Welcome to the VPL Foundation

Donor Spotlight: Lifting Little Voices 

Donor Spotlight: Lifting Little Voices 

The Simon K.Y. Lee Foundation Gives the Gifts of Communication, Confidence, & Community to Local Families 

Have you ever felt the frustration of being unable to express yourself? Imagine the world through the eyes of a child, where words are scarce, and you don’t feel heard. Now, picture the profound impact that a couple of words, a favorite picture book, or a cherished song can have in bridging that gap. For toddlers and their families facing communication challenges, such moments can be life-changing. 

Every child is unique, and between the ages of 3 to 5, their abilities to communicate vary greatly. In the heart of Vancouver, a remarkable program known as Language Fun Storytime has been changing lives. This collaboration between Speech and Language Pathologists (SLPs) and the Vancouver Public Library (VPL) is designed to provide tailored storytime support to children aged 3 to 5 who are already receiving speech therapy through Vancouver Coastal Health. 

Through support from the Simon K.Y. Lee Foundation, this innovative program has touched countless local families, making a lasting and positive impact on the lives of young children and their families. 

A Sanctuary of Growth and Learning 

Language Fun Storytime isn’t just a program; it’s a sanctuary of growth, learning, and understanding for children who face communication challenges. What sets this program apart is the personalized attention each child receives and the supportive environment it offers to both children and their caregivers. With a limited group size of eight children, SLPs and children’s Librarians collaborate to provide individualized guidance and one-on-one support to each child. 

Traditional large storytimes can be overwhelming for children with behavioral or communication challenges. The intimate environment of Language Fun offers them a safe haven where they can relax and thrive. In the judgment-free atmosphere carefully cultivated by the librarian and SLP duo, children are empowered to engage with the stories and move their bodies as needed. 

Building Bonds and Confidence 

Rhea Lazar, co-developer of the program and a practicing Speech and Language Pathologist for over 37 years, emphasizes the importance of this acceptance and community for caregivers as well. She explains, “The parents feel great relief because we’ve given them permission to just be. For some of them, it is their first time experiencing a warm welcome in the community space.” 

This opportunity for connection is vital for the whole family. Rhea has witnessed the loneliness that caregivers often feel before they join the program: “The parents often feel isolated and think they’re the only ones with a child facing these challenges. Then, in Language Fun, they support each other in a beautiful way.” 

A Lifelong Gift for Families 

With community support, this program bestows lifelong gifts upon the children and their families. It nurtures communication skills that they will use every day, promotes a love of reading and storytelling that will aid in learning, exploration, and discovery beyond these formative years, and establishes a vital connection to the local Library and its Librarians that can benefit them throughout their lives. 

As Language Fun Storytime shapes the lives of children and families, it reminds us that transformation can begin with a story, a nurturing environment, and the unwavering support of a community. The Simon K.Y. Lee Foundation’s dedication to this program inspires us, as it affirms that positive change happens when individuals and organizations come together. 

Join the Journey of Transformation 

Become part of this heartwarming journey of transformation at the Vancouver Public Library, where every child’s voice is heard, and every family is welcomed.  

Make your own gift to lift little voices today.