Literacy Mile important fundraiser for VCLA, walk planned for Kentville June 7

Wendy Elliott
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Kentville resident Paul Robson’s life was changed by the Valley Community Learning Association. The organization’s key fundraiser is coming up on June 7. - Submitted 

Kentville resident Paul Robson is a learner whose life was changed by the Valley Community Learning Association (VCLA).

Robson knows first hand how literacy leads to the achievement of goals. His goal was to become a truck driver, but a Grade 3 education hindered him.

One day, while laid off from a seasonal job, Robson came across the Valley Community Learning Association office in Kentville. While he had some trepidation, he received a warm welcome.

After being assessed, Robson decided to work towards a Grade 8 level standing in order to qualify for trucking school. Today he recalls the path was not easy and he got discouraged. He met with a tutor and did classroom session and remembers the encouragement VCLA director Peter Gillis gave him.

“They really helped me along,” he says, to gain confidence and develop his reading, writing and math skills. After three years of effort, Robson was able to attend trucking school.

He completed the program at the Commercial Safety College in Truro and works as a truck driver largely out of Bedford. Now Robson wants to encourage others to seek better education.

The Valley Community Learning Association is holding its 10th annual Literacy Mile in Kentville on June 7.

VCLA, which depends largely on volunteer efforts, offers programs and tutoring for adults like Robson to improve reading, writing or math skills, earn their high school equivalency and more. The association offers its services for free.

Gillis says the money raised through pledges for the Literacy Mile will help buy books for tutors and learners, fill in funding gaps and help provide transportation to and from class for students in need.

The non-profit organization has been hit by federal funding cutbacks recently. VCLA fears losing $171,000 from its annual budget for the coming year. Given those challenges, staff and volunteers are hoping for a positive fundraiser June 7, says Gillis.

For more information, email vcla@eastlink.ca or call 679-5252 or 1-866-898-7323.

Weblink www.vcla.ca

Organizations: The Valley Community Learning Association, Commercial Safety College

Geographic location: Kentville, Truro, Bedford

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