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September 24, 2014

Connecting our Adult Learning & Literacy Community


In This Issue

Mark Your Calendar

Program Funding 2015
Application deadline
October 1, 2014

December Networking
December 9, 2-4 pm

Program Funding 2014
Final report deadline
January 23, 2015

IFL Project - Phase III (fall 2014 - Spring 2016)

Calgary Learns is pleased to have received funding for phase III of the IFL project from The Calgary Foundation. The program design has been enhanced through the incorporation of many of the recommendations from the program’s External Evaluation (2014).

We'd like to thank staff of 16 organizations who came out to our orientation session on September 23. We're looking forward seeing you again during the workshops. Here's an overview of what we shared. Please contact us if you have any questions.

The new & improved modular design of the IFL program now includes:
  • Workshops open to all community adult educators
  • Additional session for Advanced Facilitation
  • Supporting the creation of an IFL Community of Practice
We offer workshops and mentorship. Your staff can take the workshops without continuing with the mentorship.

Workshops (maximum of 3 people per organization):

The cost for attending the workshops are $20 per workshop for members or $30 per workshop for non-members. Not sure if your organization is a member? Check our list of members.

The following workshops will be taking place twice, one morning session, one afternoon session, on different days and at different locations. This way we hope to accommodate your busy schedule:
To sign up for the workshops, please click HERE.


If your organization wants to apply for mentorship, please note that there are only 10 spots available. The mentorship includes:
  • Literacy and Essential Skills Mentor to support program
  • Customized workshops
The mentorship requirements are:
  • A minimum of 2 staff members (consistent) must attend all workshops (note: the Intro to Facilitation course is for staff who have little facilitation experience.)
  • Apply for a mentor in November
  • Organizations will be notified in December if they will receive a mentor
  • Work directly with your mentor in 2015 for a minimum of 20 hours
  • Receive customized workshops from the IFL facilitator at your agency
  • Present your IFL experience at a conversation cafe and publish a case study
!! Calgary Learns Member Agencies who are chosen to receive a mentor will be reimbursed up to $200 for workshops attended !!

The IFL Phase III project is funded by

Another Calgary Learns funded project: Aboriginal Adult Learning Project at FESA

Nohkasstaapinaan Makookapiison Niitatskiniimatsoksspinaan
I Want to Further My Education/Learning - Blackfoot

Completing the final stages of the Aboriginal Adult Learning Project has been an exhilarating experience for the Further Education Society. We began with the vision of it being standard practice to invite traditional knowledge and Aboriginal perspective into programs. Our project aimed to offer Aboriginals enhanced pathways to success with programs that provided relevant and cultural resources. This vision for a changed learning landscape in Calgary has begun to be realized, thanks to the Aboriginal Adult Learning project being entirely driven and directed by the Aboriginal community, as well as through the diligent work of a pilot group of six organizations who put the recommendations of our Aboriginal advisors into action. Sokapii! (Good job) Aboriginal Futures, CanLearn, John Howard Society, Southwest Community Resource Centre, WalMart and Youville. The Aboriginal Adult Learning project was successful in increasing Calgary’s ability to facilitate educational success for Aboriginal foundational learners. Community learning programs implemented effective new practices that created stronger pathways to success.

Initially we pulled together about 75 highly successful Aboriginal people who had a broad experience and understanding of the struggles that Aboriginal learners face. We asked them how urban, adult programs and educational opportunities could be made more appealing to Aboriginal learners. With our advisory group we constructed a list of recommendations that organizations could implement to better assist urban aboriginal learners and further build organizational capacity. We put some of those recommendations into action with our six participating organizations. Activities were customized to individual organizations based on their programs and services. Throughout the project many valuable skills, techniques and methods for working with Aboriginal clients/participants were gained. 

Following, are just a few simple tips that could benefit your own organization and the Aboriginal learners you serve:
  • Don’t worry about trying to find Aboriginal experts; begin with your learners. Many of them carry important knowledge and have references on who to contact.
  • Ask learners to share needs and interests, and make suggestions. Learners appreciate being involved in your organization’s development and enjoy feeling that their inputs and recommendations are being used. 
  • Activities that are helpful: 
    • Use plain language in program materials.
    • Create welcoming environments for Aboriginal participants and their families.
    • Use elders and incorporate Aboriginal cultural activities into regular programs and services.
  • Provide Aboriginal role models and mentors, for learners and for your staff.
  • Your organization will benefit from introducing or increasing Aboriginal staff, board members and volunteers.
  • It’s okay to make mistakes and cultural blunders.  Learn from them and continue to learn as an organization. 
Stay tuned! FESA is planning educational sessions and more projects building on the Aboriginal Adult Learning project. Would you like to learn more about how to strengthen services and programs for Aboriginal Adult Learners or want to get involved?

If you are interested in learning more regarding the Aboriginal Adult Learning project, FESA will be presenting at the River Cree Resort in Edmonton, Alberta during the Literacy and Learning Symposium on October 23 2014. Alternately, for further information contact the Further Education Society at  

Photo of Ningwakwe George presentation 

Comments from Project Participants:
  • “I am really impressed with the imagination that the various groups brought to their work.”  Advisory Member
  • “Our new Assessment provides more opportunity for an Aboriginal person to express their identity.” CSWCRC
  • “Aboriginal learners cannot be lumped together. Neither ignoring culture nor trying the same ‘Aboriginal approach’ for all learners is effective in achieving positive learning outcomes.” CanLearn
  • “Through the advisor from the project we connected with the Siksika people. Attendance at job fairs there resulted in 16 applicants, 3 of whom are already on board! We want to recruit AND retain talent. We’ll provide opportunities for growth.” HR Manager, WalMart
  • “I can’t tell you in words how excited I get waiting for the healing circles [with the self named ‘Women Warriors’ group]. I can do some journaling now, and maybe I’ll be able to write letters.”  Youville client

2014 Life Of Learning Award (LOLA) winner in the Adult Learner category: Loraine Luterbach

In 1953, when Loraine Luterbach was born, many parents of persons with developmental disabilities were told that their children were unable to learn and grow as “regular” people. That’s not Loraine’s story—her life is dedicated to personal growth through learning. Her passions are self-advocacy, plain language translation and, more recently, financial literacy.

Loraine’s attitude to learning is contagious. She quickly embodies elements of what she learns and demonstrates it with pride and persistence. Loraine regularly takes part in professional self-advocacy activities and has spoken on self-advocacy at conferences in San Francisco, Washington, Alaska and New York. She actively builds her workplace skills, working one day a week at Rocky Mountain Analytical Labs, volunteering at the Picture This Film Festival and more. She also works as a plain language translator on Vecova’s Research Services team. Loraine clearly understands that if she can access written information and learn from it, then so can others like her. After many years on the team, Loraine is now a mentor, helping peers learn the skills to be plain language translators.

Loraine knows herself as a strong learner. This has freed her from stigmas associated with her cognitive disabilities and she continues to use learning to face each new challenge. For example, Loraine has educated herself on how to care for her elderly parents and to manage her own health issues. Currently, she is learning to manage her money, something her mom once did for her.

Loraine has earned the respect of her peers, co-workers and the many professionals who support her—a true inspiration.

Loraine Luterbach accepting the award from Gord Johnston, ADM, Alberta Human Services

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