My name is Augustin Avril. I came to Canada from St. Lucia on February 25th, 1995. I remember, it was snowing that day. I came to Edmonton and joined my dad’s family business. I used to drive trucks. I had very low literacy and math skills. If I did not see the company name before making a delivery, I would have a hard time writing bills. I would call my wife or a friend to help me out with filling out forms or making bills. I was not gaining any knowledge but also did not have the self-confidence or knowledge to pursue any other career. It was difficult.
When my wife and I got separated, I had lot of time on my hands, and I started thinking. I wanted a better life and also wanted to feel good about myself. I did not want to go around waiting for others to read or solve problems for me. I wanted to be able to do things on my own. One day I walked up to my Foreman and told him that I am illiterate. Once I admitted the fact that I needed help, it opened up doors for me. My foreman went and talked to the manager of the company. They contacted P.A.L.S. and then gave me a day to come and meet to the coordinator.
When I came through the door at P.A.L.S., I felt like I should turn back. However I went forward and met with the Literacy Coordinator. She approached me like a son. It was a friendly environment and I got a warm welcome. She gave me my tutor and from then on my tutor learner experience helped me elevate myself. And within a few months I saw some big improvements and I carried on.
With my improvement in reading and writing, I got the confidence to take on math as my other learning goal. The Math coordinator got me matched with a tutor. I was now working on not just reading and writing but also math. I now had the courage and confidence to set an even higher goals and that was to get my GED.
Within months of working with the reading, writing and math skills, I saw some big improvements in my overall abilities to do things. I even applied for a job, where I had to fill out my application form all by myself. The job was not a reference from a friend or someone I knew. I did the job search on the internet at indeed.com and applied on my own. I got the job interview.
When I got to the interview, I was a little bit nervous, but as I went through the questions at the interview I was starting to feel more at ease. Then the interviewer asked me a math problem. I had to make a conversion from inches to millimeter. I was comfortable with inches but did not know much about millimeter. So I used my now newly learned math skills and common sense to get the answer. It was important for me to know the different measurements as I had to work on the saw. I got the answers right. It felt good when I saw the expression on the interviewer’s face. He smiled and congratulated me. He asked me to get started on the job the following day.
All this would not have been that easy for me, if I did not come to P.A.L.S. for my tutoring classes. Now because of P.A.L.S. using my phone or going on the internet is so much easier. I search for information, read my bills and it also helps me to teach my daughter a little bit of math and English. I am now more confident and am looking forward to challenging myself to write my GED and carry on until I reach NAIT.
I now recommend people to P.A.L.S. all the time. I tell them that with P.A.L.S. flexibility and the one on one tutoring, and if they are willing to work hard P.A.L.S. can really help the student achieve their goals. With my effort and the support from P.A.L.S. I am confident that I can achieve my goals.