History of the foundation
A decade ago, a small group of individuals began a process of action, reflection, and consultation that drew them further and further into the life of newcomers to Canada. They became aware of the social realities faced by many new to Canada, with experiences ranging from those who simply needed more opportunities to develop communication skills to the extreme, but unfortunately common, experiences of many being isolated, lonely, and disconnected from any form of community life. This group responded by initiating a learning process that culminated in the formation of groups termed “English Corners.” English Corner emerged from their efforts to develop true friendships and build community life while mediating the effects of a sterile coldness that often dominates the interactions of foreign and Canadian-born inhabitants in an area. Those who initially nurtured its development applied a mode of learning that allowed the elements of English Corner to take shape: the primary components being the facilitators, the formally arranged space, the participants, and the conversation topic – a weekly theme on some aspect of community life together with a few quotes and discussion questions. In addition, community building activities outside of the formal meeting time are an essential and core component that is a crucial ingredient to English Corner. Furthermore, English Corner evolved by consciously avoiding over-dependence on physical resources and staying clear of preconceived formulas and rigid regulations. English Corner was designed to be like a seed that could be planted in any community by any willing facilitator with a learning attitude. In this way individuals seeking to be of service were empowered by its inviting simplicity, enthralled with the impact it had, affected by its ability to create deep friendships quickly, and as a result English Corner spread with ease.
As English Corners grew, an array of diverse activities began to emerge and organizational structure – Colibri Learning Foundation – was put in place to ensure that as human resources arose they could be systematically assisted to realize their initiatives and to facilitate the learning process that will enable those initiatives to become increasingly effective.