Urban Literacy Catalyst
This year, we expanded our literacy catalyst project to Southern Quebec where we work with families living in public housing in Quebec City, Sherbrooke, and Montreal. The project, in addition to delivering literacy programming, builds local capacity by helping organizations reinforce their ability to support literacy in their communities. The urban literacy catalyst also offers training to community members on how to set up and deliver literacy activities to other residents.
Through consultation with local agencies and organizations, we conducted a comprehensive needs assessment. The result? A dynamic program involving tutoring, training, and workshops that reflect the desires and needs of the neighbourhood.
In Quebec City, stay-at-home moms who recently arrived in Canada have the chance to attend weekly French-as-another-language classes. Because of their family situations, it is not always easy for these women to attend language courses. Through this program, not only did they get a chance to learn to speak French, for many it is one of the rare moments of socialization with their neighbours.
In Sherbrooke, the Fais Vivre les livres project had tremendous impact on its residents. Our literacy catalyst offered community and family literacy training to individuals living in three public housing buildings. Subsequently, seven of the participants were hired by Frontier College to facilitate weekly literacy activities in the common recreation room of their building. Not only did the project help address many residents’ literacy needs, it also increased the facilitators’ employability by giving them meaningful work experience and providing them with a leadership opportunity in their neighborhood.