Council of the Federation Announces Literacy Award Winners for 2007

    FREDERICTON, Aug. 7 /CNW/ - Canada's Premiers today announced the
recipients of the third annual Council of the Federation Literacy Award.
Presented in each province and territory, the award recognizes outstanding
achievement and excellence in literacy.
    The recipients of the 2007 Council of the Federation Literacy Award are:

    Dr. Mary Norton - Alberta
    Joan Acosta - British Columbia
    Norine Moar - Manitoba
    Apprentissage pour adultes Chaleur Inc. - New Brunswick
    Saint John Learning Exchange - New Brunswick
    HOPEworks ABE (Stella Burry Community Services) - Newfoundland and
    Kadiatu Dumbuya - Northwest Territories
    Julie Champagne - Nova Scotia
    The Pirurvik Centre - Nunavut
    Michelle Eady - Ontario
    Tommy Gallant - Prince Edward Island
    Sandra Trudel - Québec
    Colleen Christopherson-Cote - Saskatchewan
    Patty Wiseman - Yukon

    "I am pleased to congratulate the recipients of this year's Council of
the Federation Literacy Award," said Shawn Graham, Premier of New Brunswick
and incoming Chair of the Council of the Federation. "On behalf of all
Premiers, I applaud the exceptional efforts and outstanding contributions of
these individuals and organizations. Their hard work and accomplishments are
worthy of recognition by Canadians across the country."
    The award recognizes the valuable contributions made by Canadians in the
field of literacy, including family, Aboriginal, health, workplace and
community literacy. It is presented to educators, volunteers, learners,
community organizations, non-governmental organizations and businesses in each
province and territory.
    Each award recipient receives a certificate, signed by the Premier of
their province or territory, as well as a Council of the Federation Literacy
Award medallion.
    Premiers created this award in 2004 in recognition of the importance of
literacy as an essential building block to a vibrant society and economy.

    The Council of the Federation comprises all thirteen provincial and
territorial Premiers. The Council enables Premiers to work collaboratively to
strengthen the Canadian federation by fostering a constructive relationship
among the provinces and territories, and with the federal government.
    To learn more, visit

                           Biographical Information
           2007 Council of the Federation Literacy Award Recipients

    Dr. Mary Norton - Alberta

    Dr. Mary Norton is an outstanding literacy practitioner with exceptional
abilities to understand, advocate and promote lifelong learning through
teaching, research and program development. She has been involved in adult
literacy for over 30 years, during which time she tutored young women in a
provincial prison, volunteered with new immigrants, established one of
Alberta's first volunteer tutor adult literacy programs and developed adult
literacy policies for the provincial government. Mary's students praise her as
"down to earth and caring", saying that she is both "wise and respectful". For
the last 15 years, she has coordinated the Learning Centre Literacy
Association in Edmonton and has continuously developed and shared
participatory and innovative approaches to adult literacy delivery,
practitioner training and practitioner research.

    Joan Acosta - British Columbia

    Joan Acosta has devoted her energy to the field of adult literacy for the
last 25 years. In 1982 Joan became the editor of The Westcoast Reader, a
newspaper for adult literacy and English-as-a-second-language learners in
British Columbia. As writer, researcher, editor, and desktop publisher, she
has been the visionary and driving force behind this very special newspaper.
Additionally, Joan has helped mentor the establishment of similar publications
in Nova Scotia and Seattle. Ms. Acosta generously shares her expertise at
workshops and conferences, and frequently visits classrooms throughout the
Lower Mainland. Her campaign to raise awareness of literacy issues and efforts
to make public information accessible to adults with low reading skills have
made her a leader in the field of plain language.

    Norine Moar - Manitoba

    Norine Moar is a single mother of eight and grandmother of fourteen, a
learner and a community volunteer. Although her formal schooling ended at
about Grade 6, Ms. Moar enrolled at Swan River Adult Education, Inc. in 2006
and earned her high school diploma in June 2007. She has a natural curiosity
and determination to uncover solutions and is committed to assisting others in
the learning centre and in the community. Now working as an educational
assistant at the centre and taking a course in counseling at the University
College of the North, Norine "inspires others to love life, laugh more and
appreciate the positive parts of our everyday walk."

    Apprentissage pour adultes Chaleur Inc. - New Brunswick

    Established in 2005, Apprentissage pour adultes Chaleur Inc. is a
regional literacy committee and one of two pilot organizations established to
develop a new approach to managing the delivery of adult literacy training.
The organization took on the work of multiple community literacy committees
and partnered with government and the private sector to improve adult literacy
training in the Chaleur region. The strong leadership demonstrated by
Apprentissage pour adultes Chaleur Inc. and the other pilot organization has
produced a new literacy delivery model that has been adopted in all regions of
New Brunswick. They created their own strategic plan to guide literacy
initiatives in their region and developed a series of guidelines and
procedures manuals to help other regional committees improve their adult
literacy classes.

    Saint John Learning Exchange - New Brunswick

    Established in 1984 as a non-profit literacy education centre, the Saint
John Learning Exchange aims to help people achieve their goals by providing a
positive and supportive learner-centered environment. The Learning Exchange
offers several programs which have helped a large number of adults improve
their literacy skills, prepare for GED, the workplace and post-secondary
education and improve related life skills. As well, the Learning Exchange has
been a partner with Vibrant Communities Saint John in a local poverty
reduction strategy. Through its programs and its partnerships with the
province, city, businesses, anti-poverty groups and literacy organizations,
the Saint John Learning Exchange is a dynamic and integral part of the

    HOPEworks ABE (Stella Burry Community Services) - Newfoundland and

    Stella Burry Community Services (SBCS) is an incorporated body of the
United Church of Canada. This charitable, non-profit organization works with
marginalized individuals in the St. John's area to empower them through
education, peer support, training, employment and supportive housing to become
full participants in the community. Most, if not all, of the members of the
Stella Burry community face challenges in maintaining employment, availing of
government services, banking, helping children with schoolwork and performing
the day-to-day tasks that many of us take for granted. SBCS started to run the
HOPEworks ABE program in 2005. It is an Adult Basic Education (ABE) Level I
program, sponsored by the Department of Education. There have been a number of
success stories, one of the most recent being that one of its students, Dennis
Luther, is the recipient of the 2007 PGI Learner Achievement Award in
Newfoundland and Labrador.

    Kadiatu Dumbuya - Northwest Territories

    Kadiatu Dumbuya's primary and secondary education was frequently
interrupted by the civil war in her native Sierra Leone. After immigrating to
Canada in 2000, Kadiatu enrolled in English as a Second Language courses and
subsequently attended the Adult Literacy and Basic Education program at Aurora
College. This year she will complete the Nursing Access program. Throughout
this period, Ms. Dumbuya has worked full time, lived with a serious health
condition, and volunteered in the community. She is also a champion for
literacy. In the words of her instructors, "Kadi is respectful, congenial, and
helpful to her classmates and instructors alike; her persistence and
dedication to her chosen studies are an example to us all."

    Julie Champagne - Nova Scotia

    Julie Champagne returned to learning after 19 years. She left high school
after Grade 10 to join the military, and later suffered a debilitating
personal loss. Following confidence-building experiences volunteering at her
children's school (Grade 2 Reading Program Coordinator and Girls' Basketball
Coach), Julie returned to school to be a better role model and provider for
her two girls. In June 2007, she received her high school diploma and was the
valedictorian of her graduating class at New Glasgow Adult High School. Julie
has achieved her goals: she is a positive role model for her children, and she
is a high school graduate.

    The Pirurvik Centre - Nunavut

    The Pirurvik Centre, an Iqaluit-based company founded in 2003, is
dedicated to enhancing Inuit language, culture and well-being. Pirurvik
developed the Inuktitut versions of Microsoft Vista and Office 2007 software
and most recently launched an Inuktitut multi-media literacy website,
Tusaalanga, meaning Let me hear it. The website offers users around-the-world,
free access to audio files of vocabulary, dialogues, grammar lessons, songs
and a glossary in the Inuit language. Pirurvik's commitment to promoting and
preserving the Inuit language and culture displays outstanding leadership in
Nunavut where Inuktitut is most commonly spoken.

    Michelle Eady - Ontario

    As the Distance Projects Coordinator at the Sioux Hudson Literacy
Council, Michelle Eady has worked tirelessly to ensure that any learner who is
trying to further his or her education, training or independence has the
chance to do so - irrespective of geographical location. Among her many
accomplishments, Mrs. Eady organized the creation of a unique website offering
links to online classrooms and innovative, supportive programming aimed at
Aboriginal learners in remote areas. She also provides face-to-face support in
remote communities. Michelle is passionate about reaching learners and helping
them achieve their goals. No matter how remote they are, no matter how great
their challenges, she finds a way to help literacy work for them.

    Tommy Gallant - Prince Edward Island

    Tommy Gallant left high school in grade 10, but never found a job that
felt "right". He completed a high school equivalency program in 1989 and then
applied for admission to the University of Prince Edward Island. Mr. Gallant
studied biology, earning a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in 1999 and a Master
of Science in 2005. He will soon begin PhD studies. He has published multiple
articles in academic journals and is the recipient of two Natural Sciences and
Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) scholarships for postgraduate
studies. His goal is to work as a researcher in his discipline. Through the
LEAP program, Tommy mentors students who are at risk of dropping out of high
school. He shows them that everyone can improve their prospects through
literacy and education. His advice: "Work hard and ignore people who say you
can't achieve your goals."

    Sandra Trudel - Québec

    Sandra Trudel, 23, of Laverlochère, Témiscaminque has encountered many
hardships in her lifetime. At the suggestion of her aunt, she decided to
upgrade her skills by enrolling at the Alpha-Témis community literacy
organization. Studying at Alpha-Témis has allowed Sandra to rediscover her
self-confidence. Sandra indicated in her letter of candidacy for the Award
that she intends to dedicate herself to the fullest, in order to both finish
her education quickly and improve life in the community. Her current goal is
to earn her high school diploma and go on to complete a college diploma in
Social Work Techniques.

    Colleen Christopherson-Cote - Saskatchewan

    Ms. Christopherson-Cote first became involved in community literacy work
in Saskatchewan in 1998. After moving to Coronach in 2003, she joined the
Conrach Palliser Library Board and quickly became a driving force within the
organization. Guided by her belief in the link between literacy and community
sustainability, Colleen was instrumental in the establishment of the Prairie
Literacy Awareness Network (PLAN) in 2006 and the development of a community
literacy plan to respond to the literacy programming needs of the whole
community. As PLAN's Executive Director, Colleen has overseen the
implementation of many programs including Little Tykes Preschool, Reading
Circles at school and in the library, Peer Tutoring Program for Youth,
Computers for Seniors, Seniors' Books on Wheels, and online training courses
for adults.

    Patty Wiseman - Yukon

    Patty Wiseman has made a remarkable contribution to improving literacy in
the community of Teslin, Yukon. A resident for more than 20 years, Ms. Wiseman
started working for the Teslin Tlingit Council (TTC) in 1996, helping to open
the TTC Daycare. Last year she was instrumental in expanding the daycare into
the Early Learning and Child Care Centre. Under Patty's management the Centre
has been a huge success. She oversees several programs including daycare,
prenatal classes, the Aboriginal Head Start program, Teslin Playschool, and
Teslin Community Literacy Programs. Patty has initiated several projects that
encourage families to participate and learn together, as well as multiple
child-focused programs.

For further information:

For further information: Nicole Picot, Office of the Premier of New
Brunswick, (506) 453-2144,; Loretta O'Connor, Council of
the Federation Secretariat, (613) 563-4066,

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