The Ottawa Community Coalition for Literacy is pleased to present a new resource for literacy and basic skills programs: the Community Works Handbook and the accompanying Community Works: Implementation and Process Guide. We completed an exciting project with the help of two terrific partners, ALSO (Alternative Learning Styles and Outlooks, a Literacy and Basic Skills agency) www.also-ottawa.org and Heartwood House (a community of 15 non-profit organizations) www.heartwoodhouse.ca. Together we developed an innovative model of supported volunteering that provides training in transferable essential skills for learners who are marginalized and/or disadvantaged by a variety of barriers and challenges.
During the project, 10 learners from ALSO and People, Words & Change (another LBS agency in Ottawa) worked with amazing enthusiasm and energy to meet a variety of challenges head-on. They each participated in one of the following volunteer placements:
- Reception and inventory positions at OC Transpo Lost & Found (the lost and found for Ottawa’s transit system which is operated by Heartwood House)
- Receptionist at ALSO
- Assistant in ALSO’s Children’s Room
Here are some of their comments:
I’m an asset now – giving back – I no longer want to kick the world.
I can’t tell my children what to do with their lives if I don’t do something.
If you have confidence, nothing can stop you.
I am actually happy to get up and come in.
I’ve learned what I’m capable of doing.
I feel good when I go home.
We knew our own challenges but didn’t recognize our own strengths.
Spread the word!! Give other people a chance to do what we have done.