LOADING...

Posts Tagged "mom"

22Sep

Raise-a-Reader: Refugee single mom of daughter with autism grateful for literacy help

by admin

https://vancouversun.com/


Josephine Erhabor with daughter Sarah, 3, at their Vancouver home July 26. Erhabor is a refugee from Nigeria and attended many literacy programs after arriving in Canada, and is helping Sarah, who is autistic, to get the help she needs.


Jason Payne / PNG

When Josephine Erhabor emigrated to Canada in 2015, she not only didn’t speak English, she also hadn’t been to school at all in her life, growing up in Nigeria.

“Math was really hard,” she says. “Imagine someone never being in school. I didn’t know how to read a calendar.”

When it came time for her to enrol in a literacy program “they wanted to know what they were teaching us, but I didn’t go to school at all before I was here,” she says in the Commercial Drive apartment where she lives with her four-year-old, Sarah.

Erhabor, 24, was pregnant when she arrived as a refugee, fleeing from what she only wanted to describe as “family reasons.”

Sarah has a learning disability and the two of them are getting help with their education through the Canucks Family Education Centre (CFEC), partly funded by The Vancouver Sun’s Raise-a-Reader campaign.

Erhabor, who’s called Jo, attends the Britannia Partners in Education program, which offers English literacy and math instruction, in partnership with Vancouver school district No. 39.

She and Sarah also attend CFEC’s Grandview Get Ready to Read — GR2R — early learning program for preschoolers at the Grandview Terrace Childcare Centre (in partnership with Britannia Childcare) once a week, which also offers parenting support.

As Erhabor adapted to a new country, she was unable to carry out a simple transaction in a store because numbers were foreign to her.

“When it came to math, I wasn’t that good at counting,” says Erhabor, as an inquisitive and energetic Sarah checked out a visitor’s cameras. “But now I am able to calculate, and that’s made it easier.”

She says she was never given the opportunity to learn how to read and write until she was in her mid-teens in Nigeria. The continent’s most populated country, at 186 million, now faces a threat of breaking apart along ethnic and religious lines, according to a BBC profile. Jihadists have killed thousands over the past few years in the northeast, and some groups want to separate. Islamic law has been imposed in several northern states, causing thousands of Christians to flee.


Josephine Erhabor with daughter Sarah, 3, at their Vancouver home July 26. Erhabor is a refugee from Nigeria and attended many literacy programs after arriving in Canada, and is helping Sarah, who is autistic, to get the help she needs.

Jason Payne /

PNG

The former British colony is one of the world’s largest oil producers, but few Nigerians benefit and instability hinders foreign investment.

Erhabor wasn’t given a chance at education until about 10 years ago.

“It was when I turned 15 and then I wanted to go, but then it was a bit too late,” she says.

Her goal now is to earn her high school diploma and eventually she would like to enrol in a course so she can help seniors, perhaps as a care aide in a seniors’ home.

“I don’t want to stop there (high school graduation). Once I got my English, I want to go on. I just started (English classes) last September (at CFEC),” she says. “My reading was really bad, and it is improving.

“What I was really into was writing,” she says. “I still don’t really like math.”

Erhabor is especially grateful for the help that CFEC provided for her daughter. When Sarah was two, she was diagnosed as autistic after CFEC officials raised money from donors to pay for a private assessment, Erhabor says.

She also received help settling in Canada from other programs, including immigrants’ advocates Mosaic and the Immigration Services Society of B.C., before coming to CFEC, and is grateful for the kindness she was shown during her pregnancy and for help finding her apartment.

“I have never seen a country like this in my whole life,” she says. “They help me out to fix everything.”

And she is grateful for the chance to learn English.

“If you don’t speak English or French, how can you cope?” she says.

Since its launch in 1997, Raise-a-Reader has provided more than $18 million to promote literacy in B.C.

You can make a donation any time. Here’s how:

• Online at raiseareader.com

• By phone, at 604.681.4199

• By cheque, payable to:

Raise-a-Reader

1125 Howe St., #980

Vancouver, B.C.  V6Z 2K8

CLICK HERE to report a typo.

Is there more to this story? We’d like to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Email [email protected].

29Aug

High school should prioritize accessibility, B.C. mom says | CBC News

by admin

Maya Bosdet says she’s excited for the beginning of classes next week because it means continuing a family tradition of attending high school at Claremont Secondary, in Saanich, B.C.

But a tour of the school this week has her concerned the building won’t be accessible enough to meet her needs as a wheelchair user.

A previous visit to the school revealed a lack of ramps and an unreliable elevator. Maya also says the door to the accessible bathroom is really heavy, while the lock and light are situated too high for her to reach.

Maya has a rare genetic disease called mucopolysaccharidosis, which causes sugar molecules cells to build up in her body. She has joint pain, a dislocated hip, and regularly sees specialists and undergoes surgery. 

Accessibility problems

Lisa Bosdet, Maya’s mother, said the pair took a tour of the school in June and were disappointed to learn that the “archaic” elevator regularly breaks down, the desks are too high, and there aren’t any wheelchair ramps.

Bosdet said the elevator is currently being repaired, but is still concerned it will be unsafe.

“We expressed lots at that tour about what we saw [were issues],” she said. “I don’t want [Maya] to have to ask a friend to take her to the bathroom at 14 years old.

“I feel like it’s a basic human right for her to be able to use the bathroom.”

On a second tour of the school this week, the pair said they found not much had been improved for the start of the school year.

Bosdet said Maya’s therapists expressed concerns to the school staff about the lack of accessibility, but the response was that it would cost too much money.

CBC was not granted access to the school, and requests for interviews with school staff were declined. 

Maya Bosdet says Claremont secondary is the school her father went to, and the closest to her home. Her mother is adamant that accessibility issues at the school won’t stop her from attending classes there. (Mike McArthur/CBC)

A B.C. government document says the school was built in 1961.

Justina Loh, the executive director of the Disability Alliance B.C., says that was long before buildings were designed with accessible features. 

“In the last few years accessibility has become more of a buzzword and more important … especially as our population ages,” Loh said.

‘Most of my friends are going to this school’

Maya said she doesn’t want to attend another high school because Claremont is close to her home. 

“My dad went here,” she said. “Most of my friends are going to this school.”

She added that her friend, who also uses a wheelchair, attends the school with a caregiver who helps him move around and use the restroom.

Maya said she wants to maintain her independence.

Dave Eberwein, the superintendent for the Saanich School District, said while retrofitting an older building isn’t easy, “that doesn’t mean we don’t make them accessible. All of our schools are accessible.”

“Our goal is to, within reasonable amounts, accommodate all … students’ needs in each building,” he said, adding that things such as a light switch that’s too high, or a door that is too heavy, can be fixed relatively quickly.

He noted, however, that “sometimes it’s just not physically possible to install every accessibility [measure] in every building [because it’s] just not going to fall within our budget.”

‘We need to progress’

Bosdet said it seems accessibility issues often don’t take priority in a school’s budget, and the change needs to come from the higher ranks in the school district. 

“It’s almost 2020, and I really believe we need to step up now … We need to progress,” she said. 

She’s adamant that Maya will not attend another school.

“I resist changing a school because … the path I’d rather take is speak up and get them to make these changes so [my daughter] can have a choice.

“We’ll find a way to make it work.”

26May

Mom creates program for supportive housing tenants after son’s death

by admin

After Christine Harris’s son died slowly and alone in a Vancouver supportive housing unit, she vowed to do everything possible to ensure no other parent would have to share her pain.

She last spoke to her son, Lindsey Longe, on July 12, 2012. The 30-year-old was last seen alive by a friend on July 15, 2012. He died the next day of blood poisoning in his room at Pacific Coast Apartments. The use of illicit drugs contributed to his death, according to a coroner’s report.

Longe’s body wasn’t discovered until three days after he died, after days of Harris calling and pleading with Coast Mental Health staff to check on him, Harris said.

In recent years, Harris, an Alberta social worker, has been developing “Got Your Back For Life,” a volunteer program that pairs people living in supportive housing with a “most-trusted person” who agrees to check on them regularly.

The program is halfway through a one-year pilot at PHS Community Services Society’s Margaret Mitchell Place. About 20 residents of the 52-unit temporary modular housing complex near Olympic Village Station signed an agreement with a trusted person who might be a friend, neighbour, family member or staff member.

Together, they decide how often they’ll do health and wellness checks — it might be every day or once per week — and sign contracts with some personal information and ID photos. The trusted person can then go to building staff at the agreed-upon time, or any time they have a reason to be concerned, and ask them to check on their partner.

Harris said the program came out of discussions with supportive housing residents during an event she holds each summer in her son’s memory. She pitched the cost-free program to PHS in July 2018 and by November the trial was underway.

She praised PHS for already doing 24-hour checks at its supportive housing units but said she hopes the program helps push other housing operators to do better, too.

“(PHS is) doing it to give their tenants an extra layer of protection,” she said. “I think it’s amazing.”

Amid the overdose crisis, B.C. Housing updated contracts with supportive housing sites to require them to conduct health and wellness checks at least every 48 hours, and more frequently when deemed necessary.

But Harris believes 48 hours is inadequate. She keeps an eye on coroner reports, which recently indicated that in Vancouver 48 per cent of the people who died of an illicit-drug overdose since 2017 were in “other residences” such as social and supportive housing, SROs, shelters and hotels.

“I don’t believe that we, as a society, have done enough,” Harris said. “We need to give people the power to look after each other and this community. These people care about each other.”


Lindsey Longe, pictured here with his mother Christine Harris, was 30 when he died in supportive housing in 2012 in Vancouver.

Submitted: Christine Harris /

Vancouver

Margaret Mitchell Place resident Chris Middleton said he has a strong network of friends, family and staff who check on his well-being often, but knowing Got Your Back For Life has a “most-trusted person” regularly checking on him, too, puts his mind at ease.

“I have someone else looking out for me,” he said. “A lot of people don’t. They grow up in these buildings and they have no one that is willing to go ‘Hey, how are you?’”

Middleton believes the program is particularly good for people who might not leave their room too often, such as those who are elderly or disabled.

“It should be status quo,” he said. “Everybody would have their buddy that would check in on how they’re doing.”

The program also helps build community. When it came to Margaret Mitchell Place, it brought people together right away, said building manager Byron Slack.

“A lot of people knew each other in the building but hadn’t really congregated in the common spaces,” he said. “It was one of the first programs we brought into the building and it’s a way of empowering neighbours to be able to check up on their friends.”

Slack said staff check on residents on behalf of their loved ones whether or not they are in the program, but said the contract made between its participants, in honour of Longe, is especially meaningful.

“It’s been a really positive thing,” he said.

The program appealed to PHS because it was peer-driven and came at the height of the “prohibition crisis” behind B.C. overdose deaths, said Duncan Higgon, senior manager of housing.

It works as an overdose intervention tool, he said. For example, if partners score drugs from the same dealer, one might go back to their room, take them and come close to an overdose. With their Got Your Back For Life commitment in mind, they might be compelled to make sure their partner with potent drugs is OK.

Staff have embraced the program and it has the added benefit of engaging tenants in peer-to-peer work, Higgon said. Sometimes, tenants don’t like to ask staff for help, so an arrangement with a peer is more appealing.

“For us, that is very meaningful,” he said. “When we were presented with those opportunities, it was really exciting to trial.”

Higgon said PHS is developing trials at three other PHS modular-housing buildings. But there is potential for it to run at all 1,500 units of PHS housing. He would like to see it used to help homeless people, too.

“I really do see it as a uniquely beautiful, supportive and useful tool across a whole spectrum,” he said.

Harris believes that if just one life is saved by Got Your Back For Life, her program has done what it was designed to do.

“Lindsey, in the last while of his life, when he started hoarding, became very isolated,” she said.

“He was living in shame. To have had something that could have connected him with someone a little more tightly would have helped in many ways.”

[email protected]

twitter.com/nickeagland

CLICK HERE to report a typo.

Is there more to this story? We’d like to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Email [email protected]




Source link

22Nov

Abbotsford mom stuck in Ghana with adopted son hospitalized after MS flare-up

by admin

An Abbotsford, B.C. mother who was been stuck in Ghana for months as she waits for the Canadian government to process the paperwork that would allow her and her newly adopted son to come home has been hospitalized after her multiple sclerosis flared up earlier this week.

Kim Moran posted to Facebook Tuesday saying she had “lost normal feeling in both of my feet and both of my hands” the day before.

“I fell asleep last night in tears, sobbing; literally crying out to God to take it all away,” she wrote. “As I lay alone in an apartment in West Africa, I was gripped by fear; ‘Is this is beginning of disability for me? What does this mean for me as a new parent? How am I supposed to get medical care if I can’t get back to Canada?’”

Kim and her husband, Clark, recently adopted a young boy named Ayo from Nigeria. The couple travelled to Ghana on Aug. 1 to process the last bit of paperwork before they could bring him back to B.C.

Their file has been complete for weeks, but they’re still waiting for Canadian officials to approve it.

Clark left the West African country in September, not thinking he’d be away from his family for very long. Kim and Ayo have been in Ghana ever since.

When they first spoke to CTV News in October, Kim and Clark said they believed they filled out all the paperwork correctly and were told the last phase of the adoption process would take no more than a week.

In early November, Kim said she’s received a response from the office of Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen saying it “gives priority treatment to applications for adopted children,” but that the ministry could not give her a timeline for when she and Ayo would be allowed back to Canada.

Clark said he’d spoken with a federal immigration spokesperson who told him this is a fairly typical case and adoptions can take time because of the many of checks and balances involve.

The family’s story has made headlines and sparked outcry online. As of Thursday afternoon, a Change.org petition calling on the federal government to act had garnered more than 8,800 signatures.

Kim posted a photo of herself in a hospital bed Thursday, saying she’d been admitted for “testing, treatment and observation.”

“I’ll keep you posted, but in the meantime say a little prayer for me,” she wrote, adding that Ayo is staying with friends.

It’s still unclear when Kim and her son will be able to return to B.C.


Source link

This website uses cookies and asks your personal data to enhance your browsing experience.