Literacy, employment skills & Assistive devices
The Issue: Literacy, Employment Skills & Assistive devices
We all have a need to participate in our community, contributing our skills and passions through work, relationships, and daily activities. Not everyone has access to the opportunities that build critical life skills (like basic literacy, numeracy, and computer skills) or the assistive technology needed to be able to participate. These skills and devices are critical to being able to find and maintain meaningful employment. Give to ensure all members of our community have the opportunity to participate in a meaningful way through programs like literacy and numeracy skill building for all ages, homework help, tutoring and family supports for newcomers, technological skills for all ages and newcomers, providing assistive devices for people living with disabilities and seniors living safely at home, and more.
"The link between poverty and low literacy has long been established; 46% of adults with the lowest literacy level live in low-income households. Adults with low literacy levels are 2.5x more likely to experience unemployment.”
The Literacy Group
Spring 2022 United Way report
LITERACY, EMPLOYMENT SKILLS & ASSISTIVE DEVICES
How we help
This reporting period, United Way WRC has supported frontline organizations working in the field of Literacy, Employment Skills or Assistive Devices. Investments this period focused on:
- Adult and Youth Literacy (The Literacy Group)
- Employment services focused on refugees at Reception House.
- The Focus on Technology program run through the Focus for Ethnic Women organization.
- General operating support for the Canadian Arab Women’s Association, providing referral services and skills training in the region.
- Assistive Devices program through March of Dimes.
These supports and products provide fundamental building blocks for community members to secure and maintain employment, or engage in activities of daily living. Without these core skills, whole groups of people are faced with significant barriers to actively living and participating in their communities.
Literacy, Employment Skills & Assistive Devices
The following are examples of impact of your donations from funded organizations and their programs.
- The Literacy Group - In the last 6 months, TLG supported 320 learners of all ages through their literacy programs. They still have a waitlist!
- March of Dimes Canada - 23 individuals received previously unattainable assistive devices in the Region.
- Reception House Waterloo Region - Over 150 refugee clients attained full time employment through Reception House in a 3 month period alone in 2022.
- Reception House Waterloo Region - 795 newcomer clients accessed Reception House settlement services, including employment supports, language skills-building and more.
- “Without the support of United Way for this funding term, we would have struggled to provide employment services to clients and support for workplaces seeking to create inclusive cultures and practices.” - Reception House Waterloo Region
- “Essential assistive devices remove barriers to safety in the home and community. They contribute towards an individual and their family's health, safety, quality of life and community participation. Yet while they are a critical component to someone’s mobility and functional independence, they are very expensive. United Way support is critical to the Program, which is solely funded through charitable donations.” - March of Dimes Canada
J. is a senior learner, retired from working in long and difficult career in manufacturing. J decided to return to education to upgrade her math skills, something she has always wanted to do. J shares that her lack of confidence and skills in numeracy make her feel ashamed and reduce what she can do in retirement. She wants to inspire her grandchildren to learn. TLG offers a mature and accessible environment where J can feel safe, not judged and appreciates that it is not a large class of younger adults. "I very much like my tutor and the fact that I can get one to one support, makes me feel like I am improving and doing something I have always wanted to to."
Context for J’s story: Retirees have traditionally been a significant contributor to volunteerism in both formal and informal ways. VWR and other orgs reliant on volunteers have noted a sharp decrease in volunteerism within local social service orgs. Informal volunteering can include childcare or helping neighbours with grocery shopping. All of these can be difficult without a core skill like literacy.