Lifelong Learning:

It’s Essential

 
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Our youth program gets a passing grade

Facilitators from five NWT communities — Ndılǫ, Fort McPherson, Fort Resolution, Hay River, and Délı̨ne  — gathered in Yellowknife recently to give feedback on the NWT Literacy Council’s Skill Builders for Youth program.

The Skill Builders for Youth program is at the end of its three-year workplan, so we set aside time to do a thorough evaluation and reflect on the challenges, successes, and lessons learned. The program began in 2013, under the name Skill Builders for Young Parents. It now supports youth, aged 16-29 years old, who are out of school and underemployed. Facilitators offer short, informal, hands-on learning opportunities to build skills and provide youth a pathway back into learning.

The Literacy Council trains and supports youth literacy workers across the NWT to deliver three different types of programs with literacy and essential skills built into them. The programs are: Learning in the Kitchen, about cooking and nutrition; Youth Literacy Nights, a series of informal and fun events like a sports tournament, spa night, and board games night; and Telling Our Stories, a digital literacy program.

Our evaluator, Sue Folinsbee, facilitated a series of activities to gather feedback on all aspects of the program. The facilitators were happy with the resources and support offered by the NWT Literacy Council since they don’t have time to develop programs from scratch.  They also enjoyed the opportunity to meet other facilitators and hear about their programs.

We learned that they find various ways to use the program materials. Despite these differences, we all have a shared goal — helping youth gain the skills they need to live happy and healthy lives.

We used this time together to learn more about the process of embedding literacy and essential skills. We modeled best practices and learned by doing. Working in teams, the facilitators created something out of duct tape. Afterwards, we talked about how this activity embedded literacy and essential skills, and how to transfer this to other activities.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the evaluation workshop. We’re grateful for your feedback and look forward to making your ideas part of the youth project in the future.

— Emily Smith, Youth and Adult Services

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