The Seven Oaks Adult Learning Centre is becoming an adult itself and moving out of its current location at Maples Collegiate.
Construction workers are currently building a new site for the learning centre at 950 Jefferson Ave., in front of Value Village and Giant Tiger. Learning centre staff has been told that construction will be complete by the end of December.
"January 24 will be our first day in there, I think," says Fran Taylor, director of the SOALC, says.
Jose Chinchilla, a settlement worker at the SOALC, says, "Maples Collegiate is a nice location, but that location would be even better because it’s close to McPhillips."
The new location will also be more easy for people to find as opposed to its current location, tucked away and hidden inside Maples Collegiate.
The SOALC is going to need the extra space because its client list has expanded over the past five years since it has been open.
"We have 13 classes and 300 students," Chinchilla says. "We have more clients because now we’re getting referrals from our old clients. We helped a group of students and then those students talk to other students and then they bring their friends."
One SOALC student is Maria Augustina Chona Posadas Amador, simply known as Chona Amador, a former dentist from the Philippines. She has been coming to the SOALC for the past two weeks to participate in the Neighbourhood Immigrant Settlement Program (NISP), which helps immigrant and refugee families in the Seven Oaks area find employment, housing, and other things with which newcomers may need assistance.
"We came over last December 3 with my children and husband," Amador says. "I’m looking for work, so I really find it hard how to deal with looking for a job. But personally, I can do anything."
This is true; her resume covers a wide range of skills and activities. Apart from being a dentist in the Philippines, Amador was a prime organizer in a basketball workshop for kids called the Basketball Efficiency Scientific Training (BEST) program back in her hometown of Manila.
But those qualities do not easily translate into Canada. Fortunately, Amador says she has been volunteering at events that are related to her previous profession with the help of Sally Nelson, another settlement worker at NISP.
"She got me in touch with the Manitoba Dental Association. On October 20 they had this program for Open Wide Day, and I volunteered myself for the whole day," she says.
For more information about the SOALC or the NISP, visit 7oaks.org.