Finding volunteer tutors is the first step toward implementing an ambitious local literacy program.
“We are here to help people reach their potential -- reach the goal that they envision in their life,” LaVera Schiele said.
Fellow Prince Albert Literacy Network member Kim Orynik is joining Schiele in heading the Tutor Learner Connections program, which will strive to link people with low literacy skills with volunteer tutors.
The program, set to kick-start with a tutor education session in early February, will fill an important gap in the local education scene, Orynik said.
“There is a real need, and the PA Literacy Network has been fielding lots of calls regarding where learners can go,” she said.
Various programs have popped up from time to time, but are killed as a result of funding or mandate changes.
Although a provincial government grant of $70,000 enabled Tutor Learner Connections to operate for only its first year, Orynik hopes to see the program continue, spurred on by local support they plan on gathering as the program finds its legs.
But first, they have to find tutors.
“We have to have tutors trained, then we can assess learners and match them up with tutors,” Schiele said.
Tutor Learner Connections is holding a series of information sessions at their office at the Prince Albert Multicultural Council building, at 1410C Central Avenue, on Wednesday and Thursday.
They hope to see prospective volunteer tutors come in to kick the program’s tires to make sure it’s a good fit for their time.
With an education program being set up for tutors, Orynik said that tutors won’t go in blind when they begin teaching literacy skills.
“We’ll be training tutors in not only skills of tutoring, per se, but looking at providing tutors with family literacy and cultural learning,” she said, adding that their goal is to make sure the “tutor is aware and knowledgeable of the whole person.”
“We are here to help people reach their potential -- reach the goal that they envision in their life. - LaVera Schiele
With a library of resources and people on-hand to walk them through the education process, tutors don’t require a history in education; they just need to possess a high literacy level.
Once tutors are linked with learners, or “partners” as Schiele prefers, a sense of accomplishment will be easy to achieve.
“You help them where your needs are,” Orynik said.
“For example, a mother starting her kids in to school – their school newsletter comes in and she’s not really able to understand everything.”
People with low literacy skills may not be able to fill out basic forms, tenancy contracts or job applications. Last year’s boil water order was confusing to some residents because they were unable to fully understand the notice delivered to their mailbox by the city.
“What we want to do is help people in their everyday life,” Orynik said.
Everyone has their own specific goal, Schiele said, be it advancing their career or bettering their life in one of the countless other ways having a high literacy level allows for.
“We are here to help people reach their potential -- reach the goal that they envision in their life.”
Prospective tutors are encouraged to drop by the Tutor Learner Connections office for an information session on Wednesday, from noon to 1 p.m., or from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Two more sessions are set to take place on Thursday, from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The first tutor training session will take place over two days, beginning Friday, Feb. 1.
More information on the program can be gathered by calling their office, at 922-6852, or by emailing them at email@example.com.