Learners Achieving Goals Through Volunteering

The Ottawa Community Coalition for Literacy is pleased to present a new resource for literacy and basic skills programs: the Community Works Handbook and the accompanying Community Works: Implementation and Process Guide. We completed an exciting project with the help of two terrific partners, ALSO (Alternative Learning Styles and Outlooks, a Literacy and Basic Skills agency) www.also-ottawa.org and Heartwood House (a community of 15 non-profit organizations) www.heartwoodhouse.ca. Together we developed an innovative model of supported volunteering that provides training in transferable essential skills for learners who are marginalized and/or disadvantaged by a variety of barriers and challenges.

During the project, 10 learners from ALSO and People, Words & Change (another LBS agency in Ottawa) worked with amazing enthusiasm and energy to meet a variety of challenges head-on. They each participated in one of the following volunteer placements:

  • Reception and inventory positions at OC Transpo Lost & Found (the lost and found for Ottawa's transit system which is operated by Heartwood House)
  • Receptionist at ALSO
  • Assistant in ALSO's Children's Room

Here are some of their comments:

I'm an asset now – giving back – I no longer want to kick the world.

I can't tell my children what to do with their lives if I don't do something.

If you have confidence, nothing can stop you.

I am actually happy to get up and come in.

I've learned what I'm capable of doing.

I feel good when I go home.

We knew our own challenges but didn't recognize our own strengths.

Spread the word!!  Give other people a chance to do what we have done.

OCCL is grateful to the Office of Literacy and Essential Skills, Human Resources and Social Development Canada for funding the project.

Community Works Handbook (PDF 818k)

Community Works: Implementation and Process Guide (PDF 494k)