It has been many months since our last blog post.  Is that a good or a bad thing?  Maybe we can say that we have been too busy to write or maybe nothing has happened so we have nothing to report.  I am hoping that it is the first suggestion.  And as I sit facing this computer screen this afternoon, maybe it is time to take a deep breath.  We are almost at the end of 2017 and we are getting ready for holidays.  What a perfect time to take a look back at what happened at Literacy Nipissing in 2017.  Now that we are all a year older, I hope we can remember what happened!!

We started off 2017 with a group of eager students working on their GED preparation.  We still had many volunteer tutors who worked with learners and everyone was eager to start the new year off on a good foot.  We also hosted our annual Family Literacy Skate with the Early Years Centre.  This is always a fun time when we see families have a fun afternoon at the rink.  Even those wearing Montreal Canadians shirts are welcome 🙂

Our students worked very hard during the winter months.  But what else do you expect?  What else is there to do in Northern Ontario in January, February and March?  You might as well come to school!!!  We also took some time in the winter to share learner stories.  It was a very humbling experience.  We were trusted with heart wrenching stories of why some learners have to complete their education later in life.  Humbling but there were many times we wanted to punch the air and yell from the rooftops, “Good for you, no one is ever going to stop you now.”  If you missed any of these stories, you can find them on our website under Literacy Lantern.  But be careful.  Once you read them, you may be changed forever.

April brought nice weather and most of our students hung in with us.  Especially the GED students.  They were so close to writing their final test.  At the end of April we also participated in the annual Workforce Week hosted by the Labour Market Group.  We have been part of this event for the past 4 years and it is a great opportunity to show our learners that employment opportunities available to them – especially if they have the skills, like a GED.

In June we hosted our first GED test.  We were fortunate to have the test administered right in our office for the first time.  It sure took away a lot of stress for students to know that they could write their tests in a familiar place.  AND the best news was all that wrote the test PASSED.  We felt like proud momma birds, watching our chicks succeed and then kicking them out of the nest.  Well, kind of.  We kick them out of the nest but then ask them to come back the next day for a visit.  Two of the students who passed, also started at Canadore this year.  Can you hear the pride???? We again hosted the test at the end of November and you guessed it, they passed again!!

Summer was the perfect time to get ready for Christmas.  The next book in the Santa series written by Dennis Chippa and illustrated by the Widdifield art students was completed so it was our turn to prepare for the launch of the new book.  We decorated the office to the groans of all who entered.  We (and I mean Cassandra) drew all the posters and materials needed for the launch.  I have to say that at least we didn’t play Christmas music while the shadflies covered our building.  We waited to do that until snow was on the ground in November.

Fall is the traditional time to start school and it is no different here.  Some students just continue their studies but we always have an influx of new students.  We had another GED class scheduled, Maureen had over 20 booked for her small group, tutors and learners were booked and Deanna had our Mattawa program up and running after a summer break.  Learning was happening and it was exciting to hear, “No way, that’s how you do long division without a calculator?”

November 18th was the day for the launch of Crankpot, The Underpants Elf.  We had the launch at Widdifield Secondary School and we called it Elf-a-polooza.  We had a lot of fun watching the kids have fun.  We all dressed up like elves and it was hard to be the cranky elf when the kids were so cute.  I think I heard the same joke about 20 times that day in order to make me, the cranky elf, smile.  It worked every time.  This was the start of the selling season for us.  We are very grateful for the support of the community in purchasing the book.  The funds that are raised are put to good use to offset expenses that we have.  Our community has supported us greatly over the years.

As I write this, we are 13 days away from the start of a very important year.  2018 marks the 40th anniversary of The North Bay Literacy Council or Literacy Nipissing (however you know us!).  We are working on plans to commemorate this important milestone.  Stay tuned to our social media posts and website for how we are going to celebrate the accomplishments of over 5000 learners.

Thanks for taking an interest in us this year 🙂

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