Improving literacy among inner-city adults
Judy Smith, 778.782.5201; firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan Jamieson-McLarnon, PAMR, 778.782.5151; email@example.com
A $765,452 grant from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada will help Simon Fraser University to improve the literacy and essential skills of adults living in inner-city environments.
A two-year project called Literacy Lives will be led by Judy Smith, director of SFU’s Community Education program through its Continuing Studies Community Engagement division.
“Our program takes a grass-roots approach,” says Smith. “We create learning opportunities that speak to communities and are accessible to people who feel excluded.
“Literacy Lives supports this mandate. These funds will create learning opportunities that fit people’s real lives and make a difference in communities.”
The key is authentic learning situations, says Smith. “We know that literacy and essential skills training is more accessible when it is integrated into material that resonates with people’s own experiences.”
Literacy and essential skills will be woven into a health component that fits critical health concerns in the Downtown Eastside, such as HIV/AIDS.
Participating learners will work through a curriculum and then be paired with mentors to apply their new knowledge and skills in community health outreach initiatives.
Community partners and collaborators - Literacy BC, the Dr. Peter Centre and the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS - will assist SFU with developing the program and curriculum. They’ll also help with identifying participants for the project’s six-month testing phase.
“Our goal is to strengthen the skills of all our participants and increase opportunities for employment and community involvement,” says Smith, adding that the Downtown Eastside will also benefit from “the increased integration of people who experience social exclusion."