Newcomers in Ottawa – Newcomers’s Story – Meet Tu Vuong – Founder of Lead Your Way

We are the Newcomers in Ottawa community – If you are new to town, you will find support, meet-ups, and information to help you!
This article is part of a project called Newcomers, Stories, where we share, learn and support newcomers!
Meet Tu Vuong  –  She is an educator with nearly 20 years experience overseas and locally. She has worked in a number of capacities in education including K-12 ESL consultant, educator trainer and teacher and advocate for newcomer families and students. She has been a lead in various projects with the Ontario Ministry of Education, Apple Education and local school boards.

As an immigrant to Canada from Vietnam, I understand how important it is for newcomer students to be empowered with the skills to communicate in a new cultural setting, advocate for themselves and be leaders in the community.

Recently I created Lead Your Way, a summer program to support newcomer high school students in learning to navigate the city and be empowered with the mindset and English skills that are essential for their success. The program is intended to prepare students for their educational experience in Ottawa so that they can thrive academically.

Tu Vuong – Founder of Lead Your Way, shares her story.

What is Lead Your Way?

Our unique 10-day program is intended to prepare newcomer secondary students for their educational experience in Ottawa so that they can thrive academically. Your child will learn to navigate the city and be empowered with the confidence, mindset and English skills that are essential for their academic success throughout the school year. Our program combines learning in small groups with the use of specific language that is connected to the grades 9 to 12 Ontario school curriculum. We provide an interactive and innovative learning experience by taking the classroom into the heart of the city of Ottawa.

We recently met up with Tu to ask her about her story and experiences.

What brought you to Canada?

My parents wanted us to live in a country that is safe, stable and for me to be free to learn and to make choices, no matter where life takes me.

Why did your family choose Ottawa ?

My grandmother along with several relatives on my father’s side were already settled in Ottawa so it made sense at the time for my parents to come to Ottawa, especially since we already had family here to support us while my parents went to school to update their degrees, attend language classes as well as take care of us at home.

What has been the biggest challenge for you since you came to Ottawa ?

I was 2 years old when I arrived to Canada. I think a challenge, in retrospect, was finding a voice to articulate my identity. At the time I felt I was living in two worlds.

How have you tried to overcome that challenge?

Through the work that I do. That is a big reason why I got into education – to facilitate opportunities for students to learn skills to help them advocate for themselves – and to be leaders.

What are potential challenges newcomers face here in Ottawa? What can be done to make it easier for newcomers?

Each individual journey story is different, so each person’s experience is different. I think it important to understand that people come here for different reasons – not to assume anything. We can provide newcomers with information and resources, but it is important for them to make
their own decisions, without any judgment. That is how they are empowered.

Are you doing something to help newcomers or are you in interested in participating in activities for newcomers?

Everyday. Through the work that I do.


Thank you Tu Vuong from Lead Your Way so much for sharing your story on our Newcomers’s Story!

We hope you will enjoy to be a part of the group and support more in the community as a newcomer.

If you want to be a part of this Newcomers’s Story, Feel free join us here – answer a few questions and you are ready to go to share your unique story as a newcomers with us. Please click here =>

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