Submitted by Lisa Wang, SWIS Coordinator
After a seven-week period, the SWIS Workers are back in the office, connecting with clients and schools, and getting busy with loads of tasks in preparation for fall. The SWIS team was missed very much by the clients and the ICA summer working crew.
For the SWIS program, this summer was a totally new experience. It was great to have one SWIS member in the office to carry on with the remaining activities and to meet the needs of the many newly arrived clients, as well as existing clients.
The summer started with a successful Seaparc Special Free Swimming session on July 9, organized by the ICA SWIS program in collaboration with the SD62 ELL program and Seaparc Aquatic Program, for our Westshore and Sooke newcomer families. Five families and 11 children attended. The families were very happy to learn about the recreation program during the Aquatic Programmer‘s introduction. During the session, a lifeguard provided swimming-level assessments for the newcomer children. Families were assisted with LIFE program applications, and they were very excited to learn they could register their children in swimming lessons with a discount.
It was also wonderful to see newcomer families connecting socially, which was one of our goals for this event. Special thanks to Megan, the SWIS Worker, for the initial communication and for planning for this event, and to Nabeela, a Youth Worker, for attending and assisting.
During the rest of the seven weeks, the SWIS program provided services to 46 families, including 24 new families and 95 school-aged children. There are about 51 school-aged children from these new families and 33 of these children needed assistance with school registration in the three school districts. There were also many inquiries from existing clients regarding summer activities, school transfers, and special support for their children in the coming school year. Several registrations were done for new clients during the first week after school closed, as schools were still open for registration. After the schools closed, newcomer families received information about their catchment schools and the documents required for registration, and they were reassured that one of the SWIS workers would assist them once schools reopened.
I was very happy and excited to be able to provide so many direct services to the new families as well as the existing clients. It was a really busy and challenging summer, and I have to say big thank-you to the amazing Settlement team and Intake/Front Desk team for their referrals and support all summer.
I am happy to see the SWIS team back for the new school year. I believe our good teamwork shows in our cheerfulness, effectiveness, and the happiness of our clients.