LiteracyWORKS Connections - Unveiling of our new name

unveiling new name

From left to right:
Jin-Hee Park, Barb Rielle,
Bud W.F., Elma Gerwin,
Shirley Stone, Cliff Gose,
Glenda Prince.

      Sim’s Story


I had difficulty reading and writing. One night I saw this ad on TV. It said, "Look in the Yellow Pages in the phone book to learn to read." I found this number 947-5757, which is the Learn Line. They referred me to Winnipeg Volunteer Reading Aides (WVRA), which is now called LiteracyWORKS. I phoned the number and made an appointment with Shirley Stone.

That was the longest walk in my life. When I got to 500 Portage Avenue, the coffee shop on the main floor looked like a cocktail bar. And if I was a drinker I would have gone in there and forgotten to go upstairs. When I got off the elevator and looked down the hall to see a door that said WVRA, I froze. "What are these people going to ask me? What will they think of a man of 67 wanting to learn to read and write?" They made me feel comfortable and I knew I made the right choice. After three years, I'm still here and still going strong.


The first student-tutor pair matched by the Winnipeg Volunteer Reading Aides was Agnes Philbrow and Kae Harasym in September 1978. They celebrated 23 years of friendship this past September with a special luncheon engagement at a local restaurant.



      Agnes’s Story


(as dictated to her tutor as the basis for a Language Experience lesson)

I was born in Bathurst, NB, twelfth born of sixteen children. We moved to Ontario when I was three. I went to school when I was five. I enjoyed kindergarten, passed to Grade 1 and was passed on the Grade 2, spent two years there and two years in each grade up go Grade 6, as I had to stay in school till I was 16. Nobody took the time to figure out that there was a problem right in Grade 1.

The teachers tried, or thought they were helping by bringing me to the front of the class to read a Grade 1 book (the same book) when I was in Grade 3 on to 6. All they were doing was keeping me quiet and making me angry inside.

In those days, I was considered slow or backwards, but when they gave us an oral I.Q. test, I was at the top.

Kids are very cruel because they learn from their parents. If you don't dress the same or look the same as they do or if you don't smell right, they tease you and call you names. Some were rich and some were poor, and I was one of the poor ones-that is, in some ways. I was richer in family love.

Not only the poor die but the rich die also, whether you can read or not. Until I was 15 I thought that people who were rich and could read never died, but when a rich man who I knew died, it took me by surprise.

I get very frustrated when I see educated people do nothing with their education. It makes me very angry when I have to struggle so hard at learning to read.

Avril Chartrand winning

Avril Chartrand winning the Superior Propane Learner Award at the Peter Gzowski Literacy Golf Tournament in Manitoba.

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