Ideas for finding and hosting programs for Foundational Learners in your community

Posted:25 October 2017

Author: Shaba Qureshi, Community Learning Network

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Comments: 2

Recommendations: 1

This week, we are pleased to feature a guest blogger. Monica Sczyrba-Davis is the Executive Director of Pincher Creek Community Adult Learning Program. She had posted this blog in the South Region group a few weeks ago and we asked her to share it province wide. 

I just wanted to share an opportunity to find and connect with Foundational Learners that we have been having success with in our community of Pincher Creek.

We struggled to find our barriered foundational learners for a long time, so here is what we started doing differently. It has helped create the foundation for ongoing Potential Best program learners.

Do you know the people in your community who hang out at street corners? Who have been through every agency in town? That's our people. We have seen that generally these learners have been slipping through the cracks for months if not years. They may be difficult to work with at first and have many social barriers. Most will have a case worker at your local Alberta Works or similar agency. When you visit your local organizations, mention that you/your staff excel at helping those who need a little hand-holding. Really, that's what we do, and we do it well. Whether it is help with forms, the patience to listen to a long story, the kindness to offer tea and a comfy chair while you sit together and walk through computer literacy concerns, this is how we find and retain our learners. Many organizations do not have the time or inclination to offer that personal attention to understand what a learner's next step needs to be.

Once we have that learner in our building, they invariably learn about our Learner Support Services, tutoring in various capacities and our Potential Best program for foundational learners. They will start with something small and in time we may see them return for some follow up help, then register for a 6-week program, then return for more. They come back just to say hello and check-in with someone who has the time to listen. It's very simple but took us a while to figure out! Hope this resonates with some of you and helps you out. I have also attached our basic info/registration package on our Potential Best program. 

Potential Best has been running in our community now for 6 years and it grows every year. The idea began after a Women's Wellness workshop I did my first year as a Coordinator; we partnered with the Women's Shelter and offered a weekend of workshops around mental health, employment readiness, and self-care for stress management. I remember talking to Cheryl Cann and Toni Gferer in the Crowsnest Pass about the event and they offered me some ideas based on their Personal Best program. That was the beginning of it, since then we have grown and altered the program to best suit the needs for our Learners. More details are in the attachments.

Agency Information Sheet
Client Referral Application
Code of Mutual Respect

If you would like more info, feel free to email me at Best of Luck! 

Monica Sczyrba-Davis
Pincher Creek Community Adult Learning Program



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