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Saskatchewan Literacy Network
         Literacy and Learning for Life


New: 2019 Saskatchewan Literacy Awards of Merit ceremony moves to the fall!

We have exciting news! The 2019 Saskatchewan Literacy Awards of Merit ceremony is moving to the fall (the date is still to be determined) to coincide with the Saskatchewan Literacy Network’s 30th anniversary.

We are pleased to be accepting nominations for the 2019 Saskatchewan Literacy Awards of Merit from now until September 18th. This year, the awards will be held at Government House in Regina.

The nomination package is available in Word format here. You can contact us about any questions you have. We look forward to receiving your nomination!

Submit your completed nomination by September 18th, 2019,

Overview of the Saskatchewan Literacy Awards of Merit

Through the annual Saskatchewan Literacy Awards of Merit, the Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan honours people, businesses, and organizations that show dedication and commitment to literacy and learning in our province. The awards recognize

  • adult literacy learners who have demonstrated exceptional commitment and progress in their learning journey;
  • individuals and organizations who have shown dedication to improving and enhancing literacy and essential skills;
  • significant accomplishments in service or professional activities, outstanding initiative, and leadership in support of literacy and essential skills.

The 2019 Literacy Awards of Merit

Business Leadership in Literacy Award
This award commends a business or corporation in Saskatchewan for their significant financial and community support of literacy programs, and activities that promote and create easier access for people to attend these events. Award selection is based on noteworthy involvement in literacy events, ongoing development of partnerships with the community, and philanthropy that encourages learners to develop their literacy abilities.

Cameco Literacy Learner Award ($1000 Bursary)
This award is dedicated to an individual with exceptional commitment to their personal literacy and essential skills development in training programs and/or in their workplace. Award selection is based on demonstrated literacy and essential skills growth that makes a significant impact on their life. Showing leadership and commitment to giving back through community service is also taken into consideration.

Outstanding Literacy Project Award
This award honours a literacy project or program that makes a positive impact on learners and their community. Award selection is based on demonstrated innovation, creativity, and vision in project design and delivery. Development process, participant engagement, outcomes, and overall project successes are also evaluated.

Professional Leadership in Literacy Award
This award recognizes the dedication of a leader, employee, or other professional who supports the literacy needs and essential skills development in their organization and community. Award selection is based on initiating learning activities, ensuring inclusive training environments, and other documented programs and achievements due to their leadership.

Volunteer Service Award
This award honours an individual who is committed to serving others and their community. Award selection is based on exceptional dedication to supporting literacy and essential skills activities that may not have been possible without the inspiration and help of this volunteer. Activities could include providing training, mentorship, program coordination, and tutoring services, among others.

Workplace Training Excellence Award
This award celebrates an organization that is dedicated to enhancing the essential skills of its employees. Award selection is based on the workplace training programs and activities the organization provides to promote leadership and essential skills growth. This includes mentorship programs and personal development activities that result in positive career opportunities, enhanced skills, and employee growth.

Youth Volunteer Service Award
This award is dedicated to young people under the age of 24 who have volunteered their time to support literacy in their community. Youth volunteers are recognized for being a role model for other young people and who influence other young people to volunteer. The creation of this award was inspired by the dedication of Rebecca Duncan from Estevan who has volunteered for years, since the age of 11, as a program volunteer to inspire and assist other children in literacy programs after participating in them herself.

The recipients of four Literacy Awards of Merit and one honourable mention stand with their awards at the 2018 Saskatchewan Literacy Awards of Merit.

2018 Saskatchewan Literacy Awards of Merit recipients from left to right: Peggy Bacon (Regina), Volunteer Service Award; Michele Smith (Moose Jaw), Professional Leadership in Literacy Award; Terri Sewell (Saskatoon), Business Leadership in Literacy Award; Baya Khettab (Regina), Cameco Literacy Learner Award and Bursary; Rebecca Duncan (Estevan), Volunteer Service Honorable Mention.

2018 Saskatchewan Literacy Awards of Merit

His Honour the Honourable W. Thomas Molloy, Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan, hosted the 2018 Saskatchewan Literacy Awards of Merit on Thursday, May 3rd, 2018 in Regina, SK at Government House.

Four awards were presented, and one honourable mention given, to individuals and organizations who displayed outstanding efforts in promoting essential skills development in learning and literacy.

“I am grateful to the Saskatchewan Literacy Network for celebrating the excellence and generosity displayed by the impressive recipients,” said Lieutenant Governor Molloy. “I congratulate everyone who has been recognized this year, and thank those who have empowered people by giving them the life-changing gift of literacy; I also commend the recipient of the Literacy Leaner Award for her courage and determination to improve her literacy skills – you are inspiring, indeed.”



Past Recipients of a Literacy Award of Merit

The individuals, businesses, and corporations mentioned below are a sample of the many recipients of the Literacy Awards of Merit. Since the first Award of Merits in 1990, there have been over 100 awards presented to honour the great literacy work happening in Saskatchewan. Many more individuals, businesses, and corporations were nominated each year, and the awards continue to evolve as the strengths of our province change too. Use the stories below to inspire yourself to nominate someone, or a program, you think is worthy of a Literacy Award of Merit.

Business Leadership in Literacy Award
Brightrock Financial in Saskatoon was awarded the 2016 Business Leadership in Literacy Award because they provided insurance, investment, and financial planning solutions to individuals, families, and businesses. They were committed to collaborating and guiding their clients who sought family-focused financial advice through Brightrock’s core values of trustworthiness, knowledge, and dependability.

Entrepreneur and small business owner of Brightrock Financial, Janea Bellay Diena has dedicated her career and volunteer work to literacy. As a financial planner, she was selected in 2009 by Empire Life as one of three female advisors to deliver financial literacy seminar series to women in Saskatoon. Upon the success of the program, she presented it again in 2013. The sessions discussed insurance, investments, estate planning, and retirement planning.

Janea is passionate about financial literacy and skill development and supports the knowledge and skills that people need to succeed in society. Through her work as a financial planner, clients are educated on their finances. She believes that every person should have a chance to build their literacy skills by providing them an opportunity to choose a wholesome life and give back good things to their community.

Cameco Literacy Learner Award
Lindsay Brittain from Nipawin was awarded the 2014 Cameco Literacy Learner Award due to his passion of literacy and lifelong learning and working with youth. He has experienced the challenges faced by a learner whose intellect was hidden behind dyslexia. He used his own experience to inspire youth to overcome adversity and encourages youth to embrace the importance of school and literacy.

Brittain worked at St. John Bosco Wilderness summer camp and was accepted into a two-year youth support worker program with Great Plains College after 2014. He has successfully helped to increase youth’s school attendance through his work with the Oasis Youth and Culture Program. He supervised youth participating in Air Cadets and led the Literacy with Young Children and Families with the Oasis weekly Family Literacy Program.

Brittain is a positive role model for youth since he worked to raise awareness about men’s commitment to end violence towards women and children through Oasis’s “Moosehide Campaign” and participated in ongoing learning through his involvement in the “High Five” and “Quest” training, “Take the Lead” train the trainer program, and he was a participant in the Str8 Up – 10000 Steps to Healing program.

Outstanding Literacy Project Award
North West Regional College/St. Mary’s Community School Essential Skills for the Workplace in North Battleford was awarded the 2013 Outstanding Literacy Project Award. In spring 2011, the Principal of St. Mary’s School, Michelle Sarenco, contacted North West Regional College to discuss the literacy needs of the parents of her school. Many parents indicated barriers to literacy and education including lack of childcare and transportation, negative past learning experiences, and fear of criticism. Moreover, most parents indicated concern for their children’s future and a desire to become self-sufficient through education.

This program was specifically designed for parents of St. Mary’s students who found it difficult to attend on a full-time basis because of various responsibilities and/or barriers such as transportation and childcare. Parents would be able to access programming at the school three afternoons per week. The curriculum included document use, reading, writing, computer use, critical thinking, oral communication, numeracy, and continuous learning.

Twenty-two students completed the program in its first year with three gaining employment immediately, seven more gaining employment within six months, three writing and passing their GED, and two continuing to post-secondary education.

Professional Leadership in Literacy Award
Pauline Daku from Kipling was awarded the 2009 Professional Leadership in Literacy Award for committing decades of her life investing in the future of many children and adults in need of language and literacy skills. Being unable to speak English in her first year of school left a lasting impression on Daku, who used her experience as empowerment to help others overcome language barriers.

Her professional career spanned forty-three years during which she has mentored many young teachers and educational assistants, readily sharing her professional materials and expertise. Her home was a haven for new Canadians who received their introduction to English and to the ways of Canadian life. Daku’s life embodies the spirit of professionalism and volunteerism.

Volunteer Service Award
Randy Belanger from Île-à-la-Crosse was awarded the 2008 Volunteer Service Award as he has been a literacy tutor and advocate in the north for more than sixteen years. He has worked with people form La Ronge to La Loche and everywhere in between, travelling upwards of 8000 kilometres to volunteer his time as a tutor. Belanger worked with Northlands College as a literacy tutor and was also active on the Saskatchewan Literacy Network and the Saskatchewan Aboriginal Literacy Network boards of directors. He is a powerful advocate for literacy and northern peoples, but he said that his greatest pleasure was giving people the opportunity to explore a world through literacy that they never thought existed.

Workplace Training Excellence Award
ACERT-Safeway Essential Skills Partnership at the Adult Centre for Employment & Readiness Training (ACERT) in Regina was awarded the 2012 Workplace Training Excellence Award for their innovative program that was built upon a dynamic partnership between industry and community-based training initiatives. This project was intended to provide instruction, support, and services that would develop essential skills and provide labour market attachment for unemployed adults and to increase opportunities for Canada-Safeway to develop the skilled employees that they need to maintain and expand their business.

This partnership offered a 14-week essential skills program that included a workplace literacy curriculum that was supplemented by the Safeway Policies and Working Rules employee handbook and certificate courses such as Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS), First Aid, Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), and Safe Food Handling. Upon successful completion, Canada-Safeway offered an unprecedented guaranteed employment opportunity.

The advantage of this partnership was that it provided a smooth transition from education to employment, thereby reducing or eliminating the pitfalls in finding and securing employment. More importantly, this partnership expanded far beyond an individual looking for a job. Skills that individuals developed allowed them to grow as people and as employees. Participants gained references and valuable relationships during their employment experience as well as advancement and further training opportunities.

Youth Volunteer Service Award
Rebecca Duncan from Estevan received an Honourable Mention in 2018 for the Youth Volunteer Service Award. As the Estevan and Area Literacy Group said, “Rebecca is an amazing young woman who always has a smile on her face. Rebecca was a regular at our programs for many years. In 2016, she felt that, at eleven years old, it was time for her to step back and let younger children have the opportunity to participate… she wanted to stay involved, so she became a program volunteer. Rebecca has been a regular at all of our children’s programs ever since. During summer, she dedicated a minimum of fifteen hours a week… Rebecca’s hard work and dedication impact the quality and quantity of programming we offer.”

Duncan is a very kind and compassionate young lady. Ever since she was little, she wanted to help with her siblings and cousins. She spent hours singing, playing, reading, and creating new things with children. When younger, Duncan struggled to learn articulation; singing lessons helped her overcome this. Diction is now very important to her. She used music to help others listen to different sounds and enjoy language. Duncan was chosen to attend the Rick Hansen Youth Summit in 2017. She is very active in social justice activities; volunteers at her school, church, and with community organizations; sings and plays multiple instruments; competes in and supports several sports; and, overall, Duncan wants to make the world a better place for everyone.

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