Learning can take place anywhere and anytime; it can be both formal and informal. When learning takes place outside the classroom we open our learners up to new experiences, allowing them to see themselves as citizens of the world. Community learning activities support our academic programs, stimulating creativity and exposing our learners to new experiences that will help them gain a greater appreciation and enjoyment of other cultures and other activities.
On December 6, 1917, in Halifax, the IMO was on the wrong side of the harbour leaving the Bedford Basin. The Mont Blanc was heading towards the basin when both ships banged into each other. The Imo was carrying medical supplies and the Mont Blanc was carrying explosives. When the two ships hit, the barrels full of fuel spilled. The metal hitting metal made it hot and caused a fire. The rest of the barrels started blowing up. At 9:05 am the boat had exploded killing thousands of people.
The movie “Remembering Africville” was sad because the people of that community were told to move off the land. The government did nothing like giving them water pipes for fresh healthy water, power, paved road and snow plows. The people had to shovel their own way out in case of an emergency. The people of the community had to move to Mulgrave Park and Uniacke Square. The houses were not theirs because Africville was their home. Africville has a brave history and a strong culture that deserves respect. Every year in July, the people meet in Seaview Memorial Park where Africville used to be. They meet to share their memories and celebrate their history. They meet to remember that they must always be strong. After watching the movie we went to visit the Africville Heritage Museum.
Dartmouth Learning Network is committed to helping learning overcome barriers to entering into the Nova Scotia labour market. Our Employment Readiness Program Coordinator assess our learners strengths, skills and life experiences and works with each individual to help them find meaningful and lasting employment.
Programs and workshops take place in the classroom or out in the community.
Through the generous support of the South East Community health Board, the Dartmouth Learning Network was able to provide our learners with an opportunity to participate in the planting, care and harvesting of herbs and small vegetables which they grew in contain pot gardens. Lakeland Plant Wold hosted our learners for a morning workshop on the basics of planting seeds and seedlings, led by volunteer Lynne Pascoe; DLN learners Daniel Berube, who as an extensive background in floral design assisted Lynne with demonstrations on planting tips and techniques. After a short tour of the different nurseries, learners prepared to start planting.
DLN extends our deep appreciation to Jackie Parker, Manager of Lakeland Plant World who provided the inspiring workshop space and our knowledgeable instructor Lynne.
On November 15th, 2012, thanks to the Investors Group and Literacy Nova Scotia, I had the great privilege of taking a group of adult learners from the Dartmouth Learning Network to hear Senator Jacques Demers, former head coach of the 1993 Stanley Cup winning team the Montreal Canadiens, and two time winner of the Jack Adams Award for NHL Coach of the Year speak at the Bella Rose Centre in Halifax.
Demers spent much of his life hiding an inability to read or write. He grew up in a home with considerable violence and explains when you live in that kind of environment the noise through the night makes it difficult for you to sleep and impossible for you to learn during the day. He has overcome many challenges in his life and believes that everything is possible if you believe in yourself.
His message to those in the audience was clear. “When things go bad you cannot crumble under pressure. We all have the right to dream and when we stop dreaming of what could be it becomes hard to achieve that goal. We all have weaknesses and we all have strengths. My weakness was my struggle with literacy. Too many people want a smooth ride to the end of the goal road. Normal people work hard to achieve their goals. Those that tell you that you are incapable of reaching your goals don’t want you to succeed and are jealous of those who do succeed, so don’t listen to them. You need to have confidence in yourself. Have a vision for your future and accept responsibility for how you are to reach that vision. Do not lay blame on others if you hit a bump in the road. Those who expect to be given things fail. You have to pay a price to succeed and that price is hard work and determination.” (Jacques Demers, excerpt from keynote address November 15, 2012, Bella Rose Centre, Halifax, NS.)
Demers spoke passionately about his life’s journey; about the people along the way who were never afraid to provide him with an opportunity to succeed. Through the highs and lows of his address we were challenged to reflect on our own lives: “just because you graduated from university doesn’t mean you’re smarter or that you have better judgment than someone who has trouble reading and writing. I’ve fought hard and I’ve overcome the challenges I faced.”
I watched intently as our learners listened to Demers’ message, their faces acknowledging that this man has walked the same path as they and managed to achieve great things in his life. I cheered inwardly when he challenged those in the audience to be the first to lend a hand and the first to show respect when they encountered anyone with literacy challenges, as they will never truly understand the circumstances that led that individual to where they are today.
In a quiet message to our learners he challenged them to continually test themselves, to not be afraid of failure as it is a stepping stone to learning, and to never be the one to say “if only I had done….” as life is too short for regrets and what-ifs.
It was a perfect evening to share with our learners and we are very grateful to the Investors Group and Literacy Nova Scotia for this wonderful opportunity. Just when you think the evening could not get any better one of our learners won an autographed picture of Demers on the bench during his historic 1993 Stanley Cup win with the Montreal Canadiens, a symbolic passing of the torch from one man who overcame his literacy challenges to one young woman who is looking to overcome her own.
One of the greatest blessings about working for an Adult Learning Network is the people you meet, the stories you hear and the changes that occur in people’s lives as a result of the paths they travel. Let me introduce you to Corey Poirier; a hidden gem in our Eastern Passage community. Corey is an award winning professional speaker, author, Publisher, CEO and Entrepreneur who read his first book when he was 27 years of age.
We all face life challenges. Corey realizes challenges are the REASON for his success rather than using it as a REASON not to achieve success. Through the generous support of RJF Healthcare, Corey visited the Dartmouth Learning Network to talk about his life journey and love of learning.
Corey was raised by a single mother who lived with bipolar disorder. By the time he was 14 she’d two nervous breakdowns. His best friend took his own life. He was burnt by hydrochloric acid while working on the oil rigs, battled hypochondria and was diagnosed with hypoglycemia – it’s a wonder he doesn’t have an aversion to the letter H. Corey faced these obstacles and thrived.
When you ask Corey what drove him to succeed you will see his facial expression soften, his eyes grow large and a smile start to creep across his face as he remembers the day he found a book his mother has picked up at a thrift store entitled “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. With no real thought he tossed the book into a travel bag he was packing and set out on his adventure. His face then busts into a broad smile and you can hear the laughter in his voice as he explains to our learners that he had never read a book cover to cover before and probably never would have if he had not been sitting in a hotel room with nothing to do. The room erupts with laughter and Corey knows that he has made an important connection with the learners. “You get where I am coming from, don’t you,” he says, and those in attendance start nodding their heads in agreement.
It is amazing how a book that was first released in 1936 can still have an impact on people 77 years later. Corey explains that this book awoke in him a hunger for knowledge and a desire to experience life rather than just exist. His journey and new career began. Since opening that first book Corey has become an acclaimed author, publisher, CEO of a thriving events and seminar company, and founder of a successful media company. He has interviewed over 2000 high achievers; including such world known household personalities as Jack Canfield (America’s leading authority on achieving success and personal fulfillment), David Suzuki (award-winning scientist, environmentalist and broadcaster), and Darren Hardy (mentor to CEOs and high-performance entrepreneurs). Corey was intent on understanding what made these folks “tick.”
Corey’s natural curiosity led him in search of common success traits amoungst high achievers. “Everyone is looking for the quick fix, and to have their lives change within a day,” says Corey. “With each conversation I had with business, community or political leaders I realized that there was no magical trick to building a better life or achieving your goals. Life is about believing in yourself and celebrating each step forward. You must be consistent and stay on task. It’s about hard work. If something doesn’t work keep on trying. The math problem you struggled with today will be no more than a distant memory in the future. The books in your classroom you once thought intimidating will now create in you a hunger for knowledge and a desire to share your views with the world. Challenge yourself to learn something new each day, learners are leaders –you are all leaders!”
The morning flew by. Through a series of funny stories, excerpts from his many interviews and strong desire to encourage everyone to be a lifelong learner Corey left our learners with plenty to think about. Corey donated three of his books which we used for door prizes and two sets of books to be used in the classroom.
The Dartmouth Learning Network extends our deepest appreciation to Corey Poirier and RJF Healthcare.
“Just imagine if he was your science teacher.” “He’s as smart as a whip. You couldn’t find a better person to do this.” Trina
Mark: “So I need some liquid nitrogen.”
Mark: “To have fun with.”
When we explore the world outside beyond the confines of our own neighbourhood or classroom the learning possibilities are endless. Thank you Dr. Payne and everyone in the Department of Physics and Atmospheric Science for “taking us where no DLN learner has gone before.”
It was a busy day at the Dartmouth Learning Network - our first March Break Family Learning Morning. We used marshmallows and toothpicks to build 3-d shapes, traced letters in pudding, sand and gravel, played phonics games, board games, did puzzles, and coloured. Just when you thought the fun couldn't end we had story time led by level 2B learner Mona; once story time was over Mona presented each of our young visitors with a book to take home. Lots of happy faces, I think we will do this again.
Books are distributed to children through Dartmouth Learning Network family literacy events, our community outreach activities and on International Book Giving Day.
We rely on the generous support of our community to offer this programming. Donate to create access to new books for children in need.
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