EMPOW3R Is A Cost-Free Employment Program That Prepares Adults For Careers In Early Childhood Care And Education

Early Childhood Educators Are In Demand In BC

Learn More About the EMPOW3R Program

Read Our 2023 EMPOW3R Report

We Understand That The State Of Childcare On A National And Local Level Has Reached Acute Proportions.

In 2020, we decided to carve a niche in the Early Childhood Education Sector due to the overwhelming need and response from the communities we serve. We understood that the state of childcare nationwide continue to reach acute proportions with the lack of affordable childcare, professional childcare staff, and childcare space. EMPOW3R is our modest contribution to Canadian families in helping address this situation.

EMPOW3R is an all-encompassing wrap-around programming for women who wish to work with children, pursue a career, & get out of poverty. Our participants who are self-identifying as survivors of violence, abuse, and trauma sometimes continue to face these challenges in their lives. And it is how and where we ground our work; through a sense of belonging, care, compassion, and empathy. Friendly and professional EMPOW3R staff provide participants with support in their journey into mental healing, social, and economic transformation. EMPOW3R provides participants opportunities to connect among themselves and to the wider community.

Career Exploration

We provide quality short term training to be an ECE-A. We provide entrepreneurship track into the ECE sector. We supplement participants with added value training in the childcare sector such as Responsible Adult and home daycare trainings.

Job Search

We provide expertise in helping guide job seekers enter the childcare sector through our job readiness workshops and connections with daycare operators. Theoretical and hands-on training is provided  to ensure a well-rounded job search experience.

Life Skills

EMPOW3R provides life skills training to our participants who may have experienced or continue to experience employment barriers due to mental health, poverty, trauma, English language, and computer literacy skills. We discuss topics on leadership, diversity, culture, and equity.

EMPOW3R Assists In Finding Employment, Economic Sustainability, And Enhancing Wellness through a Hybrid of Online and In-person Training.

Prepare Yourself For Your Own Childcare Business At Your Own Home!

EMPOW3R for childcare workers is open to individuals who wish to receive training to work in a variety of childcare settings such as School Age Care, Family Drop-In Centres, or as support in Licensed Child Care Facilities. Candidates also have opportunities in preparing for their own childcare business at their own homes!

As well, this program assists participants in finding employment, economic sustainability, and enhancing wellness through online classroom training. We promote peer support throughout this training. It is not uncommon that our participants become friends as they journey together.

Topics included in the 6-8 weeks of training:

At the end of the 6 to 8-week group workshop, participants receive the following certifications:

Other Available Supports:

We Connect Jobseekers With Employment Opportunities And Specialized Support.

EMPOW3R Is Delivered By Kiwassa Neighbourhood House In Partnership With Vancouver Eastside Educational Enrichment Society (VEEES).

This program is specifically tailored for adults who have experienced forms of violence, abuse, and trauma, and who are looking to find meaningful and rewarding employment. We are ably supported by Burnaby Community and Continuing Education as our primary training partner.

We work with jobseekers to build confidence, relationships and provide access to resources. We connect jobseekers with employment opportunities and specialized support.

Our Team

Adaeze Oputa

Job Developer, EMPOW3R

Lysandra Chan

Trauma Counsellor, EMPOW3R

Shannon Enns

Facilitator, EMPOW3R

Contact Us To Learn More About EMPOW3R

Contact Kiwassa Neighbourhood

Phone number: 604-254-5401

Email: empow3r@kiwassa.ca

Address: 2425 Oxford Street

Vancouver, BC V5K 1M7


Dubraska Gamboa

EMPOW3R Participant 2022

Hi! My name is Dubraska Gamboa from Venezuela, South America. For more than 20 years, I worked in my home country in the tourism sector with my last position as an executive secretary at one of the largest energy company in Venezuela.

I left my country to get married and moved to India and Malaysia for work. In 2014, I moved to Canada. My experience living in Vancouver had its challenges as I struggled with the weather, culture, language, and divorce. I am a survivor having lived under an abusive relationship. I did receive a lot of support back then, but I continued to struggle. I lived in a transition house during that period which game me peace and support. However, it was still a very frustrating and traumatic part of my life with the divorce, plus, having experienced a car accident at the same time. I persevered in life not only so I can be strong for myself, but also for my daughter.

I continued to work on myself by upgrading my English because I believe that this was a gate way to get more independence. I volunteered with nonprofit organizations, and this led me to obtain a certificate called Responsible Adult and First Aid in order to be able to work with kiddos. Between the years of 2019 – 2021, after working with 4 families and their lovely children, I realized that I wanted to pursue childcare especially after encouragements from the family I worked with.

My philosophy in childcare is that a mother’s or an adult’s responsibilities over children is about education and guiding them at an early age. With care and love I’d like to teach them core values to make them better people. The values that I received in my childhood are reflected with my expression of love, equality, tolerance, respect, and equality. This is the foundation of every child. I like to teach children with play, fun, music, and dance to encourage their creativity with positive communication.

In January 2022, I came across this incredible opportunity to start a course in Early Childhood Education called Guiding and Caring. This course was taught by Burnaby Community and Continuing Education (BCCE) through a program called EMPOW3R by Kiwassa Neighbourhood House. This program is generously funded by the Province of BC thru the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training.

Thank you, Canada, for being an incredible country where opportunities are provided to new Canadians like me. While there are many bad things we experience in life, they’re all but a part of the process of living our lives.

Marketa Soldat

EMPOW3R Program Partner

I am pleased to share my personal and professional reflection on the progress of the partnership between the Early Childhood Education Program at Burnaby Community and Continuing Education (BCCE), and EmPow3r Employment Services Program.

The partnership has been proven as a successful collaborative practice in support of quality training for Early Childhood Educator Assistant students. From my experience with admissions, all students supported by the EmPow3r program demonstrate high interest for the early childhood care and education. The students show dedication throughout their studies and appreciation for the funding opportunities. All students are keen with positive attributes to learn and contribute to the early learning settings in their communities. It has been rewarding to see the academic progress and strong participation of each cohort during Introduction to the British Columbia Learning Framework and ECE3130 Guiding and Caring courses. I appreciate the additional support that students receive throughout the program and mentorship from the EmPow3r team and BCCE ECE instructors, as our values for community of practices approach, diversity and inclusive practices align.

It is truly heartwarming to see the impact that our partnership constantly provides. Many of the ECE assistant students continue with their studies towards the full ECE basic certification. We currently have four students from the same cohort successfully moving through the day full-time Basic Certificate Program. There are also currently three students that are attending evening sessions part-time, and three students requesting for start on January 29. I, like majority of the ECEA students, moved to Canada 20 years ago and had to restart my training to meet the licensing requirements for BC ECE Educators. I was supported by many mentors throughout diverse organizations. It led to my educational upgrade and successful long-term career in ECE. I am proud to be part of this partnership, not only as I can relate to the students, and their needs for support, but also in giving back to my community. The program influences well-being of the students and their families, it also positively influences children in care. The successful stories of individual students, the advocacy of our partnership, the quality of childcare, and inclusive practices are asset to the early childhood care education in BC.

Nour Alibasha

EMPOW3R Participant 2021

I’m actually an accounting graduate before I came to Vancouver. Due to my low English proficiency I was not able to upgrade my profession. I then attended VCC to learn more English and I had the plan to finish level 8 and then take many courses to improve my skills and then find a suitable job. I got pregnant and had to stop everything due to my health condition. I was a stay at home Mom waiting till I have another chance to get back and improve my English and skills.

EMPOW3R gave me support to start again and build myself. My life was getting better as I had the motivation and hope  to be strong and think about my future and career. EMPOW3R program provided me psychological and financial support and the opportunity to grow and volunteer at a local preschool. Throughout this time, I enjoyed meeting new people and feeling that I have the full support of EMPOW3R staff.

At home, since I have my daughters who I have to take care of, it was hard for me to find a job that’s suited to my schedule as I could work only part time in the morning. So I thought to start taking care of children at my place. At that time my home didn’t have enough room. I started looking for an alternate place to live and run my business. After moving to a new home, I registered with WCCRC to get training on how to run my own daycare at home. It took around four months to get it all done.

Lysandra Chan

EMPOW3R Trauma Counsellor

I have run Five EMPOW3R Support Circles and despite that each session has not exceed more than six participants, the circle becomes a platform for any participant to join when they can and it also gives an opportunity for participants to learn more about the circle, me as a counsellor, and other participants from their own cohort or from other cohorts. Furthermore, when participants rejoin the circle, they would express that they have benefited from it and want to continue to join the circle but due to circumstances such as work, school, or the me of the circle, they may not be able to participate. There were also some participants who reached out to do one-to-one counselling sessions because they have benefited from the circle and would like to work on personal issues rather than to work out in a group setting. Hence, the circle has become a steppingstone to start and transition to one-to-one counselling. As per one-to-one counselling,

I do recognize that it is not easy for participants to reach out because it is not easy to become vulnerable to a stranger, like a counsellor. Hence, for those who have reached out for counselling service, they needed a lot of courage to be able to take the step. Some of them who have reached out have never done counselling before and through the counselling experience, they have shared that they were able to benefit and work on their issues. Of course, there were also a few participants who have tried one-to-one counselling and have decided not to continue due to different circumstances such as not being ready, not finding it helpful, not having me, and so forth. Those are all valid reasons, and it is understandable. Overall, I have received feedback from many of the clients I have seen that the counselling services have helped them in some ways - having someone to listen without judgement, having gained more awareness, having more tools to deal with stress, having experienced counselling, having more understanding about counselling, and the list goes on. It is my great pleasure to be able to be part of the journeys of these resilient women.