• Pathways to Leadership

Pathways to Leadership Supports the Unique Needs of Immigrant Single Mothers


Settling in a new country poses many challenges. Accessing community, employment, language and life resources isn’t an easy task for any newcomer, but it can be exponentially harder for single mothers.

In 2017 YWCA Metro Vancouver launched Pathways to Leadership, a pre-employment program that addresses the unique needs of immigrant single mothers. The program has had two successful cohorts in Vancouver, and with the support of an anonymous donor, the YWCA Pathways to Leadership program will expand its reach to foster positive change for immigrant single mothers in Surrey. For this program, participants won’t need a minimum ESL score and they can be in the process of obtaining their PR status.

“I had no status in Canada for about two years, and Pathways was the only program that I was eligible for with no cost. I am so grateful for taking the program, I met with other mothers and we formed a circle of support. This is so important when you are an immigrant single mother with no family and no support to take care of the kids.” – Program Participant

Over seven months, participants meet for 17 classroom sessions and up to five months of flexible mentorship. Participants receive information about employment, education and training resources in the area they live in. The program helps participants explore their interests, skills and strengths that will help them build a focused career plan that fits their life and goals in Canada. The mentorship component pairs participants with professional women who help them apply what they’ve learned in the program and follow through on the goals they’ve set.

At the end of the seven months, the participants present civic engagement projects on a wide range of topics, such as workshops on children’s mental health, tips on self-representation at court, or a cooking class. These projects help them realize they are capable of so much more than they think when it comes to being part of their community.

 “Pathways to Leadership made me became a stronger person. I am now more optimistic and confident to find my new career.” – Program Participant                                                                                                                      

For more information about Pathways to Leadership, contact Joann McKinlay at 604 895 5849 | jmckinlay@ywcavan.org

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