This years Life of Learning Award (LOLA) in the Thanks A Bunch category went to the Calgary Foundation.
Jason Bates (Calgary Foundation) and nominator Shauna Parks (Sunrise Community Link)
The Calgary Foundation has provided outstanding leadership and tireless efforts in addressing the issues faced by poverty-stricken adult foundational learners in our community. A shining example of their commitment is their support of Taking Charge, a collaborative initiative of CanLearn and the Sunrise Community Link.
Taking Charge is a multiple-week program that specifically targets individuals experiencing poverty and life stressors. The Calgary Foundation funded the program’s launch in September 2015 and has been a highly supportive partner ever since.
Taking Charge moves past short term solutions to address underlying issues that are rooted in poverty and low-literacy. With funding from the Calgary Foundation, the program provides dedicated facilitators, childcare, program incentives, and a myriad of resources. The Calgary Foundation has been a flexible and encouraging partner every step of the way, allowing adjustments to the original program design and the addition of a second round of the pilot, which started in February of this year.
The nine graduates of the first Taking Charge cohort give the program top marks. For some, it’s the first time in years they’ve been able to leave their house. Others say that after struggling with depression, this program has given them their life back. All participants have found new ways to cope with day-to-day challenges, address conflict, set and achieve goals, and build their sense of self confidence and self-esteem.
This program is a game changer in the lives of long-term clients who have chronically struggled with a variety of issues. The Calgary Foundation, through its generous financial support and willing spirit, has made this possible. Thanks a bunch and then some!