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Adult learning earns national recognition

Posted on September 18, 2013 by Taber Times

Taber and District Community Adult Learning Association (TDCALA) are the runner-up recipients of a national award recognizing community organizations that have developed and delivered outstanding and innovative adult and family literacy programs with significant impact on their clients and on their communities.

One of four honourable mentions for the 2013 Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life Literacy Innovation Award presented by ABC Life Literacy Canada, TDCALA has been awarded $5,000 for their work involving the association’s Work Foundations program.

“It’s really for innovation, creation, delivery and implementation of adult literacy or adult integrated family literacy programs delivered by a community organization in Canada. It’s a national award,” said Jane Brenner, executive director of TDCALA. “Nominated programs must focus on adults as their primary beneficiary, show demonstrated results and impact in helping Canadians live fully engaged lives, offer an educational training experience for adults teaching skills that enhance their engagement in life, community, workplace and family.”

As Taber has a large population of Low German-speaking Mennonites from Mexico, who have migrated to work as seasonal farm labourers, the Work Foundations program offers these ESL adult learners an intensive program of literacy, numeracy, essential skills and employability skills.

It helps them keep their current jobs or find full time employment, and increase their self-confidence and engagement.  

“We won the award for the Work Foundations program that we’re offering,” said Brenner. “I feel honoured to get it, because we know there was a lot of competition for the award. We’re a pretty small town, and we’re doing good work here, which I think was nationally recognized. I think the money will roll back into the program, to support the program, and provide literacy material or further training opportunities for the program.”

The Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association receives $20,000 as the top winner of the award. The three other honourable mention winners receiving $5,000 each are The Centres for Employment and Learning in Goderich, Ont., HIPPY (Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters) Canada in Vancouver, B.C., and Street School in Kamloops, B.C.   

Brenner pointed out TDCALA doesn’t often get the opportunity to step back and view their accomplishments from a national perspective.

“I just think a lot of the time, Taber and District Community Adult Learning Association runs so many great programs, and we’re so much in the trenches that we don’t take the time to celebrate, or nominate, for the good work we’re doing. We always know that we’re doing the good work, and that it is really good, and we see on a day to day basis the change in lives, and in families, and in the community — but it’s nice to have it nationally recognized.”

The 2013 Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life Literacy Innovation Award will be officially presented as part of ABC’s Life Literacy Night, to be held at the Thompson Landry Gallery in Toronto’s Distillery District on Thursday, September 19.

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