The Centre for Family Literacy in Edmonton, Alberta, is very proud to be the host of Cultivating Connections, a national family literacy conference set for July 15-17 in Edmonton. The conference will feature a broad range of perspectives on family literacy from Canada, North America and around the world.
Conference Ambassador Yvette Souque, a long-time friend of the National Adult Literacy Database (NALD), has prepared the following message in advance of the conference:
It is exciting to welcome all of you to the first family literacy conference of the century in Canada – Cultivating Connections: Global Perspectives & Practices in Family Literacy. This conference will enable you to cultivate connections with a diverse and dynamic family literacy field from around the world and enrich your programs and activities. This event is about sharing and building knowledge, and celebrating what we have all achieved in family literacy in less than a quarter century.
The main theme of the conference –“Cultivating Connections”– reflects the historical development and community practice of family literacy in Canada and many other countries.
Literacy practitioners have developed community-based programs through partnerships with community agencies, schools, family serving agencies, universities, and provincial and federal governments. Leaders in family literacy in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, namely the U.K. and U.S.A., generously shared their knowledge and experience to enrich “made in Canada” family literacy programs, strategies, and resources. Canada has caught up with the leaders and has much to share.
For me personally, working with literacy practitioners to develop family literacy programs, strategy, training, resources and promotion was exciting and challenging, and enormously satisfying in these formative years. The leaders in this field had a vision that family literacy could transform the lives of the families involved and they built the tools needed with creativity, sensitivity, and sheer determination that engaged the literacy field.
Building partnerships with “non-literacy” organizations and funders was one of the big challenges and enabled us to cultivate diversity in programming and to reach broader populations and integrate family literacy into the mainstream.
From the beginning, adult literacy has been an integral part of family literacy in Canada, based on the belief that parents are a child’s first and most important teacher and role model. Parents are motivated by their desire to increase their children’s skills and success in life, and they also experience changes in their own literacy-related attitudes and skills. Practitioners know that when we work with families as a whole all members of the family benefit!
The Cultivating Connections: Global Perspectives & Practices in Family Literacy conference will showcase programs and program supports, models of practice, practitioner training approaches, research, recruitment strategies, and best practices. The conference brings together an exciting array of national and international speakers who will inspire, stimulate and invigorate. They will also demonstrate the diversity of family literacy and its rich promise for parents, children, and our society as a whole.
It is the family literacy event of 2010 – don’t miss it!
Yvette Souque’s biography:
Yvette Souque, BSW, MA in Social Welfare, worked at the National Literacy Secretariat from 1991 to 2007 as a program manager. She provided organizational development advice and support to literacy organizations to help develop capacity in the literacy community, primarily in the west and the north. Yvette assisted organizations to develop projects, and she stimulated public awareness of the literacy issue through partnership work, presentations to groups, provincial and national conferences, and regular consultations with stakeholders.
Yvette was also instrumental in supporting the early development of the family literacy field in Canada. She worked closely with many community-based literacy organizations and the provincial/territorial governments to develop family literacy activities, program models, learning materials, practitioner training and to engage “non-literacy” programs and departments to support family literacy as part of their mandate.
Yvette also played a key role in helping to establish the Centre for Family Literacy, seeing the potential for it to provide support to other organizations delivering family literacy programs across the province of Alberta and beyond. As well, she developed and implemented the five-year national family literacy initiative with the French-speaking community under the official languages plan.
Yvette retired from the federal government after 16 years of fulfilling literacy work and continues to do some consulting work in literacy in Manitoba. Reconnecting with family, travelling around the world, gardening, and some volunteer work are also keeping her busy.
For more information about the conference, go to the conference website or contact:
Associate Executive Director
Centre for Family Literacy