MAPLE RIDGE, B.C. November 11, 2011
Shannon Alke is ready to give back. Alke is the latest recruit to sign on to train to become an adult literacy tutor with the Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows Katzie Community Literacy Committee (CLC).
“I struggled with learning challenges growing up, but went on to graduate from high school and continued on to take several general studies courses in college and obtained a certificate as a community mental health worker. I had a learning difficulty pertaining to math and physical co-ordination and I know how hard some people have to work to learn,” said Alke recently. “I am looking forward to the training. It may be a challenge as I do not have teaching experience, but I am ready.”
“I think Shannon will be a great tutor. She is compassionate, friendly, understanding and tolerant. She has all the qualities we are looking for,” remarked Elaine Yamamoto, Literacy Outreach Facilitator for the CLC.
Alke has also been a dedicated volunteer at the CEED Centre in Port Haney for the past two years working as the volunteer coordinator for GETI fest and starting up the Gardening for Mental Health program. She found out about the free tutor training after the Community Literacy Committee opened its doors to the Learning Room in an office at the Centre last week.
“It is great to be able to connect with such dedicated volunteers,” said Yamamoto. “There is currently a dearth of programs in our communities for the adult learners who would like to raise their level of literacy, so we are pleased to be able to offer our first round of tutor training. Having trained tutors will enable us to offer free one-to-one tutoring for adults looking to improve their reading levels. Our first training session will begin on Saturday November 26th and I still have a few places open.”
The free Volunteer Tutor Training Program was designed by Louise Baumbrough, a BC Certified teacher specializing in teaching students with learning challenges. Modelled after the Douglas College ICARE program, volunteers will receive 33 hours of free training at the Riverside Adult Education Centre and ongoing support as they work with an adult learner over the following year.
The bright yellow walls of the drop-in office provide a welcoming space where anyone can come for help with literacy issues. The CLC Learning Room offers a small lending library, reading and writing assistance, a Women’s English Group and access to free learning software on computers provided by the CEED Centre. “It is better than I could have hoped. This week alone, I have connected with two volunteers interested in our tutor training and two potential learners, one who came seeking assistance with a plethora of government forms,” said Yamamoto.
The CEED Centre is also host to a federally-funded Computer Access Program (CAP) site where people can come for free use of computers and the internet. There are also weekly Community Discussion meetings and a Saturday evening Community Dinner run by volunteers of St George’s Anglican Church.
Christian Cowley, the CEED Centre’s Executive Director (and Yamamoto’s husband) said he saw the Literacy Committee office as a perfect fit for the Centre which draws a diverse population that can connect to the Literacy Committee as volunteers or learners.
Anyone wanting more information on the Literacy programs can contact Elaine Yamamoto at 604 306-0627 or check out the website communityliteracy.ca.