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Summer 2022 Community News

Welcome to CCI-LEX Community News!

What a busy summer it has been!

Not only did we return to an in-person Annual General Meeting after two years online, but we were also able to come together for our Summer Celebration at the Legislature Grounds once again.

We have also been super excited to go on some of our favourite field trips this summer, like visiting the Art Gallery and spending a day at Elk Island Park, as well as re-starting our community volunteer activities for students at places such as the Hope Mission and the Mustard Seed.

It has been amazing to get back to these events and have face to face connections with old and new friends, students, and teachers alike!

It’s hard to believe that we are already preparing for a new September term, and it is shaping up to be a busy one!  We look forward to welcoming our returning students and volunteers, as well as many new faces to CCI-LEX this fall.  We’ll see you soon!

Happy Reading,

Anne-Marie Kallal, Executive Director



Highlights from our 2022 Annual General Meeting

“Unfailing dedication, significant contributions and innovative thinking”


After two years of online meetings, our return to an in-person Annual General Meeting (AGM) was a highly anticipated event for all of our volunteers, students, and staff.  For the first time, we hosted our AGM in the newly reconstructed Stanley A. Milner library that opened in 2020. It was a night of reflection, celebration, and anticipation as we reminisced about the past year of success! Please continue reading for more detailed highlights of the night!

Located straight across from our usual venue, City Hall, our Annual General Meeting took place in the library’s spacious and elegant Community Room. A change in venue brought about an exciting opportunity for our students to tour the library, learn about its various services, and interact with the impressive digital screen located in the library lobby. Following our tour, many students signed up for their own EPL library cards to gain access to their amazing services, workshops and events!

Prior to the 6pm business meeting, guests had the opportunity to catch up with those that they hadn’t seen in many months. With our higher level LEX classes being online, several students and teachers met each other for the first time in-person! A slideshow with photo highlights from the past year played on the wall as guests trickled in and took their seats.

Board President, Debjani Poddar Hannigan, shared her President’s Report.  She touched on various committee accomplishments from the past year, including the successful completion of our new 2022-2025 strategic plan and the signage of a multi-year funding agreement. Another exciting announcement was how our Fund Development and Community Engagement Committee was able to double the previous years’ donations for the Great Canadian Giving Challenge, as well as surpass our total donation goal for the year, hooray!

Next, our Executive Director, Anne-Marie Kallal, gave her message, touching on various goals and achievements of the last year.  Not only did we run our programs consistently, welcoming new students while navigating difficult health and policy decisions, but we even hosted our own pop-up vaccine clinic at the school!  She highlighted the team’s objective in improving outcomes for our newcomer students, as well as strengthening the long-term sustainability of CCI-LEX.  Things like supporting digital literacy, better connecting our learners to community resources and employment, as well as actively exploring community partnerships and collaboration were all explored in the past year and will continue to guide our goals in the new year!

Similar to past years, the most memorable part of the night was when our students shared their personal stories! This year, Alain Cuizon, a previous student and current volunteer teacher in the LEX program shared about his struggles as a new immigrant. He eventually found a home at CCI-LEX and is now able to pursue his passion of teaching!

Next we had the stories of the winners from our My Success in Canada Writing Contest.  Two students, Adriana Gonzalez and Ivan Velasquez, both took time out of their busy days to share their stories of success with our guests!  Hats off to these two brave students who spoke of their experiences in front of such a big crowd in their second language! We also enjoyed the stories of four other students, Adriana, Agere, Hawa and Nirmalasthuthi, via video.  Lastly, there were heart-warming impromptu presentations by two LEX students, Soman and Angeline, who spoke about the positive impact CCI-LEX has had on them.  In our next story you can watch or read about the successes of all of the winners from our writing contest!

Overall, exploring a new venue and coming back in-person for our Annual General Meeting was very exciting for us! Thank you to those who joined us for this lovely evening, especially those who shared their stories and voiced their love and appreciation for CCI-LEX. We hope you can all join us again next year!


My Success in Canada 2022! 

Dreams do come true… even during a worldwide pandemic!


It was a challenging year for our students who dealt with transitions between online and in-person learning, while also navigating the pandemic and all the changing rules and policies.  Amongst these changes, they demonstrated great perseverance in the face of adversity and once again, we are so, so proud to share their stories of success in Canada with you!

CCI-LEX makes it a priority to support newcomers in their pursuit of a new life in Canada. The various challenges faced by our students such as isolation, cultural differences, as well as language barriers, were heightened during the pandemic. Each year, we celebrate the successes (big and small!) of our students with our My Success in Canada writing contest! This year, we received many submissions from students in both our LEX and CCI programs, with a total of 7 winners and 11 honorable mentions!  Let us introduce you to our 7 winners…

Our first winner from the LEX program is Adriana Gonzalez, a student from Venezuela. A student in our Intermediate morning class, Adriana took on some huge challenges moving here to Canada, battling icy sidewalks and getting a new driver’s license! Click on this link below to hear Adriana share her story of how she became a “child” again in Canada as she adjusted to a new life by learning things and how she overcame these challenges with humility, perseverance and positivity!

Our second winner is also named Adriana and she is from our CCI Advanced class! Adriana Rodriguez comes from Colombia and has faced various obstacles in her journey to studying here in Canada. Overcoming disappointment and the fear of never achieving her dream to come to Canada, Adriana never gave up on her dreams over the years and she is currently studying in Toronto after completing her ESL studies at CCI-LEX! Click on this link below to listen to her inspiring story!

Our third winner is Agere Tadele Anteneh! She came from Ethiopia and was studying in our LEX High Beginner class. Her story is short and sweet as she describes her experience arriving in Canada knowing no English, but slowly, her studies here have allowed her to speak and write in English and have even helped her land a part-time job! Here is her story:

Our fourth winner, Hawo Abdi Elmi comes from Somalia and is our only winner from our LEX Low Beginner class! Adjusting to her life in Canada with her children, Hawo shares about successes in her life before and after she learned English at CCI-LEX!

Nirmalasthuthi Menon is our fifth winner and is a bright, young man from India who hopes to complete his high school studies here in Canada! He shares about his past struggles and also the hope that he feels now while studying at CCI-LEX. Please click on the video below to hear his story:

Our sixth winner is Ivan Velasquez.  Ivan is from Colombia and studies in our CCI Intermediate A class. He shared his story in front of a large crowd at our Annual General Meeting! He shares his experiences about living up to family expectations and his joy in his transitions to life here, and shares his aspirations to stay in the beautiful country of Canada. You can read Ivan’s story or watch a recording of it using the link’s below:

Last, but not least, is Carolina Giraldo from the CCI Program. She studied in our Intermediate B class and since her relocation to Canada from Colombia, she has found great success in overcoming challenges such as her first pregnancy and overcoming the language barrier as a newcomer. Not only did she meet new friends and felt empowered to make her own appointments in English, she also fulfilled her dreams of opening her own coffee business here in Edmonton! Although we don’t have a recording of Carolina’s story, you can read her full story of success on p17 of our Annual Report here:

2022 Annual Report



The Summer Celebration Returns

Face-painting, balloon animals, hotdogs and potato-sack races! 

After nearly a month of rain, it was a lovely summer day on July 15th where over a hundred students, staff, and volunteers met at the Legislature Grounds for our annual Summer Celebration! Students brought their friends and families to this amazing outdoor event to celebrate the coming of summer! It was definitely a day to remember since our last celebration happened over two years ago! Continue reading to hear more about our event!

The CCI-LEX Summer Celebration is always one of our biggest events of the year! Students brought their friends and family to the picnic and all guests enjoyed a delicious hot dog from Fat Franks as well as a variety of other snacks! The ice cream, watermelon and pop were much needed and helped us stay cool in the thirty degree weather. It was a nostalgic moment seeing our students, volunteers and teachers all together, eating and gathering around the picnic tables again!

Our summer student, Sarah, led a few games of our classic potato-sack race for the children, with a few adults eventually joining in the fun and games! After that, many rounds of soccer led to some stunning goals and amazing teamwork between newly made friends! The fun didn’t stop here for the kids, as the longest lineup besides the hot dog stand was the one for the face painter! The long line of eager children could be seen from across the bandshell stage! From proud Colombian flags to Marvel heroes to elegant butterflies, each drawing was a unique masterpiece!

Alongside our amazing face painter was our longtime friend, Choo Choo the clown, with his bright red nose and irresistible humor and antics that brightened up everyone’s faces! His balloon creations were a fun addition to our party and left many children with a proud sword or colorful flower to take home for the day!

Thank you so much to all our volunteers who helped us set-up, clean-up and hand out refreshments during this event! We hope all volunteers, teachers and students enjoyed the celebration and we look forward to sharing more amazing memories with all of you!


Student and Teacher Stories

See the Student and Teacher Stories on the Our Stories Page of our website.

Coming from a culture where women are often limited in how they can express themselves, Jila turned to teaching as a way to get creative. Learn more about Jila’s fresh and unorthodox methods of learning and “making intangible things tangible”!

Read More

Johana was a CCI-LEX student that studied at CCI-LEX in 2019. After taking part in two of our CCI program classes she has now achieved her goal of becoming a Registered Nurse in Canada!  Read more about Johana’s experience with CCI-LEX below!

Read More

Volunteers Needed: Casino Fundraiser!

We are now officially recruiting volunteers for our Casino Fundraiser! On October 22 & 23rd, we will have our casino fundraiser at Century Casino on Fort Road. Revenue from Casinos has become an essential part of our budget, providing much needed support for our general operating expenses. Working 1 casino shift is like donating $2200 to CCI-LEX!


  • 40 volunteers are needed, morning, afternoon, evening, and into the wee hours (late night is where we need the most help!)
  • Volunteers must be 18+ or older
  • Volunteer roles are straightforward tasks, no experience is necessary, there is always a professional advisor on-site to assist us
  • Variety of roles from bringing gambling chips to tables, to counting cash – see attachment about roles
  • Volunteers do not work the gambling/card tables (ex. you are not a card dealer)

To sign up for a shift, visit our sign-up sheet.

Upcoming Dates

LEX Program Starts –  September 6, 2022

CCI-LEX Casino Fundraiser – October 22 & 23, 2022

Winter Celebration – December 2, 2022


In March, CCI-LEX launched “Club Lexicon”, a monthly giving program for supporters of CCI-LEX to make their donations simpler. If you’re interested, we encourage you to join the club!

Join Club Lexicon


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