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Years ago i watched the movie Stanley and Iris. It’s a basic romance between Stanley, a brilliant man who couldn’t read, and Iris, a recent widow who helps him learn to read. The great Hollywood ending is that he ends up helping her mend her broken heart. You’re supposed to walk out of the movie feeling good and romance in your mind, but I walked away with a new awareness of how difficult life is if you can’t read.
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Think about it. Reading and writing make our lives easier. We don’t have to memorize everything, we can just write things down and read them later. While the main character, Stanley, struggled with a phone book in the 1980s, people today must be able to search the internet for information. Two skills are therefore necessary: reading and digital skills. I can’t imagine how difficult my life would be if I couldn’t read, work on a computer, or calculate how much money I am making versus what I owe. And yet the official statistic is that 1 in 5 adults in Alberta struggle with these daily tasks.
In the film, Stanley’s learning to read transforms his life. For people who work and volunteer at Learning from the rural community of South Peace, we hope that people struggling with literacy or just wanting to get their GED (High School Diploma Equivalency) will come and ask us for help. Since we mainly do one-on-one tutoring, we are able to help learners who don’t have time to attend a large class or who have had difficulty in this setting in the past.
If you know of anyone who needs help with literacy (reading, writing, math, using a computer), we would be happy to help. We also have experienced people working with immigrants who help them learn English. Our adult tutoring services are free. Maybe you would like to become a volunteer. All of the “big wins” we have had over the past few years are a direct result of the wonderful work of our volunteers and the hard work of the people who call us and ask for help.
We also run classes such as first aid and CPR, gun safety, library groups for moms and kids in many of our rural communities to keep people learning in their own area. Our main office is in Hythe, but we have satellite offices in Rycroft and Sexsmith. Check us out on Facebook or call us at (780) 354-2656 or 1-866-538-4111.