Vancouver elementary school program brings parents together
'Just spending that little extra time in the school is making a difference'
A little program is making a big difference for some families at a school in East Vancouver.
Tuesday Tea at the inner-city Grandview Elementary School, which has a largely vulnerable population, brings parents together to offer a supportive environment.
"These ladies, they've had hard lives, or they're having a hard time, so we're all kind of super supportive of each other," said Donna Mah, the school's neighbourhood assistant.
"It's kind of a little counselling pit."
Mah founded the program a few years ago. She said it's not unusual to see parents and grandparents sit around a table in the school foyer passing babies around, sipping coffee, and chatting.
"It's about parental support," she said.
The school provides the food and drinks, and the families come and talk. The point is to connect families with each other and with the education system to build trust and community. And it seems to be working.
"I love it. It's helped me connect with other family members in the community and my elders," said participant Virginia Jack.
The school also believes supporting parents leads to success for their kids — an idea parent Chrisse Oleman agrees with.
"I find myself getting my child more involved with extra curricular activities at the school ... even just spending time to look at the art that my kid does, you know?" said Oleman.
"Just spending that little extra time in the school is making a difference."
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This story is part of a special CBC Vancouver News series, What's Your Story? The series focuses on issues pitched by our audience about what matters to them.
With files from Stephanie Mercier