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How do NSPGI and PGI Grants support and enhance adult learning in
Nova Scotia?

NSPGI impact

What is the Impact of NSPGI?

All of the monies raised by the NSPGI Golf Tournament are used,
directly or indirectly, to support adult learners and literacy initiatives
province wide. Download the factsheet.

Carson Fraser
Carson Fraser

Carson Fraser

2018 Gary Mason Learner Achievement Award Recipient

“I was always moved to the back of the class where I did not learn to read and write well,” says Carson Fraser. “The teachers didn’t pay hardly any attention to us. Even though we had a hard time reading, the teachers still passed us to the next grade. I can’t remember how old I was when I left school.”

Carson worked at many different jobs in farming, roofing, and paving until he was hired at the YMCA, where he worked for 26 years until they closed. Employers told him he needed more education to get hired again, so he enrolled in adult learning programs at a library. He was nervous but determined. “At first, I was very embarrassed with other people around, but the more classes I went to, the better I felt.”

“Carson is a person who has not given up on his aspirations to learn,” says his instructor. “The focus and effort given to his work is admirable. Carson is a dedicated and hardworking learner, and a positive and caring person who I feel lucky to work with. When we first started to talk about writing for this award, he was overwhelmed and was very unsure if he wanted to do it (and certain he could not do it). Then, as we talked more about it, he said he wanted to give it a try! Then he started talking about his journey and we started writing. I was in admiration of his dedication. To witness his progress has been wonderful, and I wish him all the best as he continues on his learning path.”

Read Carson's NSPGI award acceptance speech      VIDEO

“School is sometimes difficult, but I like to learn, and I want to keep learning.” ~ Carson Fraser

Krista Marryatt
Krista Marryatt

Krista Marryatt

2017 Gary Mason Learner Achievement Award Recipient

“I was never a good student in high school,” says Krista. “I was more interested in socializing and meeting new friends than I was in going to class. Education wasn't important to me even though I had been preached to my whole life that it is.”

As people Krista knew graduated from college and went on to get good jobs, she became frustrated with her situation. “There I was, stuck on social assistance. I watched everybody I grew up with graduate and move on with their lives, and it really affected me. It made me want to get up and do something for myself. I started with education.” Krista enrolled in the GED program at the Halifax Community Learning Network, and she says it is the best decision she could have made.

“After passing four sections of the GED, I decided to follow my dream of becoming a Veterinary Assistant. I applied for a program and now attend four days a week. We are studying medical terminology which is like learning another language. This time next year I should have my diploma and be a graduate of the Vet Assistant Program.”

Krista’s GED instructor says she is an excellent choice for the Gary Mason Learner Achievement Award. “I can't recommend Krista strongly enough for this award. She truly put in a lot of effort this year and was a great role model to the others in the class in terms of attitude and dedication.”

Read Krista's NSPGI award acceptance speech      VIDEO

“Adult learning finally gave me the tools I need to make my dreams come true. I thank everyone that helped guide me through. The support is amazing! ” ~ Krista Marryatt

Ryan Perrin
Ryan Perrin

Ryan Perrin

2017 Nova Learning Inc- Nova Scotia Award Recipient

Ryan had just completed grade eight at age 14 when he became ill. “The illness left me with damaged nerves which tell me I'm always in pain. I saw what must have been dozens of doctors over the course of a few years.”

Eventually, Ryan had enough. “I took myself off all medication, learned to cope with the pain on my own, and decided to become a doctor. I've done all this because I want to make sure there's a doctor out there who can help people like myself.”

Ryan attends the Adult Learning Program at Kingstec, and has excelled. “Ryan started in the program by taking graduate math, and his exceptional success at the course gave him the confidence to attempt academic math, which he also successfully completed with a 94%,” says his instructor. “To my knowledge, Ryan is about to become the first ALP student in the province to complete the pre-calculus math course. He has shown tremendous growth during his time in ALP. He has demonstrated outstanding dedication to his studies, and contributes positively to the learning environment by encouraging and supporting his classmates. Ryan has proven to be one of the most capable students I have had the pleasure of teaching in my time at Kingstec.”

“I have done my utmost to earn excellent grades, averaging in the 90's overall”, says Ryan. “The Dalhousie University Bachelor of Medical Sciences program has accepted me for the coming fall school term. It's taken me years to learn to live with pain. Now I hope to help prevent it in others.”

Read Ryan's NSPGI award acceptance speech      VIDEO

"I've done all of this in my pursuit of becoming a doctor for the military, to make sure no one under my care will have to suffer injuries leading to or resulting in chronic pain similar to my own." ~ Ryan Perrin

Hakim Ibrahim
Hakim Ibrahim

Hakim Ibrahim

2016 Gary Mason Learner Achievement Award Recipient

Hakim left his family in Sudan due to war there. He travelled through many countries in Africa seeking peace and stability, and eventually arrived in Ghana in 2011 where he spent almost four years in a refugee camp.

After a long process, Hakim was able to immigrate to Nova Scotia in 2015. “I found a job, but faced so many difficulties communicating with people in my workplace that I asked my caseworker about going to school.” Hakim attended the Bedford School for six weeks. “My teacher encouraged me to go to the Cunard Learning Centre. I am now in Level III at Cunard and I am able to understand what people say and respond to them confidently.”

Hakim’s instructor says he is a leader in the classroom and never hesitates to help other classmates when needed. “His positive attitude, academic and social abilities, and his story of success create a combination that will inspire others to strive for higher learning.”

Read Hakim's NSPGI award acceptance speech      VIDEO

“I see many changes in me from when I began school! I believe if we are all educated, the world will be a better place to live! ” ~ Hakim Ibrahim

E Dale Reddick
E. Dale Reddick

E. Dale Reddick

2016 Nova Learning Inc Nova Scotia Learner Achievement Award Recipient

Dale left school early for a career as a bus driver for the schoolboard, which he kept for many years. “After transporting generations of kids back and forth from school, I decided that it was me that needed to restart my academic journey.”

Applying and going back to learning was intimidating at first for Dale. “When I left school, there were blackboards, but now there are computers and projection screens. I was older than my fellow classmates and some of my teachers.”

Now that he has successfully completed grade 12, Dale has set his sights on furthering his education and obtaining a trade. “With the years of experience driving that I already have, I plan to take the Heavy Machine Operator’s course.”

Read Dale's NSPGI award acceptance speech      VIDEO

“The sense of pride I have from accomplishing my goal has been a huge confidence boost.” ~ E. Dale Reddick

Pamala Pick
Pamala Lynn Pick

Pamala Lynn Pick

2015 Nova Learning Inc. Nova Scotia Learner Achievement Award Recipient
In 2013 Pamala decided to return to her education because she knew it was the only way she could achieve the future she desired. The single mother of two faced the challenge of balancing school with home life; however, her determination and eagerness to learn helped her overcome this challenge.

Pamala will receive her high school diploma in June 2015. She has been accepted into the Community Disability Supports Program at the NSCC Kingstec Campus.

Pamala’s instructor wrote, “After one year, I had instructors from post-secondary programs at the college coming to me telling me that Pam was teaching their students how to write effectively using APA format.”

Read Pamala's NSPGI award acceptance speech      VIDEO

“This experience has changed my life, and I can now walk into a room and hold my head high.” ~ Pamala Lynn Pick

Rachel Teah
Rachel Teah

Rachel Teah

2015 Nova Scotia Business Inc. Learner Achievement Award Recipient
After arriving in Canada from Liberia, Rachel realized that the majority of jobs require at least a high school diploma. Due to the circumstances of Liberia she did not have the support or the financial resources to continue any further than Grade 3 in the Liberian education system.

Rachel is a passionate learner. She is currently enrolled in the Cunard Learning Centre where she is working towards her goal of having a career in the field of accounting. When the EAL program was in jeopardy of being cut she voiced her concern to the local MLA.

“Her dedication to her studies has not only improved her skills but has driven her to become more self-assured as she continues on her learning path,” said Rachel’s tutor.

Read Rachel's NSPGI award acceptance speech      VIDEO

“When I started at the Cunard Learning Centre, it was difficult to understand what I was learning. Writing a simple letter used to be a huge challenge for me, but after a few months of studying, it became much easier.”
~ Rachel Teah

Todd Kenyon
Todd Kenyon

Todd Kenyon

2014 Nova Learning Inc. Nova Scotia Learner Award Recipient
Todd will receive his high school diploma in June 2014 and has been recognized as the Outstanding Contribution Award recipient within the Adult Learning Program this year.

Todd battled through the obstacles and problems that held him back and is now grateful for the opportunities that returning to school has provided. In September he will enter the Political Studies program at Mount Saint Vincent University.

Todd’s instructor describes him as being the kind of human being you hope every child will grow up to become. “Todd has had countless struggles, but he has tapped into his inner strength and resilience in order to rise up, persevere, and continue moving forward. Not only does Todd have a willingness to learn, but he also supports his fellow students’ learning through countless hours of tutoring, and still excels in all of his seven courses.”

Read Todd's NSPGI award acceptance speech     

“I feel more confident than ever in my abilities as a student and as a leader. I am truly grateful for the opportunities that returning to school has provided.”
~ Todd Kenyon

Samia Eldik
Samia Eldik

Samia Eldik

2014 Nova Scotia Business Inc. Learner Achievement Award Recipient
In 2003, Samia and her family arrived in Canada from Sudan. After tragically losing her husband, she knew she needed to learn English and gain more skills and knowledge that would lead to employment.

Right from the start, her tutor could see that Samia was a keen, curious and eager learner. “I have rarely had the opportunity to work with a student more driven to succeed. Samia’s commitment and achievement is inspirational.” Her tutor recalls how Samia wanted to learn how to write a letter. “While Samia waited for me to arrive for our session, she made her first attempt at letter writing. The note informed me that she would not be able to meet for our next session because she and her children would be receiving their Canadian Citizenship.”

Read Samia's NSPGI award acceptance speech     

“I am confident that I will achieve my goal of earning my Grade 12 so I can go on to Community College to study to become a homecare worker. I will be successful as long as I keep on trying.” ~ Samia Eldik

How NSPGI Helps Adult Learners in Nova Scotia

“The PGI grants are wonderful. Most of the time this is the only funding that we can rely on to provide direct support to learners. Giving a learner a book or a meal demonstrates compassion, and provides another level of support that is often missing in the lives of those who have the most severe challenges for learning, work, health, and quality of life. Our heartfelt thanks to the NSPGI for making a huge difference.”
      ~ Guysborough County Adult Learning Association

Gala learners
Learners from Guysborough County Adult Learning Association at the St Mary's Spring Celebration in 2017.

PGI Grants Support Literacy, Essential Skills and Lifelong Learning Opportunities at Guysborough County Adult Learning Association

Adults living in rural areas often require special funding support in order to obtain maximum benefit from the learning programs they are enrolled in.

Guysborough County Adult Learning Association (GALA) provides adult learning, essential skills and GED programs to adults throughout communities in Guysborough County, Nova Scotia. They have 3 physical locations in Guysborough, Canso and Sherbrooke. A 2017 PGI Grant helps GALA deliver the best possible learning programs to adults.

The funding paid for maintenance and upgrades to their 3 computer technology labs, including new software and accessories, learner resources, textbooks, school supplies, online access fees for the internet and a cellphone, printing supplies and paper. Learners can print resumes, certificates and other work-related documents for portfolios and employment applications.

PGI Grants also helped GALA provide learner subsidies for transportation and childcare in areas where there is no public transportation system. “Learning is enhanced by building self-confidence, and by demonstrating that we value our learners and miss them when they don’t attend our programs,” says GALA Executive Director Grail Sangster. “We are able to give gas cards to our learners who would otherwise have to walk more than 3 kilometres to class. We also offer them nutritious snacks, hot meals and free coffee.”

“Our programs are utilized by adults from 19 years to 80+,” says Grail. “Funding from PGI Grants contributes to GALA achieving better learner retention, increased accessibility to technology, and better computer labs, which are essential for learners in our programs to make progress and reach their employment and learning goals.”

PGI Grant projects are supported by Literacy Nova Scotia through funding provided by the Department of Labour and Advanced Education.

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HLNA learners
Learners at Hants Learning Network Association
in Windsor, Nova Scotia.

PGI Grants Enrich Learning at Hants Learning Network Association

A ride to school, up-to-date classroom and IT resources, and healthy meals: these are some of the things that help adult learners succeed.

Hants Learning Network Association (HLNA) in Windsor, Nova Scotia offers daytime and evening classes and one-on-one tutoring for adults enrolled in the Adult Learning Program. HLNA also provides classes and workshops on family literacy, computer literacy, and GED preparation.

HLNA received a 2017 PGI Grant which helps deliver and enrich their learning programs to over 100 adults. “These funds allow us to support learners to attend classes and programs, update our resources, and advertise our programs to attract new learners and volunteers,” says HLNA Executive Director Katharine McCoubrey.

“We are able to help learners get to classes at HLNA thanks to PGI Grants. One of the biggest issues our learners face is that there is no public transportation system in our area. Thanks to PGI Grants, we can partner with our local transportation society, Dial-A-Ride. They believe in the power of education to change lives, and have provided a central downtown location where students can get a ride to and from HLNA at a greatly discounted rate. So far this year, six of our learners have used this service to get to HLNA on a regular basis.”

PGI Grants will help cover the cost of an exciting outing that Katharine and the HLNA practitioners have planned for a group of their learners this year: a trip to the Museum of Natural History in Halifax for the Body Worlds exhibit. “This will be an amazing opportunity for them to learn more about how our bodies work and can be affected by various diseases. The PGI Grant funds will cover admission to the exhibit and lunch for the learners that day.”

HLNA learners enjoy making meals for themselves and others in the programs, and PGI Grants help pay for supplies for them to do so. “We believe that one of the many benefits of healthy eating is that it helps our learners focus in class,” says Katharine. “Our kitchen program teaches learners how to work together to make healthy meals and snacks for everyone here at school, and for themselves at home.”

“We use PGI Grant funding to purchase classroom resources: novels, workbooks, educational software, and online resources. Having this wide variety of recent resources means that learners can learn using materials that are meaningful and relevant to them.” Katharine says having access to new, updated and varied resources is also important for the practitioners who facilitate the learning programs.

HLNA learners produce their own resources, too. They are encouraged to develop their written communications skills and submit their writings for publication in their annual yearbook. The printing costs for the yearbook are covered by the PGI Grant.

With PGI Grants, the staff at HLNA give their adult learners amazing educational supports that make a huge difference!

PGI Grant projects are supported by Literacy Nova Scotia through funding provided by the Department of Labour and Advanced Education.

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The Shelburne County Learning Network location in Barrington, Nova Scotia.
SCLN learners
PGI Grants provide funding for resources and hands-on learning opportunities at SCLN.
SCLN museum visit
Learners and practitioners from SCLN enjoyed a visit to the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History on February 21, 2018 thanks to funding from a PGI Grant. Learners' field trip report

PGI Grants Help Provide Literacy Opportunities at Shelburne County Learning Network

Financial support for literacy programming helps make learning happen. It gives program coordinators and practitioners the money to provide extra learning enhancements for the adults in their programs without having to rely on donations.

Shelburne County Learning Network (SCLN) offers free literacy instruction to adults in Barrington and Shelburne, Nova Scotia. They provide Adult Learning Program, GED preparation, computer and work skills classes during the daytime and evenings.

With a 2017 PGI Grant, staff at SCLN have filled gaps in program funding and created learning incentives for adults in their programs. “PGI Grants provide a chance for more hands-on learning opportunities and field trips than we otherwise would be able to provide,” says SCLN Network Coordinator Monica Gosbee.

“We purchased supplies for painting sessions, and covered learners’ transportation costs to classes and field trips. We bought new resources, updated technical equipment and computers, and purchased school supplies for the adults in our programs. We used some of the funding for new outdoor signage to advertise our programs to attract more learners and volunteers.”

“I believe the PGI Grants help our practitioners because the funding covers the extra supports and resources we need, so they can focus on helping our learners succeed,” says Monica. “We are truly grateful for PGI Grants, and we hope they are made available for years to come.”

PGI Grant projects are supported by Literacy Nova Scotia through funding provided by the Department of Labour and Advanced Education.

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BSLN Paul MacNeil
Bedford Sackville Learning Network coordinator Paul MacNeil and LNS Board member Nancy Thompson.

PGI Grants Help BSLN Learners Achieve Success

Access to technology and computer training helps adult learners gain the essential skills they need for living and working in our digital world.

The Bedford-Sackville Learning Network (BSLN) delivers free literacy classroom instruction, one-on-one tutoring, GED programs and essential skills training to adults who want to improve their reading, writing, math, computer, and essential skills.

BSLN was one of 19 community-based learning organizations in Nova Scotia to receive PGI Grants in 2017 totalling $48,000. With funding from the PGI Grants, BSLN was able to purchase laptop computers, tablets, monitors, printers, software, and other technical components and accessories.

The mission of BSLN is to meet the needs and interests of adults who want to develop the necessary literacy and essential skills which will enable them to eventually achieve suitable employment. “By upgrading our hardware and software, our learners can learn to use the latest IT in our classroom and tutoring programs, and thereby stay competitive in their learning and in the workforce,” says BSLN Network Coordinator Paul MacNeil. “Learners from BSLN will be going on to institutions of higher learning (NSCC) or directly into the workforce where they will encounter the latest IT. We are getting more requests from people who want to improve their IT skills.”

“Our network was also able to purchase new texts and resources for our classroom and our one-to-one tutors, as well as printing supplies, and learners’ supplies such as calculators, pens, pencils and binders. Many of our learners cannot afford to buy these needed items.”

“Our classroom instructor has current, relevant resources and IT which greatly contributes to the success of the learners in our programs,” says MacNeil. “Regular technical upgrades and new software purchases also helps BSLN provide better workshops and professional development events for our literacy tutors.”

“PGI Grants improve the chances of our learners achieving success.”

PGI Grant projects are supported by Literacy Nova Scotia through funding provided by the Department of Labour and Advanced Education.

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Joggins Beach
CANU learners explored the Joggins Fossil Cliffs during the 2010 Balance Expo.

PGI Grants Help CANU Put Balance in Adult Learning

What do fossils, Cyrus Eaton, and the Amazing Race have in common?
All three represent innovative learning opportunities that were funded by PGI Grants at the Cumberland Adult Network for Upgrading (CANU) in Amherst, Nova Scotia.

Since 2004, CANU has helped adult learners step out of their comfort zones and learn new skills at their annual Balance Expo, a vital and meaningful learning opportunity funded by PGI Grants. The Expo is a day-long event held each year in various communities throughout Cumberland County. Learners, instructors and volunteers get out of the traditional classroom setting and ‘hit the road’ to activities in other locations. The Expo happens either in the spring or the fall, depending on the availability of the venue and the facilitators, and whatever time of the year works best for the activities planned.

During the 2010 CANU Balance Expo, learners gained new appreciation for an incredible educational resource that is right in their own backyard. They visited the Joggins Fossil Cliffs UNESCO World Heritage Site in Joggins, Nova Scotia. The Joggins site contains the world’s finest examples of fossil records from the Pennsylvanian 'Coal Age' approximately 310 million years ago. In 1852, Sir William Dawson, considered the founder of modern geology, discovered amphibian and reptile tetrapods fossilized in trees preserved in the Joggins cliffs. His discovery is considered pivotal to understanding the origins of all vertebrate life on earth. CANU learners toured the fossil centre and roamed the Joggins beaches on their own geological explorations.

Thinkers Lodge
CANU Balance Expo participants visited The Thinker’s Lodge in Pugwash in September 2013.

2013 CANU Balance Expo participants visited The Thinker’s Lodge in Pugwash, a National Historic Site and formerly the summer home of Cyrus Eaton, the Nova Scotia-born banker, businessman and philanthropist. The Thinker’s Lodge is famous for being the location of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, an international organization founded at the height of the Cold War in the 1950’s to address the possibility of a global nuclear war. The Pugwash Conference is still an annual event at The Thinker’s Lodge, where global experts gather to discuss peaceful conflict resolution. CANU learners toured the Lodge, enjoyed a history lesson, and were thrilled to sit in the very same chairs that Cyrus Eaton and scientists from around the world sat in during the first Pugwash conference in 1957.

Later that same day, CANU’s ‘Amazing Race Pugwash’ helped participants develop their map reading, computer, communication and social skills, and to be more physically active. To prepare for the race, CANU joined Heart&Stroke Walkabout, an initiative of the Heart and Stroke Foundation that encourages Nova Scotians to realize the physical and mental benefits of walking in their communities. Pedometers were purchased for the learners and everyone was encouraged to create an account on walkaboutns.ca where they could record their walking stats. During the race, everyone worked in pairs; each learner was partnered with a learner they had not yet met, and each pair had a map of Pugwash. The object was to follow the map and be the first pair to arrive at the end destination. Everyone enjoyed the amazing race and came away with increased skills, more familiarity with Pugwash and a greater appreciation of simply getting out and walking. Many learners still use their pedometers and login to the walkabout site to record their walking stats. CANU plans to set up walking challenges between adult learning classes, instructors and board members, and this will motivate everyone to stay active.

Special t-shirts sporting graphics and information on CANU are produced each year for Balance Expo participants. Learners, coordinators, instructors, and volunteers all wear the t-shirts, so no there’s no indication of what someone’s position is within the organization or what community they are from. This levels the playing field for everyone, increases the comfort level of those who may feel nervous about participating, and encourages all participants to relate to each other as equals. The t-shirts also help market CANU and its programs; learners become ambassadors for adult learning when they wear the t-shirts around their communities and answer questions about CANU.

CANU learners
Since CANU adult learning programs are only part-time, being together for the entire day of the Balance Expo forges a special social connection among the learners that they would not normally have.

CANU Coordinator Beth Estabrooks and Program Coordinator Catherine Wile say there are many CANU learner success stories they could tell, but when measuring the direct impact that PGI Grants have on adult learners, one story in particular comes to mind. “We had a student who was being tutored one-on-one in Pugwash. She was very isolated, lonely and extremely shy. When she came to the 2011 Balance Expo, she realized that she was not alone, and that there are many people just like her who are striving to improve their education and get their high school diploma. Interacting with the other learners at the Expo helped her discover self-confidence she didn’t know she had. This learner is now continuing her studies in Halifax which is an enormous leap for her, and something she would never have felt able to do a short time ago.”

Beth and Catherine say they would not be able to hold the annual Balance Expo without PGI Grant money, and they make every dollar count when planning this enriching learning experience. CANU adult learning programs are all only part-time, which offers a very limited time frame to go through the curriculum, or to have the learners interact with each other. Being together for the entire day of the Balance Expo forges a special social connection among participants that they would not normally have. The Balance Expo activities enrich the learning opportunities for the adult learners outside the classroom environment.

CANU’s Balance Expo gives adult learners exposure to the rich local history and culture of Cumberland County of which many were unaware. Many Expo participants had never been outside their communities before. Learning outside the classroom helps CANU learners to value their home communities, and also to understand that they are an essential part of something much greater.

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LNS logo

Net proceeds from the PGIs for Literacy are used by Literacy Nova Scotia to benefit adult learners
across the province.