Together to Learn: Helping parents to succeed
Together to Learn is a family literacy program that helps parents to upgrade courses while their children are being minded.
The program is a partnership between Kootenay Family Place, Selkirk College and Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL).
As well as providing upgrading and childminding, the program offers family literacy opportunities and hosts guest speakers from the college and other services in the community.
For the past two years, one young mother, Gabrielle, has fully participated in Together to Learn. She has three boys – eight, six, and three.
The program has opened many opportunities to Gabrielle. She has attended Love 2 Learn, a family literacy program. She was the only parent in her son’s class to participate in all three Parents as Literacy Supporters (PALS) sessions.
After a presentation from the Kootenay Career Development Society, Gabrielle applied for and participated in a five-week full-time Retail Trades, Accommodation and Food Service Training (RAFT) program. Upon completion, she became successfully employed.
Gabrielle also received support for one of her children through the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ). CBAL staff were able to refer him to supported development programs. She is relieved that her child will be getting the language support he needs.
Being a stay at home mom has its obstacles, such as isolation and just the fear of being vulnerable, especially when you are a very shy person. When I first heard about the family literacy programs for me and my family, I had my doubts. The fear of not knowing what I was getting myself into, or just the fear or being rejected. It has completely changed my life, I now know what I want to do with the rest of my life, I am more openly involved with my children. Life just has more of a meaning, and I can now see there are so many opportunities out there. You just have to have an open mind and involve yourself. If you let fear take over and hold you back you’ll never succeed. I owe a huge thank you to the family literacy programs, and to the facilitators for showing me kindness and support to succeed for myself and my family.