Two car-loads of mothers came to the board office in early Spring. The mothers, part of a group supported by community partner Adventure4Change, had requested to see the director to speak to him about their experiences of the work happening at the board. 

For board staff Executive Officer Eusis Dougan-Mckenzie, Human Rights Advisor Deepa Ahluwalia and Director jeewan chanicka, it was an opportunity to discuss the incredible work the group is doing to support children and families, as well as our shared goals in ensuring student achievement and belonging and making sure families experience a sense of belonging and inclusion in the WRDSB community.

“It was such a pleasure to welcome this incredible group to the WRDSB and really to have the opportunity to get to know one another and build relationships that we can grow for the betterment of our school community,” said chanicka. “This is really what our community outreach is all about.”

Adventure4Change is a community-minded organization that offers programming for children, youth, parents and families to become more engaged in the community and help grow vibrant neighbourhoods across the Waterloo region. Their mission is to contribute to a changing world by supporting those who are most marginalized in our community.

“A big part of what we do is to help parents from different backgrounds and cultures feel more comfortable and confident engaging in their school communities,” said Adventure4Change community engagement program facilitator Naheed Bibi.

The Mothers Group welcomes everyone for a variety of programs and activities that help people develop relationships, build friendships and family, and grow skills they can use as a parent and a member of the community. Some of these programs include coffee and conversation sessions, gym time, and lessons in sewing, computers and English language.

“We want all parents to feel comfortable and confident becoming an active member of their school community – whether that means volunteering or participating in school activities, or engaging with teachers and administration to be more involved in their child’s education journey. Our conversations today, what many of us are seeing happening for students in WRDSB is showing an openness and willingness to engage all members of our community. We appreciate this and we want to ensure our Adventure4Change families know just how they can reach out and get involved,” said Bibi.

Research shows that a parent’s engagement in their child’s education journey is very important. The incredible group at Adventure4Change helps parents and caregivers to learn English, understand how to navigate the school system, and to feel comfortable, confident and safe engaging with teachers and administrators at their school. They also provide after school support to students to help them with their learning.

During their time together, the Mothers Group surprised jeewan saying “We’ve heard a lot about you and we appreciate what the board is doing” and gifting him with two beautiful African Dashikis.

“I am honoured and humbled to have received such a beautiful and heartfelt gift; it is an incredible gesture to share something which was hand-made by members of our community. I look forward to wearing the Dashikis with pride,” said chanicka.

The Dashikis, which were hand-made in the Adventure4Change sewing class, both have vibrant patterns that embody and proudly demonstrate African culture. 

“It was clear from our short time together that the Mothers Group is more than just a community gathering, but more of a family. It was inspiring to hear how these women support one another and work together to create the best life for their children and their families,” said chanicka. “We are truly lucky to have Adventure4Change here in our community and I am grateful for their partnership. These partnerships are necessary if we want to ensure all students are successful.”