A total of 85 communities throughout B.C. will benefit from $2.4 million in funding toward community adult-literacy programs that will support adults wishing to improve their literacy and numeracy skills.

“Our government is investing in adult-literacy programs to help British Columbians gain the skills they need to achieve their educational and life goals,” said Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson. “This funding gives adult learners the opportunity to learn close to home in schools and communities throughout the province.”

Provincial funding for community adult-literacy programs is distributed to not-for-profit community groups to offer free training that is easily accessible in local places such as schools, Aboriginal friendship centres and community centres. In 2016-17, 91 grants will be funded, supporting 9,000 adult learners in British Columbia.

“As the adult-literacy program co-ordinator at the Campbell River Literacy Association, I meet learners who come through our door beaten down from a life of low literacy,” said program co-ordinator for the Campbell River Literacy Association Sherry Bujold. “For the learners that embrace the program, I am privileged to witness a transformation that brings with it confidence and pride that leads to opportunities provided by their new literacy and numeracy skills.”

Trained volunteers teach the adult-literacy programs, offering one-to-one tutoring or small group classes. Each program is tailored to suit the needs of adults with low reading, writing and/or math skills.

“I have empowered myself and overcome hopelessness, anger, confusion and powerlessness,” said Campbell River Literacy Association adult learner Marina Robinson. “For the past four years I have been working on improving my education. I look back at my life now and say to myself, ‘Wow! You have grown and are continuing to learn.’ I remind myself every day to never give up.”

Local community organizations deliver the programs in partnership with public post-secondary institutions in their regions. The partnerships encourage the transition of adult learners from community adult-literacy programs into post-secondary studies and employment training.

“Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House Family Literacy Outreach is a partnership with Vancouver Community College that connects low-level literacy families with volunteer tutors,” said community connections co-ordinator for Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House Blanca Salvatierra. “To date, 23 immigrant and refugee families have been connected to facilitate learning in families’ homes. This funding will help us continue to provide services that strengthen literacy skills, create connections to community resources and foster a welcoming community.”

Since 2001, the Province has invested more than $27 million in community adult-literacy programs, helping approximately 109,000 adults improve their reading, writing and math skills.