Options Community Services is a non-profit society and registered charity dedicated to making a difference. We are committed to empowering individuals, supporting families and promoting community health. Everyday, we aim to achieve these goals through a wide variety of programs and projects.



Never Underestimate the Power of Music

Jul 11, 2017

"Music can change the world because it can change people" -Bono

Of all the tools at our disposal to inspire and strengthen community, we are witnessing the powerful role of music through the Options Newcomer Literacy Choir. Led by volunteer Jane Ratcliffe, the choir is about so much more than singing.
Check it out here!

Options Newcomer Literacy Choir

We are beginning to recognize the powerful role of music in language acquisition. Singing in a choir is an informal and fun way for newcomers to practice English and connect with other newcomers to facilitate their integration.

We were fortunate to have Jane Ratcliffe who volunteers her time and talent as Choir Conductor.  Jane holds a Bachelor of Music in Voice and has extensive experience in choral vocal technique. After teaching music in the Surrey School District for many years, she retired in 2014.  Jane believes strongly that singing helps to build fluency and intonation accuracy in learner’s speaking skills in a new language.

Our newcomer choir members found that in addition to learning the language, singing was good for their mental health. Challenges of being in a new country often affect newcomers’ mental health negatively. They found singing to be a good way to release their stress. Working cooperatively with other newcomers in preparing for performances, these newcomers have established meaningful relationships with fellow choir members.

Immigrant Services plans to expand our Options Newcomer Literacy Choir to make it truly multicultural and inclusive of all newcomers. Immigrant Services also plans to explore and create opportunities for the Choir to perform for the broader community.