Our Mission

Changing lives through literacy

Our Vision

To create a community in which all adults are functionally literate so that they can meet their full potential.

Values and Beliefs

Dignity

Every person has the right to be functionally literate.

    • Every person has the right to access services to improve literacy skills. They should not be limited by financial barriers, time flexibility, and level of skill
    • We meet the needs and build on the capacity of each individual
    • Improved skills enable individuals to have more choices, make more informed decisions, have greater involvement in the community, and pursue lifelong learning
    • Reading, writing, numeracy, language, and digital literacy have a direct impact on self-fulfillment

Inclusion

All persons receive equal access to our services.

    • Race, gender, age, disability, country of origin, religion, colour, creed, or sexual orientation is not a factor in acceptance of learners or volunteers
    • Our society is open to Canadian citizens, landed immigrants, refugee claimants, and people on work visas

Respect

Our learners, staff, and volunteer mentors interact with respect

    • Our volunteers are mentors and leaders who are vital and crucial to the Society and receive on-going support
    • Our staff are valued members of the organization
    • Our learners bring a wealth of experience through diverse backgrounds, challenges and expectations

History

The Volunteer Reading Aides of Edmonton Society was formed in 1979 by people concerned about the level of literacy in the adult population and the lack of opportunities for adults to gain and improve literacy skills. They were aware of the systemic nature of low-level literacy skills; the lack of opportunities for individuals; and the socio-economic level of persons with low-level literacy skills. The program was started and coordinated by Magda Baglo and affiliated with Laubach Literacy of Canada.

1979

Volunteer Reading Aides of Edmonton Society was formed

1983

Received a Revenue Canada non-profit registration number

1985

Sponsored by Edmonton Public Schools and received first small grant from Alberta Advanced Education

1986

Received development funding from United Way

1989

Incorporated under the Societies Act of Alberta

1990

Became a United Way member agency

1993

English Literacy for Speakers of Other Languages (ELSOL) piloted with a grant from Wild Rose Foundation

2000

Students for Students Program started

2002

Volunteer Coordinator becomes full-time position

2004

LELL developed as a full time tutor program

2007

Math Literacy developed as a full time tutor program

2013

Digital Literacy developed as a part-time program

2019

Awarded the Council of the Federation Literacy Award

2020

Digital Literacy developed as a full-time program

Annual Reports

Most recent annual report (pdf viewer? or as large image of cover with link)

Previous annual reports by year as links.

Strategic Plan

To be determined later

Testimonials

Learner Quotes:

  • The stress of becoming computer literate has been lifted

  • My Learners loves the creative programs we explore, in the future to help her be excited instead of wary of computers

  • I am thankful for the tutoring to help me move forward in my life. To learn things I never learned to learning this right now To improve to get a better job and better career

  • Being an immigrant I am very happy to have a chance to know PALS and PALS has helped me a lot to refresh my studying and learn more.

  • I have more confidence to be on the computer for Zoom meetings. I learn a lot of grammar, vocabulary, how to talk, and how to read. The patience and understanding my tutor has with all my situation makes me extremely grateful.

  • I look back to when I started and I have come so far. I started reading with a workbook and now I am working on writing children stories.

  • I read more things than I have to!

  • I am not afraid to tell people that I am dyslexic. I am very proud of what I done all because of P.A.L.S .

Volunteer Quotes:

  • We celebrated that he had now read a book and he seemed proud of the accomplishment. I must say that I was proud of the accomplishment as well!
  • She is really good at challenging herself by picking words slightly above her skill level. She is not afraid of a challenge and faces it head on.
  • She continues to impress with her enthusiasm and commitment to learning.
  • She remains dedicated and engaged by the lessons. She shows great focus on the lessons and exercises and has lots to say on the various topics.
  • The coordinator is always helpful, encouraging and has provided lots of support.
  • You are doing a wonderful job in these trying times.
  • Thanks so much for the opportunity to share my experience with you.
  • PALS has done a remarkable job over these past 20+ months. You have helped students and tutors become more knowledgeable about using technology to connect and learn. You’ve continued to help tutors connect and you continue to innovate and improve. Congratulations
  • I love volunteering with PALS and am grateful to be a part of your organization
  • I have enjoyed learning with my individuals and it is fun to have the tools and resources to help them improve their reading and writing skills.
  • I just wish I had more time to take on another learner.