When a new learner walks through Project Literacy’s door, he or she is embarking on a life-changing mission. Our learners come to us from various backgrounds, each person with a unique reason for reaching out for help in facing critical challenges. We could meet a mother like Philomena, who having worked for four years to bring her family to Canada, needed to upgrade her English to meet immigration requirements. We could meet a young man like Les, a single dad who was determined to overcome a math block so that he could get into the plumbing apprenticeship program. He was determined to build a stable career and earn enough money to provide for his son. Whatever the reason, our tutors provide the steady, learner-centred, one-on-one support needed to learn English or math so that all learners can achieve their goals.
Our learners come from diverse backgrounds, nations, cultures, subcultures, and geographical regions of the Central Okanagan. They may be new to Canada and need our services to gain the necessary literacy skills to successfully integrate into the workforce and Canadian culture. They may be young Canadian adults referred by public and private education facilities because they are unable to meet program requirements. They may be middle-aged Canadians who find themselves displaced from jobs they held for many years due to downsizing, disability, etc., and who need to upgrade their literacy levels in order to retrain.
Project Literacy Kelowna Society is an agency of inclusion. Virtually all clients seeking service are accepted to the program. In order to reduce waiting time for services, when learners cannot immediately be matched with tutors, staff provide tutoring until a tutor becomes available, or a new group of tutors is trained and a suitable match can be made from their ranks.
Many cannot achieve their literacy goals in a traditional class room. Young adults who did not experience success in the educational mainstream come to us. Middle-aged clients who left school early and have no way to re-enter school until they achieve their entrance requirements come to us. Our clients also generally have financial problems and need the free tutoring we provide.
Many of our learners require extensive remedial assistance to reach their goals. Some are marginalized members of our community and they may struggle with learning disabilities, poverty and homelessness. Our tutors are accustomed to helping learners feel at ease and identifying teaching techniques that best suit their learning style. Project Literacy is therefore well-suited to supporting learners, who have struggled with literacy issues and with poor learning experiences in their past.
In the last year:
- 37% of our learners were men;
- 63% were women;
- 37% of our learners were between 19 and 29 years of age;
- 51% were between 30 and 50 years of age;
- and 12% were over 50 years of age;
- 32% of our learners were born in Canada;
- 68% were born abroad; these learners came from 34 different countries.
During the last five years, we have received 45% of our referrals from local service partners:
- 25% came from employment agencies;
- 11% came from SD23, and post-secondary education facilities;
- 9% came from Immigration services organizations.
The vast majority of the other 55% of referrals we received came directly or indirectly from former learners.