Give the Gift of Literacy this Holiday Season
Holidays are a great time to make a difference and give the Gift of Literacy. Last year’s campaign raised nearly $7,000 that helped us provide free literacy and basic skills programs to adults in Kitchener-Waterloo and Cambridge.
Did you know…
People with low literacy skills are
- more than twice as likely to be unemployed,
- more likely to have poor health, and
- more likely to live in poverty
according to a survey by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development that measured the literacy and numeracy skills of adults aged 16 to 65 in Canada and 23 other countries. The survey confirmed once again that low literacy is a concern in Canada.
Even in our community, we see tremendous literacy challenges. According to Statistics Canada, 57% of adults in the Waterloo Region fall into the two lowest levels of the literacy scale.
Literacy skills are measured on a five-level scale. At Level 1, people can identify only basic words and numbers. That means they struggle with tasks like reading and completing forms, understanding written instructions, and reading things like food labels or street signs.
At Level 2 people can read and understand simple material but they still have great difficulty reading information that’s essential to their well-being or to their work.
In Ontario, as many as 60% of residents with Level 2 literacy skills and 80% of people with Level 1 literacy skills are likely to have no or very little income, which means that families must struggle for the most basic of needs such as nutritious food and adequate housing.
It takes personal determination and community support for adults to improve their literacy skills and make a better life. But it can be done, and Odilia Monaghan is just one example of how your gift can help.
A local success story: Meet Odilia Monaghan
Odilia left school when she was 10 years old and went to work so that she could help her mother raise the rest of her family. After immigrating to Canada at age 16, Odilia found factory work with a clothing manufacturer in Cambridge. Now employed with Waterloo Region’s Extend-A-Family, Odilia’s dream is to earn her Personal Support Worker certificate. Since seeking assistance from The Literacy Group in March 2011, Odilia’s literacy skills have blossomed. She no longer struggles with simple spelling and writing. This year she earned our Top Learner Award, and her skills are now strong enough for her to transfer to the St. Louis Core Essentials program. Thanks to the tutoring she received from The Literacy Group and her own commitment, Odilia is on her way to earning her high school diploma and college certification as a Personal Support Worker.
How you can help
Your donation will support our work with other adult learners like Odilia who want to improve their literacy and math skills so they can make a better life for themselves and their families. With your help, our volunteer tutors will be able to give them one-on-one and small group training that’s essential to improving their employment prospects and becoming fully engaged in our community. For example:
Your donation of… Can pay for one student’s…
$125 Books and all support for a full year
$100 Resources for 9 months of training
$50 Resources for 3 months of training
$25 Workbooks / supplies
Over 1,500 adults of all ages and backgrounds have benefited from our programs. Some are injured or laid-off workers who want to improve their skills in order to qualify for, or be successful in, retraining programs. Others, like Odilia, need help with math or reading to get a better job. Some simply want to be able to read to their children and help with homework. Whatever their reasons, all of them are counting on The Literacy Group to help them accomplish these goals.
On behalf of all the adult learners already enrolled in our programs as well as those waiting for their opportunity, thank you for considering our request. This campaign is an important part of our fund-raising efforts and I hope you’ll decide to Give the Gift of Literacy this holiday season. Your gift could help someone change their life.
Season’s greetings and best wishes for the New Year.
To support The Literacy Group of Waterloo Region, please use the donation form (click here for the donation form) or donate by credit card online through www.CanadaHelps.org. Donations of $20 or more qualify for an income tax receipt.
Learn more! You can find the OECD’s complete 2013 report, “Skilled for Life? Key findings from the Survey of Adult Skills" here.
What is PIAAC?
The Survey of Adult Skills is an international survey conducted in 33 countries as part of the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC). It measures the key cognitive and workplace skills needed for individuals to participate in society and for economies to prosper.
PIAAC also gathers a range of other information including the antecedents and outcomes of skills, as well as information on usage of information technology and literacy and numeracy practices generally.
The evidence from this Survey will help countries better understand how education and training systems can nurture these skills. Educators, policy makers and labour economists will use this information to develop economic, education and social policies that will continue to enhance the skills of adults.