29Jun 22

From Perseverance to Building Up

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READ Saskatoon’s running theme in 2020 was perseverance and it was fitting for the program participants, volunteers, supporters, and staff in their ability to continue achieving success during the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic. READ Saskatoon maintained the constant progression forward, setting an example of stability and constant service delivery with their theme being ‘building up’ rather than ‘building back’ post-COVID. I would like to share our 2022 outputs compared to 2019 pre-pandemic outputs

  • 145% increase in Spark children served
  • 52% increase in financial literacy participants served
  • 96% increase in trained financial literacy facilitators
  • 23% increase in family literacy program participants
  • 40% increase in trained volunteers
  • 41% increase in adult literacy program participants

Another beacon of success in 2021 was seen in support of the organization’s PGI golf tournament and planning the return of the annual LIT UP! event in May. The incredible success of READ Saskatoon’s major gift campaign committee, is an outstanding testament of the strength of its community partnerships and on-going support. The surpassing of the campaign’s goal was not surprising, for the committee it was an absolute watershed moment for the agency. Special thank you to the Korchinski Family Foundation for matching all donations up to one million dollars.

It was recently announced that READ Saskatoon will continue its organizational evolution with a name change—becoming Foundations Learning & Skills Saskatchewan. This is certainly not a deviation of the organization’s mission and vision in family, adult, financial, and children’s literacy delivery; this still remains core to the organization. We do this work because of learning barriers and to ensure everyone can reach their goals and dreams. Consider this quote from Stephen, a Grade 4 student in Spark:

“When I first came here, I wasn’t as good and then when I kept coming and reading more, I got better. That’s the whole point of getting better at reading…is to keep reading to get better. Once you get better, you can understand more things because you can read more.” Volunteering for this agency is fulfilling because the people are inspiring.

“My favourite thing is connecting with a learner, and in terms of Jenelle specifically, being able to see her progress in class. We recently celebrated a 91% on one of her math tests and that was a really amazing feeling!” (Stefanie K, Lead Literacy Coach, May 2022)

“The materials had great info. I have a lot of life experience and there was still things in there I wouldn’t have thought of. I appreciated learning from the other parents, and it was fun to watch the kids interacting together. I checked out many schools in the community because of the program.” (Parent, Criss Cross Applesauce, Family Resource Centre, May 2022)

“I learned that there are many different ways to deal with my debts, and my credit doesn’t have to stay bad forever.” (Credit Workshop Participant, Radius Community Centre, September 2021)

Last year I mentioned a quote from Bernard Kelvin Clive – “The future is not just about start-ups but stay-ups; anyone can start but it takes those who can stand the test of time to stay relevant.” Foundations is aptly named and quite relevant for the team and organization. When looking to build up, weather it is a house, team, or program, the success of a build is through a strong and established base, and true to this statement, Foundations Learning & Skills Saskatchewan is positioned very well to build up successfully for another 43 years.

Jarvis Pelletier, Foundations Board Chair