Author Archives: Carrie Wakeford

Peterborough Native Learning Program

‘7 Grandfather Teachings’ guides student learning at Peterborough Native Learning Program

Orange logo with turtleThe Seven Grandfather Teachings has been a guide for Indigenous people, communities and organizations for generations. At the Peterborough Native Learning Program (PNLP), it’s the cornerstone of everyday learning.

Jason Gilbert, PNLP’s executive director says that for over 20 years, PNLP has been reconnecting learners with their Indigenous culture and traditions.

“Whether you’re Indigenous or not, some of the most powerful teachings we can learn in our lives are rooted in Indigenous traditions,” he says. “The thing that binds us all together include the Seven Grandfather Teachings that both honour and guide Anishinaabe life—Wisdom, Love, Respect, Bravery, Honesty, Humility, and Truth.”

These core values are necessary, he adds, to our wellbeing, how we conduct ourselves in our relationships and exist in harmony and peace with the world.

PNLP also incorporates culturally-appropriate lessons and the Medicine Wheel, which reminds us that we need to balance the spiritual, emotional, mental and physical parts of our lives for true wellbeing.

Gilbert says these teachings fit well into how we support learners in overcoming challenges and barriers.

PNLP is an adult learning agency that helps individuals over the age of 19 reach their goals. The organization is considered a key resource for Indigenous, non-Indigenous and New Canadians wanting to upgrade their skills to benefit them in life, a career, training or education.

Learners attend PNLP for many reasons. Some people want to complete their Grade 12 or their GED (a credential that says that you have grade 12 level knowledge even without a diploma), or they have their sights set on attending college or university.

Learners can take courses at their own pace, including GED test preparation. People also work on developing their employment readiness – skills that will prepare them for work. Apprenticeship preparation and digital skills training and support is also available.

All courses at PNLP are taught by instructors who start by helping each learner set individual goals. Instructors then provide whatever training and support is needed by each person.  It is really customized training.

PNLP also supports people in overcoming barriers so that they can reach the goals they set. “We’ve had students who struggle with poverty, live with emotional or physical trauma, mental health challenges or are in drug addiction recovery or suffer from addictions.  Showing them that there’s love and respect at PNLP is very important to us. We support people going through personal challenges through the Seven Grandfather Teachings.  Wisdom, Love, Respect, Bravery, Honesty, Humility, and Truth can definitely provide a clear path forward.”

“A key focus for us is to get Indigenous learners into a position where they can find work, prepare for learning or gain confidence in their lives.” says Gilbert.  “An education leads to healthier and more productive lives.” “We understand the challenges people face; our goal is to support them each step of the way. As they go through our program, we see their confidence build.” says Gilbert.  He’s seen firsthand the successes of learners who have worked so hard to accomplish their education and career goals.

He recalls one student who had a difficult time reaching her goal. The student met with a PNLP instructor who worked closely with her to develop a learning plan. Within a short time, she reached her Level 3—the highest skill level at PNLP. She moved on to Fleming Skills on Demand – Work and Academic Upgrading and then she completed a healthcare program.

“For that learner, getting to that point was a huge success, and it was great that PNLP could help get her there,” says Gilbert.

His other favourite story is of a learner who approached PNLP because she wanted to apply to the Fleming College Firefighter program. Her only roadblock, she didn’t have Grade 12 C Math and needed assistance.

“Our instructor worked one-on-one with this student. She applied herself with such dedication and did her math work every single day. What could have taken her two years to complete, she did successfully in six months and got accepted into the Firefighting course at Fleming College. It was an incredibly proud moment for her—and for us!” says Gilbert.

PNLP also works with community partners, including Curve Lake Business Employment Resource Centre to help Curve Lake members develop skills for employment.

Notice of fundraising campaign and link to Canada HelpsGilbert enjoys connecting with other agencies and welcomes referrals.  “We are proud of the work we do and are happy that PNLP is really becoming known throughout Peterborough and County.  The increase recognition and referrals confirm that we are really offering something beneficial in the community.”

“We’re getting ourselves out there and letting people know who we are and what we’re doing,” says Gilbert. “There’s more emphasis on preserving Indigenous culture and more focus on the Seven Grandfather Teachings. We also attend events on reserves and in the community.  We present at job fairs and host employment readiness workshops to let people know what we do.”

“We have a great relationship with our community partners and work closely with other organizations, making referrals so that each learner is supported in all aspects of their lives.”

Visit the Kawartha Now for an article highlighting the work the Peterborough Native Learning Program does in the community.


Peterborough Native Learning Program is located in Peterborough, Curve Lake and Lakefield.

Discover your strengths and improve your skills by working with the team at

For more information, to register or to make a referral, contact Wanda Prince.

Wanda Prince

Peterborough, Lakefield & Curve Lake
Unit 6 – 360 George St. N.

You can also visit our programs page: Peterborough Programs.

Social Media

Updated: June 1, 2021

Following the LBS organizations, employment services and community services in your area just got easier!

Literacy Ontario Central South (LOCS) has created a document that includes links to websites and social media sites for organizations in Central Ontario.

You can download the complete list here: Social Media PDF.

To make it effortless for you, we’ve included a Table of Contents with links that will take you to the specific county and service you’re looking for.

These social media sites provide great options to stay connected with others and to get up-to-date information on current programs, training information and resources.

LOCS supports LBS organizations in the counties of City of Kawartha Lakes, Haliburton, Hastings, Northumberland and Peterborough. We also work closely with employment service partners in each of these five counties and a wide range of other community services. Social Media is a great way to share current program and training information as well as resources.

You can follow LOCS on Twitter and Facebook.

If you would like to submit a change or be added to our list, please contact Carrie Wakeford at .


Improving Job Prospects – Success Story

With her sights set on a specific job, Carrie boosted her computer skills with an Adult Training Network certificate to improve her prospects.

Laptop on a desk with coffeeCarrie worked closely with the instructors at Cobourg’s Adult Training Network to upgrade her computer skills—the golden ticket to landing the job she really wanted.

For years, Carrie, had been working as a cleaner after being a stay-at-home mom for a decade. She also landed a part-time gig helping with special events for the Town of Cobourg—a job she says built her experience for future roles.

But it was when she showed interest in applying for fulltime roles that Carrie realized her lack of computer certificate was a barrier. While she was confident in how to navigate the basics of Microsoft Office applications, she couldn’t prove it without certification.

“I knew part-time jobs and working weekends was not what I wanted for the rest of my life. It also didn’t give me as much professional or financial freedom as I was looking for. I needed better options,” said Carrie.

The mother of four signed up for an online computer class after deciding she needed to upgrade the technical skills she already had. However, she said adapting to the digital format of the tutorials was not ideal.  “The format didn’t work for me because I prefer one-on-one assistance with an instructor to help me work through a problem,” she said.

With COVID-19 bringing layoffs, closures and lots of uncertainty, Carrie was fortunate to return as a Town employee doing manual labour jobs.

But as luck would have it, Carrie spotted a receptionist position to cover a maternity leave for approximately eight months.

“I reached out to the manager of that role to say that I was really interested in the job, and that it would be a great fit for me. It’s what I want to do instead of cleaning,” said Carrie.

Carrie had to show she was familiar with the technology required for the receptionist role. Having it would mean giving herself a competitive advantage.

“At that time, I didn’t have the time or the money to go back to school. I had to find the quickest way of upgrading my computer skills because the job I wanted was open to applicants.”

Carrie was uncertain about her next move until a friend suggested she pay a visit to the Adult Training Network (ATN).

The Adult Training Network is an adult learning centre that helps individuals 19 years of age and older reach their goals. The organization is considered a key resource for adults wanting to upgrade their essential skills to benefit them in their life, career, or training and education.

Thanks to funding from the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development ATN’s learning and skills programs are provided for free to eligible adults.

ATN helps learners with skills upgrading to prepare for post-secondary studies, apprenticeships and employment. ATN also supports people working on secondary school credits towards earning their high school diploma. They also offer specialized programs such as computer training, financial skills and budgeting, customer service skills, and more.

Carrie was nervous about getting her skills assessed by the ATN instructors, Katie Gotthelf and Jackie Goddard, but her determination to make the receptionist job a reality fueled her motivation to move forward with what ATN had to offer.

“Jackie tested me to see what I knew, where I needed help and what I could improve. The learning plan she customized specifically for me was geared towards this job that I was going for,” said Carrie.

During the course of the program, Carrie worked one-on-one with Katie and Jackie doing a deep dive into Microsoft Office programs, focusing on how to write business letters and create a mail merge, among other administrative-related tasks. When Carrie wasn’t working, she was hitting the books hard, completing every piece of homework the instructors gave to her.

The program allowed her to make headway independently and on her schedule. The smaller classroom size was also an advantage, said Carrie, allowing her to receive more individualized attention and interact closely with Katie and Jackie.

“I always thought my skills were good, but I started to believe that maybe I couldn’t do this. But then Katie and Jackie would hand me work and I’d complete it and they would say, ‘see you can do it!’. “Katie and Jackie helped me in areas where I needed to do better,” Carrie said.

Months later, having successfully completed the program, Carrie earned her certification. Her upgraded skills in Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint boosted her resume to get the job she wanted. She now works for the Town covering the receptionist’s maternity leave.

For Carrie, pursuing her goals with persistence and determination has paid off. Now she’s the person others can go to for answers on how to use the computer software that makes the office run.

“It does make you feel good to be able to take what you have learned and put it to use like that.”
Carrie credits her ATN instructors for helping her escape any doubt in the true spirit of teaching.

“The instructors genuinely rooted for me and were key in helping me complete my learning plan. They made a real effort to make learning interesting and they were confident in my abilities.”

Carrie encourages anyone interested in advancing their education or skills to explore ATN as a viable option.

“I had the perception that the Adult Training Network was for young kids who dropped out of high school or needed extra help. I wasn’t aware that they offered adult training. If you’re interested in upgrading your education, go talk with the instructors there. I get it, as adults we may feel embarrassed to go back to school, but ATN treats you with respect and gives you the confidence to believe that you can do anything.”

Adult Training Network is located in Cobourg but serves all of Northumberland County. The ATN is co-located at the Centre for Individual Studies on D’Arcy Street. They have a satellite location in Campbellford. ATN also has a centre in Peterborough. Services are available online and face-to-face.

Discover your strengths and improve your skills by working with the team at ATN.

Cobourg: CIS Cobourg, LBS Room – 780 Darcy St., Cobourg, ON Phone: 905-372-1697 ext. 33 Email:

Campbellford: Campbellford High School, LBS Room – 119 Ranney Street North, Campbellford, ON Phone: 705-653-3060 ext. 278 Email:

Peterborough: Peterborough Alternative and Continuing Education @ PCVS, LBS Room – 201 McDonnel Street Peterborough, ON Phone: 705-745-9833 Email:

For more information visit our programs page.

What You Can Expect

Adult Training and Skills Development

Are you interested in registering as an apprentice but you think you might need a math refresher? 

Do you have a plan but want to gauge your current skill level first?

Do you want to work toward your Grade 12 diploma? 

Is college your next step but you need to brush up on a few skills first?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, one of our training organizations can help.

What you can expect from programs offering adult training and skills development

1. Needs: We can help you list your current strengths. We can also help you decide what you need to work on to get you where you want to go.

2. Plan: We then help you develop a plan. Your plan will highlight the steps that will help you reach your goal. This may include things such as credit courses, computer skills, email, business writing, teamwork, goal setting, workplace skills, customer service, point-of-sale, financial skills, reading, communication, biology, chemistry or apprenticeship math.

3. Support: You will be supported at every step. There is always someone available to help. Our goal is to help you reach your goal.

Training and Workshops

In addition to one-to-one training we also offer group training and workshops. We can also offer training at a workplace if there is a group of employees interested in the same topic.

Right now we offer online training that is fully supported. We are also available by phone. Tutors are available to help as well.  When possible we can offer in person training.

Whether your plan is finding work, a new job, an apprenticeship or completing secondary school or post-secondary school credits, adult training organizations can help.

To decide if adult training and skills development can help you, contact one of the programs in your area.  Visit our Programs page and select your region from the list of Five Counties to find a list of available programs.

You can also contact Carrie Wakeford at for more information.

Zoom Training

Learn to use Zoom!

If you need Zoom training or know someone who does, we can help. 

We offer one-to-one training, by phone and online.  

Zoom training is a good first step if you want to take an online course or join in with a community program.  It is also important if you are invited to a job interview through Zoom.

Contact one of the trainers listed below to ask about our free training for adults.

Note: We also offer in-person support and even small group sessions whenever possible. 

City of Kawartha Lakes:

Adult and Alternative Education Centre, Danielle Auciello   or call 705-324-1564 or 705-324-5280

Fleming College Academic Upgrading Frost Campus, Leona Folz or Marion Willemsen  or call: 705-324-9144 ext. 3343

Skills Development Center, Bob Gaudette,  or call 705-340-2986

Download our contact list: Adult Training – City of Kawartha Lakes – Contact List


Fleming College Academic Upgrading, Marion Willemsen,  or call 705-457-4562

Skills Development Center, Bob Gaudette,  or call 705-340-2986

Download our contact list: Adult Training – Haliburton – Contact List


Adult Training Network Cobourg. Katie Gotthelf:  or call 905-372-1697 ext. 33

Campbellford. Barbara Rockwell: or call 705-653-3060 ext. 278

Fleming College Academic Upgrading, Sharon Leroy,   or call 1-866-353-6464 ext. 1026

Download our contact list: Adult Training – Northumberland – Contact List


Adult Training Network, Natalie Jinks:   or call 705-745-9833 ext. 101

Fleming College Academic Upgrading,  or call 705-775-1311

Peterborough Native Learning Program, Wanda Prince,  or call 705-741-0798

Trent Valley Literacy Association, Dawn Fidler,  or call 705-749-0777

Download our contact list: Adult Training – Peterborough – Contact List


Community Learning Alternatives (CLA) Belleville, Trenton and Madoc:
Belleville Direct: or  613-962-9615
Trenton Direct: or 613-394-3740

Career and College Prep 
Belleville Campus: or 613-969-1913 ext. 2450
Bancroft Campus: or 613-332-1743 ext. 4227

Download our contact list: Adult Training – Hastings – Contact List

For more information you can also contact Carrie at

Literacy and Pandemic Recovery

Nearly half of adult Canadians struggle with literacy — and that’s bad for the economy

In this CBC article and podcast the importance of literacy is highlighted in terms of our recovery from the impact of the pandemic.  “Nearly half of Canada’s population has a big roadblock ahead of them when it comes to post-pandemic economic recovery — and it’s not the novel coronavirus but a fundamental set of skills for daily life.” 

The article points out that “it’s important to recognize that low literacy doesn’t mean a lack of skills.” (Monica Das)  This is such an important point!

This article includes a great story of someone who left a 30 year career in truck driving.  “At the age of 48, Piché decided to go back to school to become a social worker after overcoming significant setbacks in his life — including mental illness and addiction.”

The support available through LBS programs is critical.  It’s important to note that we all get a bit rusty.  “In short, literacy is not like riding a bike. While Canadians tend to leave the high school level with these skills, it takes practice to retain them.”

Workers with lower levels of education have been among the hardest hit during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Labour Market Information Council. Jobs requiring high school or on-the-job training saw the greatest drop in employment. Except for occupations that require university credentials, employment levels in November 2020 were still below their pre-pandemic level. Volatile Employment in 2020 for Jobs With Lower Educational Requirements

What’s more, nearly half of Canada’s population struggle with literacy which has a significant impact on the economy. (CBC) “Generally speaking, we’re below average compared to other OECD [Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development] countries in terms of adult literacy, numeracy skills,” said Michael Burt, an economist with the Conference Board of Canada.

For years literacy has been the base for building a successful work life. With the increased need for digital literacy and skilled workers, this need just continues to grow. As the skills required for employment change, literacy is becoming even more important for finding and keeping a job.

If you would like more information about adult training programs in the LOCS region, including City of Kawartha Lakes, Haliburton, Hastings, Northumberland, and Peterborough, visit our programs page or contact Carrie at


Literacy and Employment

Literacy Programs work with Employment Services to help people reach their employment goals

Literacy and Basic Skills (LBS) organizations and Employment Services (ES) often work together to help individuals reach their goal of a new position, a new career or an apprenticeship.

LBS supports people who are working.  Many people reach out to LBS services so that they can gain the skills they need to keep their current position, progress in their current company, or create more options for other types of employment.

In 2019-2020, 24% of people in LBS programs were employed.  

Literacy Matters at Work

The relationship between LBS and Employment Services is important.  Studies show that there’s a clear connection between successful employment and literacy skills.  In a report from Community Literacy of Ontario called ‘Why Literacy Matters” many statistics point to the need for literacy to support success at work.

For example: 

“Canadians with low literacy skills are more than twice as likely to be unemployed than those with higher level literacy skills.”

“In 2016, only 55% of Canadians aged 25- 64 who did not complete high school were employed. Conversely, the employment rate was 82% for those who had obtained a college or university credential.”

“Research has also found that approximately 45% of Canadians in precarious work have not attained an educational credential beyond a high-school diploma.” 

Employment – the #1 Goal

In 2019-2020, 93% of the people in LBS programs in the Literacy Ontario Central South (LOCS) region said that their goal was employment, in either the short or long term.  An LBS program offers adults opportunities to advance their reading, writing, math, computer and other skills needed to achieve their goals of employment or an apprenticeship.  Also those who have a goal of secondary school or post-secondary education are usually hoping to increase their work options. More recently, people affected by the pandemic have experienced job loss or have a desire to change careers. 

People often think that literacy programs only help people with reading and writing or gaining academic credentials, however, LBS also supports job seekers who want to develop their workplace skills.  This could be things like apprenticeship math, customer service, computer skills, software such as QuickBooks or MS Office.  Computer skills are often called digital literacy and can include many things such as learning to use Zoom or completing online forms. 

LBS also supports individuals in developing skills that are often called ‘soft skills’; these are the skills that employers say are a top priority.  Soft skills include things like communication, problem solving, teamwork and time management. 

LBS programs also work with employers to develop specific training and support for the people on their team. This might be computer skills, customer service or soft skills.

LBS programs can help—at no cost.  

Partnerships between Literacy and Employment Services

LBS organizations in the LOCS region have a long history of partnering with Employment Services to deliver workplace programs to help learners find and retain work.

A few of the many examples from the Literacy Ontario Central South Region:

John Howard Society (JHS) and Fleming Academic Upgrading (AU) in Haliburton offer the STRIVE program working in partnership with Fleming Crew. JHS and AU have also worked with in partnership with VCCS in City of Kawartha Lakes on several programs including a soft skills program called Essential Skills Plus.  LOCS has supported VCCS in their portfolio training and a competency based training for employers. TVLA has worked with Agilec to offer a Point-of-Sale and Customer Service in retail training program.  Fleming AU and the Adult Learning Network is partnering with Durham College Employment Services to offer computer skills.  LOCS has worked in partnership with EARN in Northumberland and TVLA in Peterborough to create a Online Point-of-Sale program.  Community Learning Alternatives works with META vocational Services on projects including essential skills and computer training.  They have also worked with Prince Edward Learning Centre to offer Hospitality training.

Another recent example includes a partnership between the three LBS sectors (Community-based, College, and School Board) with Employment Services to design an introduction to Zoom course to help participants learn how to use the popular web-video conferencing software.

LBS organizations are always willing to work with Employment Services to support individual clients and learners as they work toward achieving their goals.

Important Relationship

Through referrals, partnerships and ongoing communication, LBS and Employment Services continue to work together to support job seekers in the LOCS region. 

If you would like to learn more about Literacy programs in the LOCS region, including City of Kawartha Lakes, Haliburton, Hastings, Northumberland, and Peterborough, visit our programs page or contact Carrie at


Collaboration is Key

Working together to find opportunities and solutions

Ongoing discussions in our community help us identify gaps, needs and opportunities.  Solutions are often found through group discussions, even when the discussions happen on Zoom.

This year, we have continued to meet to discuss ways to support adults in our region.  This includes adult training and skills development, employment supports as well as other community services including financial and mental health supports.

Literacy Ontario Central South (LOCS) leads quarterly meetings called Literacy Service Plans or (LSPs) in the LOCS regions including Haliburton, City of Kawartha Lakes, Peterborough, Northumberland and Hastings.  Adult training providers, employment service providers as well as other community partners all come together to share updates, introduce new programs and brainstorm solutions to expand services and supports in our community.

LOCS is responsible for documenting these discussions, and then once a year, we write a report that draws on what we have learned.  We also gather statistics from training and employment service providers and Workforce Boards.  With this information we summarize the strengths, gaps and needs in each of the five communities in the LOCS region.  These reports are called Literacy Service Plans.  These reports are then used to work with the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development to set goals for the following year.

We have included copies of these reports below:

Hastings Literacy Service Plan

Northumberland Literacy Service Plan

Peterborough Literacy Service Plan

City of Kawartha Lakes Literacy Service Plan

Haliburton Literacy Service Plan

If you have questions or would like more information, contact Carrie Wakeford at


Ontario Nonprofit Network talks to Literacy Ontario Central South

In the fall of 2020 the Ontario Nonprofit Network (ONN) interviewed Carrie Wakeford, Executive Director of Literacy Ontario Central South (LOCS) and Stacey McQuoid a LOCS Board Member and Program Coordinator at the Trenton office of Community Learning Alternatives (CLA), to learn how LBS organizations in the region came together to support each other during the pandemic. 

We continue to offer support for learners and volunteers and we continue to connect with our community partners.  We support and learn from each other as we move programs online.  We meet often to share creative ideas for addressing challenges created by COVID-19.  We try to ask “What can we do” rather than focusing on what we can’t do!  

To learn more, see the ONN Blog Post: Fostering organizational resilience and innovation in times of crisis: Literacy Ontario Central South

LOCS would also like to thank Stacey for creating a video introducing the LOCS region and outlining the LBS supports and services in place during the pandemic. 

Click on the image to watch: 

Betty Completes her Diploma

‘I couldn’t wait to call my grandma’: Recent high school graduate Betty completes her diploma with the support of the Adult Training Network and TVLA

Betty’s high school education ended early and limited her employment opportunities due to some obstacles she had to overcome. However, with the help of TVLA and PACE, she turned her life around by getting her high school diploma.

At 15, Betty dropped out of junior high school frustrated by the curriculum. Her academic performance suffered as a result of “hanging out with the wrong crowd” whose perspectives were a little tainted when it came to school and studying.

She decided to go back, but when she returned to class, she was with people younger than her which was hard.

“Having to go back to school to repeat a grade with kids younger than me increased my anxiety,” says Betty. “I felt I was too old even though I was the right age, but I just couldn’t do it so I quit. I wanted to go back, but it just seemed too difficult.”

And although she asked for help, Betty says at the time, she felt she didn’t have the support or the resources to help her succeed.

At one point, she tried to homeschool herself, but that too became an everyday struggle to complete the work. She missed opportunities to connect with other students and to talk with peers and problem solve in groups.

Feeling frustrated and defeated, Betty abandoned the thought of finishing high school altogether.

Over the next few years, the born and bred Albertan wandered into adulthood with no clear goals. She travelled through Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba working multiple jobs cleaning hotel rooms and serving at restaurants, but desired a career and stability. Without a high school diploma, however, she found herself with limited employment options.

It was when she turned 19 and moved from Alberta to Ontario that Betty decided to make the brave decision to get her high school diploma for a chance at a better future.  She reached out to the Adult Training Network.

The Adult Training Network at Peterborough Alternative Continuing Education (PACE) through the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board is an adult learning centre that helps individuals 19 years of age and older as they gain the credentials they need to access higher education and/or better jobs.  Learners can access workplace skills, including apprenticeships, computer training and credits, math, reading and problem solving, as well as a Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR).

Betty worked diligently toward her goal of completing her high school diploma. Although the first few months were hard, she began to make a major transformation. As she concentrated on her course load, Betty developed confidence—enough so that she went searching for a tutor to help her improve her math grade.

Betty reached out to Trent Valley Literacy Association (TVLA) for help.

Trent Valley Literacy Association (TVLA) is a Peterborough-based organization offering individualized tutoring and small group learning to adults who want to improve their reading, writing, math and computer skills.  They also offer online training and workshops.  Workshops include Customer Service, Point-of-Sale (POS) and Retail Math Skills, as well as Digital Literacy.

Making great use of TVLA’s one-to-one tutoring, Betty flourished academically and socially. TVLA’s tutoring support empowered Betty to upgrade her math and English and they also provided her with the learning resources necessary to succeed.

“When COVID hit, my tutor and I had to move our sessions online. The problem was I didn’t have a laptop so TVLA lent me a laptop for six months so I could continue my sessions and do my work. The staff are very friendly and were ready to help me in any way,” says Betty.

Betty says the support she received from the staff and volunteers at TVLA and the staff at PACE gave her the willpower to complete her studies. She found the process very accommodating and was pleased by how many resources were available.

“At PACE and TVLA, everyone kept me on track and motivated me to keep going and get the work done,” says Betty. “My confidence has completely changed. When I first started, I couldn’t go into TVLA or PACE without someone with me. As time passed, I became more social and grew more confident.”

Betty’s TVLA tutor, Jane Garant, says she’s impressed with how Betty showed up for each session and put in a huge amount of effort into her math and English courses during their time together.

“Seeing how well she was doing really increased Betty’s confidence and motivation to move forward with other courses. She steadily worked away at all the needed credits with a commitment I really admired,” Jane says. “I really appreciated how Betty shared with me some of her past experiences and insights with an incredible sense of humour. I’m so glad I got to see her personality shine through in her writing and I’m so grateful to have learned so much with her.”

Jane says for anyone considering taking an adult learning course, but is feeling hesitant should pay attention to their needs and look at what supports are available to help them succeed.

“Do you struggle with anxiety? If so, what would make learning less stressful? Maybe it’s working one-to-one in a quiet space, doing shorter or longer sessions, or being connected with other learners doing a similar course. Either way, I encourage you to really find out what you need and ask for it. Learning as an adult can be nerve-wracking, but it can also open up new pathways you hadn’t thought of before.”

A place like TVLA with 1:1 support for learners, Jane adds, is absolutely crucial in our communities.

“Not only does TVLA provide support in completing mandatory credits, but it also offers a chance for increased connection and care from kind professionals at a time in life when there are very few of those type of resources available.”

This past fall, 24-year-old Betty graduated from PACE and received her high school diploma!

“I cried when PACE called me to tell me I finished. I jumped up and down with excitement. I couldn’t wait to call my grandma in Alberta to tell her the good news. I’m the first of three blood siblings to graduate so that was a big moment,” says Betty.

She’s now focused, more so than ever before. “I want to go to culinary school to become a cook or get trained as a personal support worker,” she adds.

Betty states “the PACE and TVLA staff supported and encouraged me throughout this process. They didn’t treat me as a child, but as a grown adult who wants her education. They gave me the tools I needed in order to be successful, not only in school but in life.”

Adult Training Network at PACE and Trent Valley Literacy Association (TVLA) are both located in Peterborough, Ontario. Thanks to funding from the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, Adult Training Network and TVLA can offer programs at no cost to eligible adults in Peterborough. 

Further your education and improve your skills by working with their teams.  Contact the Adult Training Network and Trent Valley Literacy Association for more information.  You can also visit our Peterborough Programs page.