As an educator, I have witnessed the effect that literacy skills have on people’s lives. In my first years as a teacher, I focused entirely on my students and actions to aid them to become more literate, thus helping them to experience success. I soon realized that my students often struggled if literacy was not encouraged in their homes.
Enter a supportive principal and the NWT Literacy Council. In the late 2000s, I trained with the Council’s Family Tutoring Program, which helped me support parents to actively engage in their children’s education. With this program, I immediately noticed how student success in and out of the classroom matched parents’ involvement and their willingness to model lifelong learning.
With the birth of my oldest child, I became much more interested in the early years. With the help of NWT Literacy Council funding and my community library, I not only ran programs for children and teens, but for babies and toddlers. In addition to this, I enrolled the children of Fort Providence in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in the hope that having a book delivered each month to a child’s home might increase literacy skills.
After moving to Yellowknife, I applied for funding for a music class and DancePl3y to be held at the Yellowknife Playgroup. When I noticed last spring that the Yellowknife region seat on the Literacy Council board was vacant, it felt only natural that I put my name in the hat.
I believe in the work that the Literacy Council does. The scope of their work gives everyone the opportunity to improve themselves and their children’s lives. The Council empowers people through all of their programs. I’ve been focused on promoting literacy in the early years, but after our board meetings this past weekend I am reminded that literacy and learning are lifelong.
I am excited to not only support the staff as they deliver programs all over the territory, but to learn about the ins and outs of being on this board and all the initiatives of the Council.
— Rachel VanderVeen
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