Humble beginnings

The Coalition for Equal Access to Education started as a grassroots community organization in 1993 that advocated against funding cuts to ESL education in Alberta.

Our evolution

For the past 26 years, we have been at the forefront of developing better access to education and civic engagement opportunities for immigrant and ethnocultural children and youth.

Our Vision

Canada and Alberta fully benefit from well-developed immigrant and ethnocultural children and youth.

Our Mandate

To facilitate equal access of immigrant and ethnocultural children and youth to quality education and civic engagement opportunities.

Strategies

Participation

Mobilize, involve, and support immigrant and ethnocultural youth, families, communities and allies.

Policy

Conduct insightful research, analyze, and influence policies related to education and civic engagement.

Practice

Develop effective practices grounded on the experiences of youth and families.

Partnership

Collaborate with organizations involved with in educating institutions and the public for change.

Participation

Mobilize, involve, and support immigrant and ethnocultural youth, families, communities and allies.

Policy

Conduct insightful research, analyze, and influence policies related to education and civic engagement.

Practice

Develop effective practices grounded on the experiences of youth and families.

Partnership

Collaborate with organizations involved with in educating institutions and the public for change.

Our Board

Our members are grounded on the experience and insights of the population that we serve and the communities with which we collaborate.

Our Board

Hieu Van Ngo
Board Chair

Hieu is known as an advocate for diversity and inclusion, and as a community builder. Over the years, he has supported a number of organizations, such as Action Dignity, Calgary Foundation, All Nations Theatre, Centre for Newcomers, Asian Heritage Foundation, and Calgary Vietnamese Youth Association. He received a number of awards for his work, including the Terry Fox Humanitarian Award, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Scholarship, and Izaak Walton Killam Scholarship Award.  Hieu is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Calgary

Rita Yembilah
Vice Chair

Rita is a Senior Researcher at the Canadian Poverty Institute, Ambrose University, where she investigates topics on poverty, marginalization and social vulnerability. She is also an adjunct assistant professor of Development Studies at the University of Calgary. She joined the board of the Coalition for Equal Access to Education in 2018, and shortly thereafter, was voted to the position of vice-Chair of the Board. She is passionate in education in its various manifestations as a foundational aspect of human development.

Elaine Balogun
Secretary

Elaine is a student at Mount Royal University, completing her final year of a B.A in Psychology, with a double minor in Anthropology and Women and Gender Studies. With a passion for leadership and community engagement, she has taken on a variety of roles throughout her degree, serving as a mentor, Student Success Ambassador, and Peer Mental Health Educator. A firm believer in the power of people to serve as agents for social change within their communities, Elaine is an avid advocate for various mental health and ethnocultural youth initiatives.

Femisola Ayeleso
Treasurer

Femisola is a student at Mount Royal University (MRU) and is currently in her fourth year of study, majoring in General Science with a minor in International Business. Femisola is also the founder of the African Caribbean Student Affiliation (ACSA) at MRU. She is also a full-time Peer Health Educator for the University’s wellness services and is driven by the department’s vision and mission.

David Este
Director

Dave joined the Faculty of Social Work in 1992. Prior to obtaining his doctorate, he was employed as a medical social worker and a researcher. He has taught at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels, including courses in social work practice with immigrants and refugees, management of human service organizations, qualitative research methods and mental health. Dave is involved in a number of national multi-site research projects including the New Canadian Children and Youth Study, The Racism, Violence and Health Study, The Father Involvement Research Alliance and the Experiences of Visible Minority Social Workers in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario.

Rubirose Ong
Director

Rubirose has been in the non-profit sector for more than a decade. She worked on issues and programs on the environment, volunteerism, youth, immigrants and refugees and is an advocate for cultural diversity. Her former affiliations include Greenpeace Southeast Asia, Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) and Ban Toxics.  She is currently the Program Coordinator for the Initiative for Diversity, Inclusion and Equity (INDIE) at Action Dignity. Her volunteer work is focused on the Youth Empowerment Program and the Fiesta Filipino Program Committee under the Philippine Festival Council of Alberta.

Anne-Marie Pham
Director

Anne-Marie is a first generation immigrant, having lived in Vietnam and France before coming to Canada at the age of 15. She is the Director of Knowledge Solutions at the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion (CCDI), a national charity that specializes in supporting Canadian workplaces to be more diverse and inclusive. She is also the board director at the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, co-founder of the Calgary Vietnamese Youth Association, and on the steering committees of the Asian Professional Network of Calgary and the Calgary Diversity & Inclusion Network. She is passionate about fostering engaged, inclusive and ethical community and business leaders.

Hetty Roessingh
Director

Hetty was born in Indonesia but immigrated to Canada with her family at a young age. She completed her BEd, MA and PhD at the University of Calgary between 1968 and 1996, and taught English as a second language at the high school level until 2000, when she joined the Faculty of Education at U of C. Hetty offers her expertise to Alberta Education (ESL Avisory committee, AUA representative) and is active in a number of Charter schools that have high numbers of ELLs. Staff development, classroom based research, and engaging pre-service teachers in service learning opportunities are the focus of her work.

Christa Sato
Director

Christa completed her MSW at the University of Calgary with a specialization in international and community development. She is passionate about working with immigrant and ethnocultural populations. Her research interests include promoting access to higher education among children of immigrants, understanding intergenerational relationships among first and second generation racialized Canadians, and reducing stigma of mental health among racialized communities. She has served as a board member with the Coalition for Equal Access to Education since September 2016.

Our Funders

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