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BSLN HISTORY

In 1994, the Bedford-Sackville area obtained funding from the Department of Education - Community Learning Initiatives (CLI) and opened the Bedford-Sackville Literacy Network, in Bedford at the "Teachery". Office space was donated by the Town of Bedford, in partnership with the Bedford Heritage Society.

  • The first Annual Meeting of BSLN was held December 1994 and was established as a Society on January 6, 1995.

  • The Network started with two half time Coordinators and provided "one to one tutoring" for about 40 learners in Math and English at Levels 1, 2, and 3. A special grant was also obtained to develop a video for literacy training for tutors, in partnership with Mount Saint Vincent University.

  • By the third year of operation, 1998-99, instructors were also hired, as there was a need to offer "classroom instruction" in Levels 1 and 2. Approximately 100 learners were evenly split between classroom and one to one programs. This required recruiting about 40 volunteer tutors and hiring a full time coordinator and part time class coordinator.

  • In 1999-2000, new developments included Level 2 advanced classes, in Social Studies & Science, as well as Computer Literacy - Basic and Advanced (for those in classes, and individual Learners).

  • Tutor-Instructor Training became a necessary part of the tutoring process and is now recognized as an asset/requirement for working with Learners.

  • By 2000-01, BSLN reached more than 100 learners among 8 classes and the one-to-one tutoring program. Also in 2001, we were fortunate to obtain funds from HRDC through LMDA funds for the "Community Outreach Project", and hired a Communications Officer who developed a BSLN logo and slogan, and designed new pamphlets, posters, student resources, as well as the BSLN Newsletter "The Leaf". This project also has enabled us to develop our own Website with Links and other information that can be utilized by other Networks and the general public.

  • In 2001-02, BSLN moved to its location at "Opportunity Place" in Lower Sackville and developed partnerships with Opportunity Place Career Resource Center, Halifax Regional School Board, Human Resources Skills Development Canada, and Dept. of Community Services. Also, BSLN partnered with the Halifax PLA Center to offer the Prior Learning Assessment Program (Portfolio Development); 7 learners enrolled in this program. A newer comprehensive website was also developed by a BSLN volunteer.

  • In 2006, BSLN moved its office and classroom program to Success College, located in the Downsview Mall in Lower Sackville. Learner numbers remain constant with at least 100 learners served per year. Community Partnerships include: Anchor Industries, Halifax Public Libraries, HRM CAP Association, Flexible Learning Center, Bedford Historical Society, Acadia Recreation Hall, Cobequid Mental Health, All Saints Bedford Players, as well as the Bedford and Sackville Lions, Kinsmen/Kinettes, and Legions.

  • BSLN has amassed an extensive array of learning materials and a library of resources for the tutor, instructor, and learner alike.

  • Over the past several years many learners and volunteers have won literacy and volunteer awards and had works published in various print forms. Many learners have reached high levels including GED certificate and/or qualified for entrance to vocational college, and other institutions of higher learning.

  • Through BSLN's brief but illustrious history, the phrase "Growing Together" has been adopted to reflect the strength of the organization, which continues to be the unselfish commitment by numerous volunteers along with dedicated learners.

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