May 7, 2007
The following story was written by Philip Beakhouse, from Edmonton, Alberta. Philip believes that literacy changed his life and can change people's lives. Developing literacy skills has given him confidence to become a public speaker, a board member and a student representative. His long-term employment has only been made possible by his willingness to address his personal literacy issues.
My name is Phil Beakhouse. I am a project adult literacy student and tutor, and have been with PALS in Edmonton, approximately 10 years. During that time, I have learned to read much better, improved my ability to write, and took my first steps towards public speaking. PALS enabled me to travel to federal conferences and meet students from across Canada. I learned to socialize with strangers and handle public speaking engagements.
All of these have given me confidence, friendships, and a new awarness of what I can do. Membership with PALS had given me the hope of passing on what I had received. Round about the time this thought was coming to mind, I heard, from the PALS director, about the Bureau of Learning from Alberta Speakers Team (BLAST).
The timing was right, as I was beginning to feel a strong need to pass on some of the riches I had experienced. ‘Perfect I thought’. I can give back! What a great opportunity!
During my two years with the BLAST speakers team, I have challenged my public speaking ability and skills even further. My self confidence has matured. I know my experience with BLAST has made my life richer because doors continue to open for me, and I see it in the faces of new friends and family members.