have the same social and economic opportunities that I have had as a privileged, Canada-born white woman.
I notice and am worried about increasing intolerance towards newcomers and ethnic minorities. I am worried about a divide that appears to be emerging and the lack of acceptance of difference. It’s clearly happening to a greater degree in the United States, but it’s occurring here as well, and may foreshadow what may be to come in Canada.
At the Neighbourhood House, we offer programs helping newcomers settle in Canada. As the intolerant rhetoric has gained prominence, I’ve noticed that we’ve seen an increase in volunteers. Essentially, people looking for opportunities to help newcomers and push back against hate and intolerance. That gives me hope.” — Morie, Vancouver / Coast Salish Territories