International Gateway Kelowna has opened its doors to Ukrainian refugees who want to learn English as a second language, and so far, the response has been very positive.
“It is good. I think it is a very good program because we have five hours a day to learn writing, reading, listening and speaking. It’s very important to speak English, it’s very helpful for my own life," said Krystsina, a Ukrainian refugee.
The school says it is working to expand its teaching staff and classroom availability to accommodate the influx of refugees, and it’s in search of funding to help meet its current demand.
“For the beginner courses we’ve been having to open up new courses for them, and we just don’t feel comfortable charging them for that or they don’t have the ability to pay at this time, so we’re looking for corporate donations to help support at least the cost of the teacher," explained the school's director of recruitment, Blaine Melnyk.
Melnyk says new Ukrainians are showing up each and every morning eager and ready to learn how to speak English.
“They’re just so thrilled to be here and they recognize the honesty, you know? They recognize the honesty with the teachers and everyone else here as we open the doors and come on in, you know, it’s just become a real safe haven for them, and we just feel so blessed to even have that opportunity to see such an impact in such a short period of time, and just that day-to-day heartwarming feeling."
Corporations looking to support International Gateway Kelowna are encouraged to reach out to the school directly.