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National Volunteer Week Feature: Red Deer Public Library Adult Literacy Program

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National Volunteer Week is a time to recognize, celebrate and thank Canada’s 13.3 million volunteers! Here at home, there are so many fantastic volunteers who help to build our communities by giving generously of their time & talents. This week, Todayville in partnership with Volunteer Central  is profiling several incredible volunteer initiatives.

We’ll begin with the Red Deer Public Library Adult Literacy Program!

The Red Deer Public Library Adult Literacy Program has been in Red Deer for more than 30 years and a part of Red Deer Public Library since 2006. Volunteers are the core of this program. Volunteer tutors from the community meet one-on-one with adult learners who come from different walks of life. Some of the program’s learners have struggled with literacy skills all their lives, while others were not able to complete their education for various reasons and now they want to work on improving their reading and writing skills. Some learners need help with math so that they can obtain a trade ticket; others would like assistance with preparing for the knowledge test to get their driver’s license. Many learners are new to Canada and are struggling with adjusting to their new life because of their limited English language and/or foundational life skills. There are people who come from war-torn countries where they had very little or no chance for education; on the other hand, there are many foreign trained professionals who would like to get their credentials recertified and continue working in their field in Canada. Whatever the needs might be, dedicated volunteers step in, donate their time, and help Adult Literacy learners reach their goals.

Currently, the program has 193 tutors and 326 learners, and more registrations come in on a daily basis. There is always a long list of learners waiting for a tutor. Many volunteers know this, and several are willing to take on multiple learners just to reduce the wait list and help more people succeed sooner. Program tutors not only assist with learning, they also become role models, confidants, and friends.

As a result of the commitment of the volunteer tutors in the Adult Literacy Program and a variety of learning opportunities, learners are often able to find better employment, improve their reading skills, help their children with homework, and most importantly, become more confident as they continue to improve their literacy.

Tutors have always said that they receive as much from the program as they give because they are sharing their knowledge with others who struggle with literacy. Some say, for example, that they enjoy volunteering with the program because they are helping someone achieve a better life; some tutors get satisfaction when they see progress in a learner, others are happy because they make friends and help build a sense of community. When tutors work with English Language Learners, they are often learning about different countries and cultures, they are learning how to work with people who come from different places, and they are playing a major role in making Red Deer an inclusive community.

Literacy is a foundation to build a better and a more sustainable future, and the volunteers of the Red Deer Library Board Adult Literacy Program are definitely making an impact on building that future for generations to come. Having the Program at the library also assists newcomers to Canada to integrate into their new community. It provides the social interaction which they need while being away from home and in a new country. By volunteering in many library programs, they are giving back to the community.

This service is uniquely individualized. Each learner receives focused tutoring in their particular area of need. These needs range from building settlement skills through language, enabling students to make medical, residential and commercial decisions by using relevant linguistic skills, to targeted preparation for post-secondary bridging (this year, tutors have helped learners prepare for apprenticeship entrance exams, General Education Development Tests (GEDs), Citizenship tests, English Language Proficiency exams, high-school upgrading and more). The successful effects of this program are evident not only in the increased English skills of the learners, but in their lives as well.

During the past year and a half, due to the new arrivals of many Syrian refugees to the Red Deer community, the Adult Literacy Program has also been responsive to their needs. The program offered a variety of learning opportunities that introduced the new refugee families to Canadian culture, helped them get connected in their new community, and assisted them in acquiring language and basic computer skills.

As a result of the Adult Literacy Program and its community partnerships, many learners receive the help they need. This collaboration helps the learners access barrier-free learning opportunities and provides referrals as the need arises. Together, as partners, we can ensure that the services the Adult Literacy Program offers will provide people in the program support and the opportunity to practice their foundational skills so that they can be successful in the society.

To become a volunteer tutor, or to register as a learner, please contact:

Alla Mysko-Henke
Adult Literacy Coordinator
Dawe Branch – Red Deer Public Library
56 Holt Street, Red Deer AB
T4N 6A6

Phone: 403-346-2533
E-mail: [email protected]

About Volunteer Central

Through our comprehensive website, convenient downtown location, and relevant programs and workshops, we connect volunteers, non-profit organizations, and businesses to create successful volunteer relationships in Central Alberta.

At Volunteer Central, we…

  • offer a listing of volunteer opportunities
  • list non-profit employment opportunities
  • host training programs and workshops
  • develop corporate volunteer programs
  • promote and support community events
  • build capacity in the nonprofit sector across central Alberta

Community

The Grand Opening is TODAY!

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A Day Filled With Hope – Years in the Making!
For years the CACAC has been walking hand-in-hand with many different partners, community members, donors, policy makers, and leaders in research and advocacy towards this moment.The Sheldon Kennedy Centre of Excellence now stands in the heart of Central Alberta, the first Centre of its kind in North America, creating space for different strategic partners to operate alongside one another in the best interest of children, youths, and families who have experienced any form of abuse.

Now, during this momentous chapter in our history, we invite you to join us for the Grand Opening of the Sheldon Kennedy Centre of Excellence. 

We’re excited to welcome you and your family to the Grand Opening of the Sheldon Kennedy Centre of Excellence today!

Today’s events are family friendly, and there’s something for everyone!

From Noon to 5:00PM the public is welcome to come and see everything the building has to offer at the SKCOE Open House! Staff from every organization from within the SKCOE will be there to answer questions. This is a great opportunity to learn about why this Centre is so important for Central Alberta.

Beginning at 7:00PM, the public is also invited to the formal program at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre, which is the building immediately North West of us across the parking lot. The formal program will have many messages and presentations from dignitaries, and you can pick up our Champions of Courage pin, which was minted for the Grand Opening only! Following the program there is a ribbon cutting ceremony.

There is a lot to celebrate, so come out and say hi!

When: Thursday, May 16

Where: Sheldon Kennedy Centre of Excellence, and Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre, Main Campus of Red Deer Polytechnic, Red Deer, AB.

12:00 PM – 5:00 PM – Open House

7:00 PM – Formal Program at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre. Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to follow.

How to get to the Sheldon Kennedy Centre of Excellence

Please note that there will also be parking available at the lot directly North of the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre.

Detailed RDP Parking Map

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Community

Last Day: What would you do with $20,000 Early Bird Prize?

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