In 1990, Thu Doan arrived in Canada from Vietnam. Formally trained as an accountant, she was unable to secure a similar position because she could not complete the required exams, due to her low language skills. As a result, she was forced into low skilled labour, working 12 hours shifts at a time, to provide for her family.
Not long after her second son, Allan, was born, he was diagnosed with autism. Soon after, Thu got divorced and was involved in a major accident, having to undergo neck surgery. She was no longer able to fully move her neck or to work. Her first son, Brian, was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder. He was failing in school and getting into trouble. Thu began to reprimand him, resulting in both Brian and Allan being put in foster care.
Thu was connected with CCIS during this time to assist with translation services. It was at CCIS that Thu began to receive the help she really needed. Thu was enrolled in Triple P (Positive Parenting Program), to learn the right balance between parenting in her native culture and Canadian culture. As Thu describes, “CCIS has helped our family obtain food, clothing, ways to get our family a more supportive income, and most importantly, a way for us to find out more about correct discipline in Canadian society, as opposed to traditional culture in other countries, and the amount of possible community involvement to assist immigrants, such as us. The programs offered are very helpful, and meaningful.”
Special recognition is given to Tulan Do, CCIS’ Family Support Counsellor, for her huge influence on the family. Their relationship has developed past CCIS and Thu considers Tulan her big sister – providing unprecedented guidance, support and encouragement.
To date, Brian is a proud member of the Army Cadets and is on the honour roll at school. Allan has received an award for respect in the classroom. Thu and her family continue to attend the recreational programs at CCIS and build on their relationship.
“CCIS has done a lot to help our family succeed, and has been there for us in times of need. Our family is very proud and happy to be a part of CCIS. I hope my story allows others to know that they are not alone. CCIS is always a welcoming and comfortable helping hand.”