This summer, the Acadia Community Learning Program hosted 65 participants in an English language program created for newcomer families in the Annapolis Valley.
The Acadia Community Learning Program (ACLP) was launched in 2016 in response to the sudden influx of refugees from Syria and other parts of the Middle East and Africa. Summer language programs for parents and children, however, are not available in the Valley through federally and provincially funded programs because of a lack of funding in rural areas.
To fill the gap over the past four summers, the ACLP has delivered English language classes to newcomer families in the Annapolis Valley, providing classes for adults and children of all ages. Enrollment has grown from 37 participants in 2016 to 65 participants this summer. This program continues to grow because of the return of families from past years of the program, and the arrival of many new families in the area. Some of our previous participants have gone on to study at NSCC and Acadia University because of connections made during this program. Other participants have now found employment, started businesses, and bought homes in the area.
While this type of programming falls outside the scope of typical Acadia University offerings, the need and the direct benefit that this type of program has on our greater community has been recognized. Program organizers are grateful to have other community-minded volunteers and organizations (YREACH, VCLA, Campaign for Kids, and Mud Creek Rotary) to help continue supporting new neighbours as they establish their lives in the Valley, ensuring that they have access to learning.