September was International Literacy Month:
$89,480 OTF Grant helps communities cross the digital divide
TORONTO ON (October 26, 2021) – During International Literacy Month, Toronto Mayor John Tory officially proclaimed September 8th as International Literacy Day, recognizing that “literacy is a foundational skill for success in education, work and life” for an estimated 773 million young people and adults around the world with low or no reading and writing skills. And to help the Alexandra Park Neighbourhood Learning Centre with its literacy efforts, in late 2020, it received an $89,500 Resilient Communities Fund grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) to create a virtual tutor training program.
“I have worked closely with the Alexandra Park community, and as a former teacher and school trustee, I understand how important literacy skills are for people of all ages. It is wonderful that this grant was able to provide the resources needed to deliver such a vital program for this community.” – MPP Chris Glover
The work done with the grant was carried out by the West Toronto Literacy Learning Collaborative, a partnership involving the Alexandra Park Neighbourhood Learning Centre as the lead, with Davenport-Perth Neighbourhood and Community Health Centre, LAMP Community Health Centre, Parkdale Project Read and the West Neighbourhood House.
The Collaborative has been training volunteers to provide one-to-one support to adult literacy learners for the past 10 years. Before the pandemic, they alternated between training sites in Parkdale and Alexandra Park. The program was very interactive, with a focus on group work, arts-based strategies and other facilitation methods that foster engaged learning. COVID-19 halted this vital program and the Collaborative had to re-imagine new ways to deliver support to adults at risk for falling into the digital divide.
“The impact of this Ontario Trillium Foundation grant cannot be underestimated,” said Katie McLeod, Executive Director of the Alexandra Park Neighbourhood Learning Centre. “Thanks to the $89,500 from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, we have been able to better support existing volunteer tutors by providing enhanced digital resources and professional development workshops.”
Topics covered in the Virtual Tutor Training Program include Anti-Oppression, the Impact of Trauma on Learning, and a session on how to create meaningful Land Acknowledgements. To learn more about the Virtual Tutor Training Program, or get involved, please visit the website at: https://www.westtoliteracycollaborative.com.
The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations. Last year, nearly $112M was invested into 1,384 community projects and partnerships to build healthy and vibrant communities and strengthen the impact of Ontario’s non-profit sector. In 2020/21, OTF supported Ontario’s economic recovery by helping non-profit organizations rebuild and recover from the impacts of COVID-19. Visit otf.ca to learn more.
Katie McLeod, Executive Director
Alexandra Park Neighbourhood Learning Centre