LPM Volunteen Advisory Council Members were asked to write a few words about their experience at the end of their project. Here are some excerpts from their reports.
Over the last few months, a group of us representing different schools attended bi-weekly meetings at LPM. They were held on Saturdays when we could all get together. We discussed a lot of issues concerning literacy. We came to understand the problems that many people faced if they couldn't read and write well, and learned about literacy programs that helped improve their lives.
During our orientation, we had a chance to meet and listen to some of these people. The way they talked about how literacy changed their lives was really moving. It gave us the feeling that by volunteering, we could make a difference, big or small.
Another part of the project I enjoyed was planning fund raisers
and special events. We were able to come up with some great ideas. I think I
speak for all of us when I say we're coming back next year. It doesn't take a
lot of time or energy to volunteer, yet it's a worthwhile cause that needs to
As an LPM youth advisory council volunteer I had the opportunity of working with a wonderful team. The most important part of the experience was meeting the people who have struggled with literacy the mothers, fathers, sons and daughters who never had a chance in a world where communication is critical. I learned that this problem does not discriminate to a particular culture, age, gender or social status.
I also learned and recognize that LPM and other literacy organizations clearly represent hope and a chance of a better life for thousands of Canadians. People struggling with literacy are struggling against meek prospects and an even dire future. I have seen the positive effects literacy programs have on people; the adults we met learners are very courageous to come forward, and more self-reliant than ever before thanks to their instructors and their new literacy skills.
Working on the project enabled me to understand the issues facing these people, and also gave me experience in a real work environment. As part of a team, we designed and edited a poster and recruitment forms, and we researched and developed new ways to honor volunteers. It has been an excellent experience which I will always remember.
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I was fortunate to be involved in Youth Advisory Council throughout the spring. The council consisted of students from around the city. For each of us, this has proven to be a positive and remarkable experience.
We worked on and completed a number of tasks: a new poster, some mascot ideas, volunteer job descriptions and a volunteer hand book. It took great team effort, which thankfully we had.
During our orientation, we listened to members of LPM's Adult
Learners Speakers Bureau. We were overcome with emotion after hearing some of
the things these people had to endure in their lifetime. We got to see, first
hand, the kind of people we are helping by volunteering -they came from a wide
variety of age groups and nationalities. I'm glad I had the chance to
participate in this project. In the long run, I know that a lot of people will
benefit from the work we have done.
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When I first learned about the project I was intrigued because I didn't know a lot about literacy, but I don't think I realized what a positive experience it would be. The first time we met was for orientation. We discussed what "literacy" meant and learned that it's not just about being able to read. It's about understanding what you read, and also being able write and do mathematics.
We spent some time discussing why some people had trouble learning how to read, write and do math. We came up with along list of reasons, and learned that there are also many different levels of literacy. We became even more enlightened when we listened to some adult learners. Their presentations impacted me the most, and motivated me to stay committed.
One topic I was very interested in was how LPM and literacy programs were funded. I was surprised to learn how difficult it was to raise money; and that programs had to apply for grants every year. Being the President of the Youth Philanthropy Group at my school, I was shocked to find out the differences between donations given to popular charitable organizations, compared to more local ones. For example, Literacy Partners finds it very toilsome to raise funds because literacy is not necessarily an issue that affects a large population. If someone is fairly literate, it is not something they fear they will lose in the future. (Cancer or heart disease, on the other hand, is something they fear, therefore they donate to organizations dedicated to finding cures.)
We learned that 22% of Canadians have very low reading skills
and everyday things like paying utility bills can be difficult or even
impossible for these people, so there are a lot of people affected. It is
information like this that affected me and makes me delighted to be able to
assist any way I can. The council was a wonderful group to work with. I looked
forward to going to our meetings even though we met on Saturday mornings. We
were able to accomplish a lot, and overall, it was immensely worthwhile. I plan
to continue volunteering at LPM next year .
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