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  • Putting the Pieces Together

    A Community Literacy Plan for Burnaby

  • Putting the Pieces Together


    Putting the Pieces Together:

    A Community Literacy Plan for Burnaby

    Prepared by:

    Betsy Alkenbrack (Capilano College)

    and the Burnaby LiteracyNow Planning Task Group Sarah Bjorknas (CUPE) Dawit Bulcha (Burnaby Multicultural Society) Joyce Cameron (Douglas College) Jeanne Fike (Burnaby Family Life) Sheila MacTavish (School District #41) Janey Talbot (School District #41) Edel Toner-Rogala (Burnaby Public Library) Yail Waisman (Burnaby Public Library)

    Graphic Charts and Illustrations by Avril Orloff

    Photos by Janey Talbot

  • Putting the Pieces Together



    Summary 3

    The Literacy Now Planning Process




    Community Profile


    Demographic Scan

    Assets and Opportunities

    Issues and Challenges

    Three Changes we would like to see


    The Literacy Plan


    Priorities, Goals and Actions:

    Program sustainability

    Support for good programs serving high-needs


    Support for multi-service Hubs

    Evaluation Plan



    Appendix A: Participants in the LiteracyNow

    Burnaby Meetings and Interviews

    Appendix B: Summary of Community Literacy


    Appendix C: Interview Questions

    Appendix D: Burnaby Community Profile

    Appendix E: Gaps and Issues Chart


  • Putting the Pieces Together


    Summary The goal of the Burnaby LiteracyNow Planning Task Group is to

    develop a community literacy plan and identify literacy initiatives that

    we can support and enhance. Building on the work done in the spring

    of 2006, the LiteracyNow Task Group convened a second community

    meeting on May 7, 2007 with representatives from community

    organizations, the public library, the school district, colleges,

    universities, labour, business and government. They identified

    following four priority areas:

    Program sustainability

    Transition programs for immigrant youth and their families who

    need help adjusting to Canadian life

    Intergenerational literacy

    Multi-service Hubs

    After the community meeting, the Task Group continued to conduct

    action research, meeting with service providers, teachers, adult

    learners and parents at programs provided by the school district, the

    library, colleges and community groups. In addition to the four priority

    areas identified at the Community Meeting, some other important

    issues and needs were discussed. These include:

    tutoring for high-risk youth and children, especially Aboriginal


    wrap-around services such as child-care, transportation,

    counselling, translation services and community resource


    consideration for the mental and physical health issues faced by

    refugee families

    programs such as computer training, job training and summer


    We also examined existing programs that are worth supporting or

  • Putting the Pieces Together


    building on. These include the school district’s family literacy

    programs, the I-CARE tutoring program at Douglas College,

    community ESL programs, the Newcomers group at Eastburn

    Community Centre, the “Youth In Transition” program offered in

    conjunction with Canucks Family Education Centre at Byrne Creek

    Secondary School and the Outreach Resource Centre for homeless

    people operated by The Progressive Housing Society and the Burnaby

    Taskforce on Homelessness at Southside Community Church

    Our conclusion (as a result of these discussions) is that there is

    already excellent work being done in Burnaby and our role should be

    to support and build on what already works. We have arrived at the

    following goals and priorities:

    Goals we want to encourage and support that are already

    happening, and have funding in place:

    To support the School District as it develops a district literacy plan.

    To provide support as required for Local 23 CUPE’s workplace

    literacy program.

    To work with the Burnaby Learning Network to expand computer


    To work with Burnaby Public Library and Burnaby Community

    Connections to provide better access to information about literacy

    programs in our community. New Priorities and Goals:

    Sustainability o To build sustainability into Burnaby LiteracyNow so that it can support literacy and learning.

    o To contribute to financial sustainability by helping programs to gain access to funds through grant-writing.

    Support for good Programs serving high-needs groups

    o To support literacy for the homeless by piloting a “learning

  • Putting the Pieces Together


    table” at the Outreach Resource Centre operated by Progressive Housing and the Burnaby Taskforce on Homelessness at Southside Community Church.

    o To support immigrant families who need assistance making the transition into Canadian life by piloting an adult literacy/ESL component linked to other existing programs. This would also help to address the goal identified at the earlier meeting to support Intergenerational Literacy.

    o To work with Aboriginal groups to identify ways Literacy Now Burnaby can support and enhance their services to Aboriginal children and youth.

    Support for multi-service Hubs

    o To identify existing Hubs and enhance current programs with additional services for adult learners.

    The LiteracyNow Planning Process


    Participants in Burnaby LiteracyNow include representatives from

    community organizations, the public library, the school district,

    colleges, universities, labour, business and government. They gave

    input into our community plan at the following stages:

    At Community Meeting #1 on February 15, 2006

    At Community Meeting #2 on May 7, 2007

    Through interviews with services workers, educators, adult

    learners, potential learners and parents.

    During ongoing meetings of the Planning Task Group

    Appendix A shows a list of participants in the Burnaby LiteracyNow


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    Community Meeting #1

    The first meeting was held to launch the project in February 2006.

    Over thirty people representing a broad range of service providers met

    to discuss the literacy assets and needs of Burnaby residents. Brenda

    LeClair, Managing Director of 2010 Legacies Now, attended the

    meeting and provided an overview of LiteracyNow. At the end of that

    meeting, there was unanimous agreement that the group wanted to

    proceed with applying for planning funding to develop a community

    literacy plan.

    Successful application to Literacy Now and hiring a facilitator

    The application was submitted successfully and the task group

    continued to work together. In April 2007, they hired a facilitator,

    who’s responsibilities included facilitating the second community

    meeting, conducting research and writing the Literacy Plan.

    Community Meeting #2

    The second community meeting was held in May 2007. Thirty-five

    participants, representing the sectors of education, business,

    government and community groups attended (see Appendix A). An

    interesting feature of this meeting was that we contracted Avril Orloff,

    a graphic recorder, to provide a visual representation of our

    community profile and of the decisions we made at the meeting. The

    illustrations provided in this report are taken from Avril’s graphic


    Participants at the Community Meeting were asked to help us “put the

    pieces together” by:

    reviewing our draft community profile

    contributing to a community literacy inventory,

    creating a joint vision for Literacy and Learning in Burnaby,

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    setting goals and

    guiding the development of our Literacy action plan

    Participants broke into five groups with each focusing on the learners’

    age group: Families with Babies and Pre-Schoolers, School-age

    children, Youth, Adults and Seniors. They were asked this question:

    Groups discussed the needs of different age groups and reported back,

    identifying three priority areas for their age group, and then for the

    whole initiative. They then worked in groups to develop goal

    worksheets for those priority areas. The following priority areas were


    Program Sustainability,

    Multi-service Hubs, and

    Transition program for traumatized youth and their families

    (including Intergenerational Literacy)

    Community Literacy Inventory: