25Aug 15

Literacy For Success

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Al Tirk owns the Snooker Shack Billard Room, an award-winning facility providing family-friendly fun.

Tirk has been in family friendly business a long time.  He learned from his parents — his father operated their laundromats, and his mother did the book-keeping. He says that his work ethic, determination, and “having a strong wife” are key to his business success.

At the Snooker Shack, Tirk’s staff are mostly young adults in their first job. He finds people at that point in their lives often struggle with literacy. “Not only trying to communicate with each other, but also to communicate menus and to communicate with people in general –that’s what literacy is to me,” says Tirk.

Tirk describes how some of his staff also lack basic financial literacy skills, like the ability to make change at tables, or manage their personal finances.

"Literacy is important to me as an employer," says Tirk. He believes it makes sense to financially support READ Saskatoon’s work in literacy, including financial literacy.

“Having READ Saskatoon there for a hand up, rather than a hand out,” says Tirk, “is important for people who have not had the time, support or necessary opportunities to learn.”

To Tirk, READ Saskatoon is one of the places that his staff can go at this point in their lives to further their literacy, and then go out into the workforce and succeed. “If they want to move on and do something different, they need comprehension, the ability to read manuals,” says Tirk.

Tirk is a member of the Saskatoon Lions Clubs, a major supporter of READ Saskatoon through the PGI.

The Saskatoon Lions Clubs sponsor the Lions Learner Award, given each year to an outstanding adult learner.

“Once a few members had attended the PGI and heard the learners’ stories, it was easy for Saskatoon Lions Clubs to come to a decision to support READ Saskatoon,” he says. “We feel it’s a good use of the money that the Lions work hard to raise in the community.”

“The PGI opens a lot of eyes,” says Tirk. It’s an interesting way to reach out and educate other people on the fact that some people just haven’t been able to master the basics to succeed.”