2021: A year of growth and transformation

Thanks to our growing community of families, students, partners and supporters, the year 2021 was filled with new and growing programs, further achievements from our students, and a lot of wonderful learning! We want to thank every person and organization who has joined us on our mission to transform lives of children and youth across British Columbia and provide them with expert, accessible and comprehensive learning supports 

In 2021, LDS continued to grow in order to fulfill our mission to serve all children and youth with learning differences. We saw a 30% increase in students supported by our programs, bringing the total to over 400 lives impacted throughout the year. To facilitate4 this growth, we welcomed many new instructors with diverse teaching expertise, new core team members to ensure our programs are run well and kept accessible, and new board members to help build our community and our depth of knowledge in many areas. 

2021 was also a year of finding innovative program offerings for an increasingly diverse student population. In June, LDS launched RISE TEAM, a life skills and employment transition program addressing the need to support teenagers graduating into the workforce or into higher education and offering meaningful volunteer opportunities to put their new skills into action. During the summer, we offered Intensive Intervention, a rigorous program designed to help students maintain and improve their foundational skills in preparation for the new school year. In the autumn, we brought to life LDS Access, an electric mobile classroom, bringing our RISE method of learning support right to students’ communities across the lower mainland. And in October, LDS launched Early RISErs, an early years education and intervention program to support growth in all aspects of a young child’s development, and guide parents in supporting their young child’s unique needs. We are taking our learnings from the first cohorts of these programs and applying them to further enhanced offerings throughout 2022! 

Collaboration, community, and new partnerships were also a theme of 2021. Many of our programs are only possible through the generous support we receive from individual and corporate donors and through grants. We were able to build partnerships with the University of Waterloo SIRRL on an exciting project investigating the impact of social robots on children’s learning and educational goals, and expand our partnership with the University of British Columbia to facilitate access to Psychoeducational Assessments for our families.  

Our workshops, outreach, and programming were made possible with community collaborations and support from Vancouver Public Library (VPL), Vancouver Society of Childcare Centres (VSOCC), Play Roly, and SmallTalk, among others. In 2021, our programs and impact received significant media coverage from outlets including CBC, Global, CTV, CKNW and Black Press.  

Every day we come to work at LDS because we are inspired by every aspect of our work. Through working with our students and families we have the honour and opportunity to make ongoing meaningful changes in the lives of children and youth with learning differences. This work provides us daily with opportunities to learn, grow, and collaboratively overcome challenges. We are so grateful and proud of how we have grown together. Thank you for your role in this success, and we look forward to sharing more successes with you as our journey continues!

– Rachel S. Forbes, Executive Director

LDS is a community of dedicated professionals that write collaboratively. We recognize the contribution of unnamed team members for their wisdom and input.