Monday, March 29, 2010

Literacy & First Nations People

"Literacy proficiency is the ability to understand and use printed information in daily activities, at home, at work, and in the community. It is not about whether or not one can read but how well one reads."


Here are two links with loads of info, facts and stats on literacy and First Nations People.




"As the Canadian economy becomes more knowledge-intensive, Aboriginal people lacking the necessary education and literacy skills to compete in the labour market will be excluded from the new economic opportunities and will be pushed even further to the margins of society."
Raising Adult Literacy Skills: The Need for a Pan-Canadian Response, HRDC, June 2003

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Some Images of the Agidasin Community

I "stole" these pictures from the Agidasin Initiatives Facebook page for the visual learners.

In order of appearance: Pow Wow; Northwestern Ontario sunsets are incredible. This picture doesn't do them justice; An image of hope through the medicine wheel; The Complex. I assume meetings and events are held here.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

READ Summer Tutoring Program

My primary role at Agidasin Initiatives will be to serve in the READ Summer Tutoring Program in Grassy Narrows. Here's what their website has to say about it:

"Today a reader, tomorrow a leader." ~ W. Fusselman

READ is a summer tutoring program for primary readers. Struggling students are identified by their classroom teachers and Agidasin pairs them with a tutor for the summer. Each participant receives half an hour of 1:1 reading instruction each weekday of the eight week program. This results in 20 hours of dedicated literacy instruction for each student. In 2008 Agidasin had approximately 40 student participants.

The READ participants receive individualized instruction that focuses on the areas in which they are struggling. Caring, qualified instructors offer mentorship, friendship and inspiration to these future leaders.

* * *

Literacy is incredibly important to functional living in society. Being able to read is something we often take for granted. When a person struggles with literacy, he or she is likely to experience difficulties in every day living, most obviously in obtaining employment, and in more simple tasks of life like taking the bus or understanding product labels. Imagine the anxiety of trying to find a job but not being able to fill out the application!

I currently work part-time as a support worker for people with developmental disabilities. As a result I am experiencing first-hand what happens when someone becomes an adult who has never learned to read. I never really thought about what it would be like until working alongside an illiterate person. He gets pretty frustrated when applying for jobs and going anywhere that requires paperwork, like the doctor's office or getting a new health card. He will never learn to drive and often struggles to take the bus by himself, not just because he can't read, but it's a blow to his pride when he constantly needs to ask for help.

I say all this to express the importance of the work Agidasin is doing with the children in the First Nations communities they support. As I will be writing about soon, First Nation's people have experienced many hardships and struggles in Canada. Literacy, due to language barriers, is a big one. I am excited and humbled to be able to serve in such an important way.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Agidasin Initiatives: Summer 2010

I've started this blog to focus on and keep people up to date on my summer plans.

At the end of June I will be headed north of Kenora, Ontario to volunteer with Agidasin Initiatives, a Christian community development organization. AI works with a number of Northwestern Ontario First Nations, to "develop and implement locally-based programs that support and encourage healthy youth, families and communities" (see their website for more info). I will be helping to run the summer READ program for children and youth from Grassy Narrows for nine weeks.

I'll post more details on my role as they arise, and details as to why I chose to work for AI this summer. I will also be posting about how people can support me and the work I'm doing with AI, since it's a volunteer position.

Thanks for reading. Prayers are always welcome and necessary!