Grant from ECF enables the Family Literacy Centre to continue programming through pandemic
Every year, the Centre For Family Literacy improves thousands of lives. The Centre’s goal is to build, develop and improve literacy with families and communities.
In 2019, eight thousand Albertans, ranging from children to adults, benefited from the Centre’s training. But until this spring, all of the Centre’s work was delivered through face-to-face situations.
“[Online programming] was something that we kept talking about wanting to explore,” says Kim Chung, co-executive director of the Centre. “But there was never the time or the resources, money- or people-wise, to do that.”
Now that the pandemic has radically limited our ability to gather, the Centre started adapting its classes for online delivery, and by April had 10 programs running virtually. But the up-front costs of switching to digital programming — as well as developing methods of making that medium as engaging as possible — were a difficult hurdle to overcome.
To support the Centre, Edmonton Community Foundation (ECF) granted $14,800 through its COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund (RRF). ECF began strategic COVID-19 granting on March 19, 2020. Since then, ECF has provided more than $4 million in funding to Edmonton’s charitable sector to help the city’s most vulnerable during the pandemic.
That funding has allowed the Centre to purchase the equipment and programs necessary to transform their approach for the digital pandemic era. They’ve now incorporated interactive programs including Kahoot! into presentations to make their work more engaging, and professional equipment ensures their courses are delivered with exceptional clarity. That funding has also allowed for extra staff to assist instructors during classes.
“We’ve constantly been trying out, how do we make this more interactive? How do we make this fun? How do we keep [people] engaged?” Chung says. “Having these tools to make it more engaging will help.”
The Centre’s focus on interactive elements has been warmly received. Chung notes the feedback is that it’s been particularly engaging, and unlike any other online training so far. As the Centre’s online programming grows — as of September, the Centre is running 25 online programs a week — they continue to improve the quality of their online delivery.
“There was a push from COVID, but it’s definitely something we were always interested in exploring,” Chung says of their online approach. “It’s just fast now. Which is okay. It’s pushing us in the right way.”
Learn more about ECF’s response to COVID-19.