On life’s many paths, fortunate are those born with a strong, unshaken sense of direction. Mavy Alvarez is one of the lucky ones, whose unwavering purpose came early in her life. As a little girl, she dreamed of becoming a pediatrician so she could work with children. Her purpose has always been crystal clear: to do what she loves by supporting and helping children. Mavy was born for this.
Growing up in the Philippines, Mavy’s childhood was happy. She recalls one particularly fond memory at her preschool. With a smile on her face, she says, “I still remember how the teachers taught me to brush my teeth and wash my hands. We sang and danced. I learned a lot from them.”
Throughout her life, Mavy held onto this memory, aspiring to give other kids the same happy experiences. “My childhood inspires me. I want all children to have a beautiful life. They deserve all the love in the world.”
I know I’m in the right profession because every day, I’m excited to learn from the kids. I was always supposed to teach children.
A TEACHER, AT LAST
With fond recollections of her preschool, Mavy came to realize that her true calling was to become a teacher. She went on to pursue a bachelor’s degree in education, and worked as a preschool teacher for two years. Stepping into the classroom, everything felt right. “I know I’m in the right profession because every day, I’m excited to learn from the kids. I was always supposed to teach children.” With the support of her coworkers, Mavy’s experience as a teacher was positive. She did not want to leave, but she had new dreams to chase.
LIFE AND LESSONS IN CANADA
To gain more experience in teaching, Mavy immigrated to Canada and enrolled in the Early Childhood Education program at Stenberg College. Mavy’s cousin and her friend supported her during her first month in Canada. But far from her parents and living alone for the first time, she struggled to adjust to life in a new country. “It was a new environment for me. I didn’t know what bus to take or which train station to wait at.”
Despite the challenges, Mavy persevered and graduated with an exceptional 97% grade point average. Today, Mavy works as an Early Childhood Educator at Kids and Company in North Vancouver. “I’m excited to go to work to see the kids’ smiles. It makes my heart melt. I don’t feel like I’m working.”
I’m excited to go to work to see the kids’ smiles. It makes my heart melt. I don’t feel like I’m working.
She lights up as she describes a heartfelt moment: “Some of the infants are starting to speak, so when I teach them how to pronounce my name, instead of ‘Mavy,’ they keep calling me ‘mommy.’ I went on vacation and when I came back, one of the little girls had grown a lot. When she saw me, she called ‘Mavy!’ and hugged me. I cried that day.”
In the program and through her work, Mavy fell in love with “play-based” learning, which was how she learned best as a child. It’s what stands out in her fond memories of singing and dancing at school. In the future, Mavy plans to go back to the Philippines to open a preschool, where she hopes to introduce play-based learning. “I want to have a colourful preschool and an art corner. I want the kids to make art.”
…I want to help all children experience what I, as a child, experienced.
Mavy’s goals don’t end there. She also plans to give marginalized children in the Philippines the opportunity to learn for free. From a young age, her observant mind allowed her to see beyond her own privilege, realizing that not all kids were as fortunate as she. “I want to share my knowledge. I want to help kids build their confidence in seeing their environment as beautiful, even though their circumstances may be different than others. I want to help all children experience what I, as a child, experienced.”
Mavy hopes to make education accessible for all. Her strong sense of empathy and purpose allowed her to follow a direct path to a career she is passionate about. By reflecting on her own positive experiences, Mavy took the good from her story and applied it to her career. She stands in the face of life’s hardships, and vows to create a brighter world for children. Her plans for the future are both ambitious and honourable. Until Mavy returns home to embark on her next journey, she continues to gain invaluable experience in Canada as she lives her dream of bringing joy to the classroom every day. Undoubtedly, Mavy is making a difference.