SALAS hosted another successful Regional Network Meeting on September 16, 2016. The day started with an Open House held at our new SALAS location: 530, 8th Street South (third floor) between 9 and 10 am. Coffee, juice, muffins and yogurt was available as a starter to the day. The formal part of the day began at 10:05 across the street at the Lethbridge Public Library – main branch – in the Theatre Gallery Room. The theme for the day was literacy and the following sessions ensued.
10:10 – An explanation of assessments for literacy clients i.e. what type of assessments are used by SALAS and how do we determine if the client needs that type of assessment.
10:30 – Experiences of Literacy Learners (some first hand testimony was given from several clients that was very moving and informative to listeners).
11:00 – Presentation from Bow Valley College on how their collaborative project with the Canadian Centre for Language Benchmark “ESL for Adult Literacy Learners” can be used to support ESL Literacy instructors.
12:00 – Lunch was served with salads, fruit, dessert and beverage
12:30 – A round table brainstorming on “10 top suggestions for volunteers” elicited some interesting ideas for supporting volunteering with ESL learners. Language schools, particularly with the influx of the Syrian refugees, many of whom are privately sponsored, are experiencing a high level of volunteer engagement with their clients. Aside from formal volunteer training courses, some activities were listed that could be given out as a tip sheet to eager volunteers anxious to make a difference in a new Canadian’s life.
1:00 – Film screening of the film Finding Edge Road. This is one of the crop of new films describing the immigrant experience. This particular film is about Iraqis and Somalis who have moved to Finland and shows both the Finnish responses to this settlement as well as the experience of the newcomers. Brandy Yanchyk, the film’s director, has given us permission to show this one hour film. It was enlightening to those in attendance.
2:00 Wrap up and networking.
The responses to the meeting were very positive from all the participants.