Project Literacy Victoria finds new life after brief hiatus

Cecelia has always had difficulty with math.

Cecelia has always had difficulty with math.

The Victoria resident, who did not want to give her last name, is dyslexic. When she was younger, she moved around a lot, making it challenging to find consistent help.

She had problems such as adding tax onto grocery bills. Being on a fixed grocery budget, she would end up going to a register with no idea of the dollar amount in her basket.

“It’s difficult for me to see the numbers the right way,” Cecelia said. “It’s been really hard.”

That’s when Cecelia decided to get help.

She had seen signs for Project Literacy Victoria, a program that provides free one-on-one literacy tutoring, and decided to enrol. Shortly after, she was paired with 21-year-old volunteer tutor Austen Whitehead.

Whitehead developed an activity plan to help Cecelia with her math skills. They started with math problems and worked their way up to multiplying the 12 per cent sales tax to prices, as well as long division.

Over the last four months, Cecelia’s skills have improved dramatically.

“I feel more confident now,” she said adding she received 28.5 out of 29 on a recent math test.

Kathleen Troger, executive director with Project Literacy Victoria, said she’s seen a visual difference in Cecelia as well.

“She’s just blossomed in front of my eyes. When I first paired her up with Austen she was very nervous and uncomfortable and didn’t have a lot of eye contact,” she said. “Whereas now, she looks me in the eye. She’s beaming.”

Cecelia and Whitehead are one of 50 tutor-learner pairs at Project Literacy Victoria.

The program has been operating in the city for the past 28 years, helping adults with literacy such as reading, writing, comprehension, numeracy, and provides support for computer-literacy related goals as well. They also assist residents with getting driver’s licences or B.C. Medical.

However, last fall the program was forced to close its doors for six months due to funding cuts, despite public outcry from tutors and people who benefit from the program.

This year, the program was one of 89 non-profit organizations on Vancouver Island that were awarded a record-breaking $1.7 million in community grants from the Victoria Foundation.

The $20,000 grant for Project Literacy is a significant chunk of the program’s $80,000 to $100,000 operating budget, allowing them to continue to offer programs again.

Troger said they’ll work on rebuilding the program, including bringing on additional staff.

“It really is going to help us focus on increasing the number of tutor-learning pairings we have and ensuring the quality of our programming is as high as it possibly can be,” she said, noting they also received $50,000 in funding from the Ministry of Advanced Education. “This service is a real fundamental in this community.”

Carol Hall, director of community initiatives and grants with the foundation, said this year’s grant recipients address at least one of 12 vital sign issue areas, including learning, arts, environment and homelessness.

“Literacy is really central in helping people realize their potential. It’s a cornerstone to community well-being in many ways,” Hall said. “We’re really pleased to see such a diversity of projects going out in this year’s community grants.”

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Royal Roads University president Philip Steenkamp said they are aware of hateful graffiti spray-painted in an area of the forest surrounding the campus. The graffiti in question includes anti-Semitic content and a racial slur towards Black people. (Facebook/Royal Roads University)
Anti-Semitic, hateful graffiti spotted in forest near Royal Roads University

Royal Roads working with West Shore RCMP to remove graffiti “as soon as possible”

A cougar was spotted at Royal Roads University on Sunday, Jan. 24. The sighting was reported on the western edge of the campus. (File photo)
Cougar spotted at Royal Roads University Sunday afternoon

Animal reported on western side of campus near Colwood Fire Department

Saanich-based St. Luke’s Players community theatre company has been making the most of their opportunities to keep busy during the pandemic, including staging a Christmastime panto of Alice in Wonderland on Zoom. (Courtesy St. Luke’s Players)
Saanich’s St. Luke’s Players: Bringing the stage to the people

Community theatre company holding online auditions Jan. 23-24 for March production

Frank Bourree was awarded the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce’s first Governors’ Award of Distinction for his leadership in the business community. (Courtesy of Frank Bourree)
Frank Bourree receives award of distinction from Victoria chamber

Award recognizes positive role model in business community

The Habitat for Humanity Meaning of Home contest is open to students in Grades 5 to 6. (Screenshot/Habitat for Humanity video)
Habitat for Humanity launches national writing contest

Entries accepted from students in Grades 4 to 6 until Feb. 19

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

The sky above Mt. Benson in Nanaimo is illuminated by flares as search and rescuers help an injured hiker down the mountain to a waiting ambulance. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Search and Rescue)
Search plane lights up Nanaimo mountain with flares during icy rope rescue

Rescuers got injured hiker down Mt. Benson to a waiting ambulance Saturday night

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo hospital

Two staff members and one patient have tested positive, all on the same floor

Most Read