Who We Are
The Literacy Council of Durham Region is a non-profit charity whose main purpose is to help adults improve their basic literacy skills to be successful at home, work and in their communities. It relies on the generosity of donors to continue its mission.
The Council provides free and confidential tutor to learners who speak English as a first language. The one-to-one tutoring upgrading is an effective and supportive process that recognizes that everyone learners differently and face unique challenges. Our focus is on helping our learners increase their skills and meet their goals.
A Brief History of the Literacy Council of Durham Region
The Literacy Council of Durham Region is a charitable non-profit volunteer organization dedicated to increasing adult literacy in the Durham Region guided by the principle Each One Teach One. This philosophy encourages volunteer tutors to identify the learners’ needs and design learning activities to meet their individual goals.
The Council has been operating in Durham since 1980. Over the years the Council has slowly increased in size and has made strong links in the community to help meet the needs of adults who strive to improve their reading, writing and numeracy skills. The Council is a learner centred program that is committed to helping learners achieve their stated outcomes and goals.
In 1993 the Literacy Council of Durham became a member agency of the United Way of Ajax-Pickering-Uxbridge to support literacy in those Durham communities. The United Way’s donations have allowed us to continue our work in our local communities. Other funding is received from the Ministry for Training, Colleges and Universities, which is the main government body responsible for funding adult basic skills training and literacy programs in the province.
The Council has worked with over 710 learners and delivered 56, 409 hours of direct literacy instruction since 2005. The majority of these learners were assessed at Literacy and Basic Skills level 1, which means they would be unable to read and write for simple daily tasks. The Council has succeeded in helping these individuals improve their skills and reach their goals. With a waiting list of learners and a continued need for volunteers, the Council continues to strive to make community connections and raise its profile to meet the need of the 22% of Durham residents who have severe difficulty with literacy skills.
Who Are our Learners?
Literacy is a ‘Use it or lose it skill’. Without regular use a person’s literacy skills decrease over time. This means that someone who struggled through school and did not use any of his or her skills for many years would find it very difficult to read and write at a level necessary for many daily tasks. Many of the learners who come to the Council have some basic reading and writing skills; however, they find themselves unable to complete the tasks that are required because their skills are insufficient. A learner who wants to training to improve their skills to become more employable must have the skills to read training materials or the ability to write notes and emails. Before they are able to go back into classroom or small group programs they will need to improve their skills.
Learners have a wide-range of goals related to employment, further education and independence. Individuals are referred to the program by friends, family, other literacy programs, community partners, and government employment agencies.