Programs & Services

Building Bridges

PIRS > Programs & Services > Women's Development > Building Bridges

The Building Bridges program is for immigrant women who have an upper-intermediate level of English and some experience or desire to work in a group or community setting. They have a well-developed awareness and experience of the immigration and settlement process, and are eager to share that experience as community leaders and cultural ambassadors in their communities. They want to learn and share in a multicultural group setting, and have good interpersonal skills. The program consists of 15 weeks of classroom activities and 20 hours practicum that take place concurrently. Successful participants must be committed to participating fully in both.

 Classroom Sessions include:

  • Concepts of Facilitation and Community Engagement
  • Settlement Processes & Immigration Services
  • Facilitation, Leadership and Power Styles
  • Working Effectively in a Cross Cultural/Intercultural Setting
  • Working with the Community
  • Exploring Employment Resources


Practicum Placement
Participants will be expected to take part in a 20 hours practicum placement in the community, where they will learn the skills and information required to become a role model for other immigrant women. This placement will be fully supported and arranged by PIRS.


Options Community Services Society
Training Room, 13520 – 78th Ave.
Surrey, BC  V3W 8J6
Jan. 25 – June 7, 2018
Thursday afternoon, 6:30 to 9:30 pm

Download: Building Bridges Flyer – Options Winter-Spring 2018

Information session
You will be invited to attend an information meeting, submit a résumé and cover letter, and participate in an interview. The course takes place evenings, and on various practicum schedules. There is a small fee, but some financial assistance is available.

To view our program schedules visit our PIRS Program Calendar.

What clients say about Building Bridges:

“I want to talk about the experience I had with the Responsible Adult Training. I was afraid to do it but blanca and Carmen teaching me all the skills were the push for me, and after that, I felt powerful. I thought I will never teach adults but upon doing the training, I found out that I also have another passion not just teaching children. Also, when I did my test about my career (MBTI), I realized that I was not that lost. The test showed me that I knew my self and my skills. It made me feel more powerful. Recently, I started facilitating a Latin program for children and parents and BB helped me feel that I can do it, and again, I felt really powerful and my confidence now is really high.”
~Michelle Uvence, 2014

“Before the start of the program, I did not know what to do. Now, after the program, I know what I need to improve on. I got the opportunity to do this is 3 steps: 1. I will study an English course; 2. I will find volunteer jobs; and 3. Take some more courses to get more information and skills.”
~Erika Infante, 2014

“In Building Bridges, I gained practical facilitation and cross-cultural knowledge and skills.  PIRS staff, and the women I met, encouraged me to believe in myself, to pursue my goals, and not to give up.  PIRS really does build bridges between people and cultures.”
~A program participant

“Building Bridges is a really good program.  It gave me inner strength to handle situations and achieve goals and go ahead with more confidence.”
~A program participant

“Thanks to the funders of Building Bridges who have opened the window and path which enable immigrants to access many different resources and look at many different things that we can learn and do in Canada. It has made our new lives here a lot easier and has shortened our ways to go back to the mainstream. The paths that are opened also allow us to dig further and choose our career choice in contributing to both the community and other immigrants. The program has also explored our abilities, talents and enthusiasm that can help us grow positively in Canada and eventually spread echoes of positive viewpoints and atmosphere to people. Regret Building Bridges is help once a year only. Wish it will have an advanced level or more BB in a year so that more new immigrants will be benefitted.”
~Esaine Mo, 2000

“More than anything, Building Bridges help us to build the strength and confidence we need to face the difficulties of our daily life. Also, the program worked as a bridge between us and the community we intend to serve.”
~Lilia Tercero, 1999

“I learn about group facilitation, working with adults from different cultural background, being responsible for my own learning. I find out more information regarding job opportunities. I get connected with neighbourhood houses in my community, so I have the feeling of belonging somewhere.”
~Vesna Radivojevic, 1996. (Read full text here.)