Executive Director’s Address

(Alfred Jean-Baptiste)

July 15, 2010

Recognition of Achievements

 

Reflective Learning…         Growth…            and Meaningful Change

 

I look around the room tonight, and see familiar faces. Some of you are joining us for the first time – welcome.  Welcome to the CCL&D family. Welcome to our celebration!

To the familiar faces - those of you who are proud of what we do as an organization,  and who promote the good work of CCL&D at every given opportunity – talking about us with your colleagues, your friends with “deep pockets”, funders, potential board members, welcome all of you. 

It is very gratifying to know that so many of you make the time each year – from your busy schedules, and vacation schedules - some travelling over 500 KM -  to join us in celebrating and recognizing the amazing accomplishments of our program participants.

Thanks for your continued support!

 

Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to dedicate this year’s celebration to the honour of two remarkable women who recently passed away:  Marty Moore and Louise Tunstead.  

I became a member of the CCL&D family exactly 20 years ago. And one of the volunteers who made this possible was a very soft spoken woman, named Marty Moore, who was a member of the interview panel.

Marty had a quiet presence – genuine, never flashy or demanding. She spoke from a place that was always very calm, respectful, and above all, helped to ground our conversations and meetings in the values that we all cherish as an organization.

Those values will endure the test of time, and will continue to be integral to our organizational culture.

I would like to thank her husband Kitt, and other members of her family, for their support of CCL&D over the years!

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As some of you know, East End Literacy – our former self – was a pioneer in publishing stories written by adult learners.  One of the very first of our learner-authors was Louise Tunstead.  Her book, Eleventh Child, first published in 1982, broke ground in Canada because it was a new approach to learning materials in adult basic education.

In the 1960s, Louise and her husband took on politicians and property owners to establish a foster home in their Scarborough neighbourhood. This is what Louise said in her book: 

“A group home is a home where kids who cannot live with the parents can stay for a year or longer.  The people in Scarborough did not want “those kind of kids” living near their children.  Our lawyer asked these people where, in heaven’s name, did they think “those kinds of kids” came from? The truth is we got them from all over Toronto... “

Today, we are here to celebrate the many Louise Tunsteads among us.  The Literacy and Basic Skills students and IWIP trainees who utilise the technology now available to us - your stories are reflected in our regular compilation of student writings, your digital photography, and digital storytelling. 

And as we continue to harness and develop the community building skills and leadership capacity of women in our IWIP program, so too we shall keep alive the fighting spirit, actions, and sense of social justice of Louise Tunstead.

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My friends, we are here again today, primarily to celebrate the hard work of our LBS students, and IWIP trainees. But before we bestow accolades, certificates and awards on our graduates, partners and supports, I would like to take a broadside and use a moment or two beforehand to recognize the staff of CCL&D.

On a personal level, I feel really honoured and privileged to have had the opportunity to work with such a highly skilled, motivated and competent group of individuals:

-      Sally McBeth - Clear Language & Design – Sally has been with this organization, and has more knowledge, insights and stories about our history as an organization than I can only imagine. Sally has almost singlehandedly spearhead the Clear Language and Design division of CCL&D, and made it a service that’s widely sought after by various levels of government, pharmaceutical companies, and community-based organizations alike.

-      Maria Navarro – Just passed her first tenth anniversary of service to CCL&D; well loved, well respected, and recognized by all, as the glue that keeps it all together.  Everyone needs a helping hand sometimes.  And when we do, we turn to Maria. The IWIP program is thriving and that is due in no small measure to Maria’s skills, strategic thinking, and passion.

-      Caroline Outten – 10 years with CCL&D come this September! A few years ago, Caroline said to me, can I do something other than just teaching regular classes? I remember thinking, what’s taken you so long?  A spoken word artist, self-styled drama queen – in the best sense of that term - and very competent educator. Did I have a job for her?!  How about Pedagogical Oversight!!!  What’s that? Not sure myself, but what I know is this:

-       The time had come for us to place more focussed attention on ensuring that we are maintaining the highest level of learning across all our programs;

-      that we have clear outlines and goals for all our courses;

-      silos are minimised, and more opportunities exist for integrating learning activities and opportunities across programs.

In some ways, it’s a little like quality control.  Well, let’s just say it’s going to be sometime before Caroline says that she’s bored! Especially now that she is the lead vocalist in a band!

Eleanor - Quiet and effective.  Rumour has it that Eleanor is easily one of our most effective language arts instructors, and does a fantastic job with the LBS 4 and 5 students.

Ma Rong – In the eyes of many graduates of IWIP, Ma Rong is the one who got lucky and got a job – working for CCL&D.  Well, luck had nothing to do with it. Versatile, flexible and open to learning all the time, Ma Rong ensures that our systems remain in good shape, and procedures are followed. While at the same time auditing workshops delivered by current trainees and providing invaluable feedback.  Please return my copies of the Harvard Review. The ones you borrowed last year.

 Leo MacInnis – Into his second year with us, and I still don’t know the guy! Intensely private, quiet! Leo overseas our literacy and basic skills program, has done a remarkable job stepping out off the shadow of Brenda Silver. Congratulations Leo.  Brenda is a tough act to follow.

Jennifer Lafontaine – came to us, the product of a partnership initiated by Jennifer herself, between CCL&D, and the Center of Digital Storytelling out in Berkeley, California two years ago. Under Jennifer’s leadership, things have moved so rapidly, we had to take steps to make digital storytelling an integral part of our programming.  We have also created a new team to focus on Arts, Media, Communications, and Technology.  By combining the expertise of Caroline, Maria, Jennifer (and Emmy in the fall), we are ready to explore new frontiers of learning.

Alison Chan – What can I say?  We plucked her straight out of the U of T, following a very impressive placement with us. She survived my sink-or-swim training in proposal writing, and together we secured funding support from the Trillium Foundation, to furnish and equip the Regent Park Centre of Learning.

Susan Osborne – our math and computer instructor. Again, fresh out of teachers college, it didn’t take her long to realise that teaching adults is a very different cup of tea.  Let’s just say that Susan is open to re-learning! And we are happy about that.

Olga, Fresia, Sonia and Sureya.  Four of the women who are graduating today, three of them recently joined our staff, on a part-time basis, and Sureya we are expecting to join us in the next few weeks.

This is the CCL&D staff team.  The people who make us, and who believe, that if it’s not broken, we should fix it anyway!  Please give them a round of applause!  

Thank You Very Much!