14Jul 23

2023 AGM Opening Remarks

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“Good afternoon and thank you for joining us at our first annual general meeting since approving our name change and rebranding to Foundations Learning and Skills Saskatchewan! My name is Alecia Nagy and it is my pleasure to act as Board Chair for this fantastic organization.

Today is an exciting day as we launch our new 2023-2028 strategic plan. Our strategic planning committee has worked tirelessly over the last year (we started May 2022) to ensure our mission and vision as well as the key themes in our strategic plan reflect both our strengths and the exciting places we are headed as an organization. I would like to take a minute to thank our Committee members:

  • Committee chair – Lucy Pereira
  • Kristy Jackson
  • Dylan Youngstrom
  • Monique Lischynski
  • Sheri Porrelli
  • Jarvis Pelletier
  • Kelsey Dixon
  • Jocelyn Hofmann
  • Sheryl Harrow-Yurach


The key themes that emerged throughout this process, and that we will focus on for the next five years include:

  1. Telling our story more effectively, to ensure we increase awareness of Foundations’ impact throughout the province in order to increase participation in our programs province wide.
  2. Leveraging our partnerships to enhance community impact.
  3. Enhancing our existing commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  4. Enhancing our program quality and reach and
  5. Aligning our resources to strengthen organizational excellence, impact and growth.

Our senior leadership team have lead our organization through an unpredictable and unprecedented time these last three years, and we emerged stronger than ever. I am so excited to see where they will take us for these next five years with our new strategic plan.

I’d like to turn our attention to our programming, which is the cornerstone of everything we do at Foundations. First of all, our adult one-on-one tutoring program, Lead, is our longest standing program and has been part of our organization since its inception. Our program has vast impact in our community when we consider the following statistics:

  • 53% of Lead learners have less than Grade 12 education
  • The Average age of adult learners in Lead is 41
  • And our oldest learners are 81 and 89!

Not only that, our programming allows our learners to dream big and achieve their goals, like one learner who told us:

  • “I guess my favourite thing is learning, and I’m happy that I started. I am glad that I am still hanging on to get to my goals like getting my driver’s license.”

This year we launched an exciting new children’s program called Play Money. Did you know that children who are exposed to money management are more likely to carry those habits into adulthood?

This year, we combined elements of our financial literacy and family literacy program areas to pilot a new program. Play Money is a 4-week family learning program for preschoolers aged 3-5 and their caregivers. Families can brush up on their family finance skills and get a jump start on their child’s early learning skills. Each week families focus on children’s skills like fine and gross motor development, social-emotional regulation, language, literacy, and problem solving. Caregivers get some tips and exercises to make at-home money management simpler plus all their burning budgeting questions answered!

Above all else, it is important to note that learning is not linear, it is lifelong, and learning needs consistent investment. Strong literacy skills are the foundation to which personal, educational, and employment opportunities stick. Successful learning is based on strong skills. Skills precede confidence. And our volunteers are busy everyday providing skills. Community organizations are an essential part of the learning landscape. We ensure equitable access to information for those that need it the most.

At Foundations we provide comfort and belonging by setting a culture where people understand they are not alone. We want our community to understand the challenges of low literacy and why it exists: Life circumstances, frequent moving, packed classrooms, family conflict, hunger, mental health, addiction. The adults and children we work alongside have many skills and strengths, and the reason they struggle is not their fault. The challenges individuals and families face are too great for the school system, justice system, health system to resolve on their own.

As a provincial literacy organization our goal isn’t just to do more to meet the ever-increasing demands, it’s to do it in partnership with organizations and communities and ensure quality and results are maintained.

In closing, on behalf of the Board of Directors, I want to take a moment to recognize someone whose contributions to Foundations have made us the organization we are today. Over the past 21 years, our learners, members, staff, the board, committee members, volunteers, donors, community partners, and all those who work with Foundations have been impacted in some way by the contributions of our outstanding Executive Director, Sheryl Harrow-Yurach. Sheryl is a strategic thinker who has exceptional vision in terms of how decisions made now impact the future of the organization. This is always done with our mission in mind, and certainly Sheryl’s tremendous work over her tenure demonstrates her key role in translating our mission to action. The board would like to present her with a painting by Kathy Bradshaw which represents her unique spirit and presence in our organization. Thank you Sheryl!”

–  Alecia Nagy, Foundations’ Board Chair