Sarnia Christmas Parade
December 16, 2011
Hello friends at TESL London. Several people have expressed interested in our latest community-building event, so I thought I’d also pass this information along to you.
A number of our English language learners, friends, family, and staff participated in the December 3 Sarnia Kinsmen Parade of Lights for the first time. The parade theme was Christmas Around the World, so we thought it was a most appropriate time to show our city that “the world” lives right here in Sarnia.
To prepare for the parade, we first showed our learners a video of a previous night parade, since most of them had never attended one before. They were also given a reading which explained parade details and the rationale for being involved in it: cooperating on this project builds teamwork skills which are important to employers; it is an opportunity to show that newcomers desire to participate in and belong to our community; and it promotes our newcomer programs to others who need to know about them.
Learners assisted in lettering signs for their home countries, as well as signs wishing “Peace on Earth” in English and in their first languages. Preparing and dressing for winter was a timely topic in some classrooms in the week leading up to the parade.
On the day of the parade, many hands pitched in to decorate the YMCA bus with about 1000 lights, which we were grateful to borrow from YMCA staff and a local company. We were also grateful to our bus driver, who volunteered her time to drive in the parade.We walked in front of the bus carrying our signs, which were also lit with donated battery-operated lights. We had great fun walking the parade route, and many of the newcomers were encouraged to hear calls of “Welcome to Canada” along the way.
Submitted by Joleen Vanderheide