NSPGI for Literacy Gala Dinner and Auction 2019

[Applause] I have gone places through books that I could never go to and I've met people through books that I will never meet and I had was blessed with a mom who loved to read and I remember learning to read my mother would bundle my sister and I up in our winter coats and take us to the barn in the winter because we didn't have a hired man I grew up on a dairy farm and so I learned to read in a wooden trough in a barn sounds a little hokey but it's exactly what happened mom would bring a bag of books and one of moms duties was to feed the milk to the baby calves so she would have to wait for my father to melt the cows to get the milk to feed the calves so meanwhile my sister and I were just tiny her in the trough and she'd take a book out and start to read to us and then when the milk was ready it had to stay warm with the cows she'd put the books down and off she went and I remember staring at those books hoping those words would just jump off the page and somehow I could learn to read right away because it was just magical she would take us places with these stories and mom was quite a storyteller as well so I grew up loving to read and couldn't wait to learn to read so I could immerse myself in some of the great literature that we have in Canada and around the world so it's just so nice to see books it's hard to imagine though when you look at books that some people find them intimidating some people perhaps could read the cover or read through a book quickly but not really understand what's going on so we're here today to make sure that that changes and we're going to hear some very powerful stories as the evening goes on PGI's for literacy was founded by the late Peter Saskia CBC's radio Morningside started with Peters commitment in the late 1980s to raise 1 million for literacy across Canada today there are P GIS and every province and territory the PGI began in Nova Scotia has a golf tournament in 1991 and the last tournament was held in Cape Breton and 17 over that time NS PGI has raised over 1.5 million dollars to support literacy initiatives across this province this is our first annual gala dinner and auction and there are people that have been hard at work you're going to hear who they are and what they've been doing but it's quite amazing to see such a beautiful room filled with all these generous people we're very grateful for the support from national and local supporters prized donors volunteers and of course you Peter zosky was a passionate advocate for literacy and you're keeping his dream alive through the PGI's my father some of you would know was involved in public life he wasn't very committed to the Dartmouth Learning Network it has truly been one of the great historical associations in this province for enabling people to read in 1991 he did bring the Peter zosky tormance to Nova Scotia he was the mayor of Dartmouth it was actually my mother who read an article and chatelain about them and said John you've got to bring that tournament to Dartmouth and the first one was it bright wood and he helped them and he supported them for a number of years and sherry was the perennial poet laureate for the Peters auskey Thomas so my father even at a time when he was a premier and at times were tough he invested in literacy programs and I think to his great credit he stuck with that now the real hero of the family was my mother what she did to promote literacy was really quite amazing she started delivering the library books to shudders through the Dartmouth library system sometime in the 1970s and from hell or high water she delivered those books when my father became mayor the library said I've shown you too busy you don't she said no I keep doing he became premier she kept doing these library books she was an amazing woman who believed that if you could read and if you did and if you love breeding life was easy so as a member of parliament I remember campaigning on literacy issues on a number of occasions when programs are being threatened or being cut and I remember one time a learner came to see me when I was a member of parliament he came from the ballot except my office he said mr. Saavik I work at a plant I don't think a lot of money but I'm proud of my work that I like it I was offered a job a promotion which I was very excited about what school they told me I had to take a test he said I was afraid that they would find out that I couldn't read and write and I was afraid that I'd lose the job I have now so he said I stuck my hand up and I became a learner and he said it changed my life and he said I want everybody to have that opportunity and that is really the story for very very many people but too many of our citizens they don't have the literacy skills that they need to succeed as many of you know our literacy levels fall way below the level that a country like ours should have literacy nova scotia is awesome and do service work unlimited resources to help learners achieve their potential by upgrading their reading skills I thank you all I thank you all I offer my sincere congratulations all the Award winners tonight thank you for the hard work that you've put in what a knowledge my dear friend I'll be out and Mary who's done stories of trouble here but tonight when I think about work that they've done to help connect people to learn it is an extraordinary story all of you thank you for being here tonight enjoy the evening thank you for supporting literacy Nova Scotia and the PGI but on behalf of Milwaukee Martin Canada I drilled to be here with over 250 employees in the area the Halifax Regional Municipality represents our largest population across Canada we've found tremendous support matica see here in Nova Scotia gives us a great great pleasure to be able to give back to this community by supporting the NSP gia for literacy gala thank you very much I am here on behalf of our premier Hugh and McNeil consensus regrets but as a government we recognize the importance of literacy at all levels so that's the childhood to adulthood and we've committed to promoting and partnering with organizations such as literacy Nova Scotia in order to continue to do as much great work as possible 20 miles out of town it doesn't stop I usually teach like into the class and then whether a given time my teachers thought that was really really warming sometimes it's funny that I also on time and some students just with savage street from the classroom are often linked my instructors and teachers have come up both the entry miles and to help me out they want me to see them like I'm glad I met many people they are great friends I spent most of the morning with my girlfriend and her lovely girl daughter Olivia teaching them very basics how to ski and I've been skiing in over 17 years so it was good just to get them on and off the skis and down the hill well we had registered for a lesson and it was time for a break while we were sitting down table through sharing very frustrated young girls while they're doing that another young girl sat down across from us and overheard the conversation she too began to reassure Olivia that she could do is that if this young girl could do it so could she if that's as far as when I would have been impressed but it's what she said after the smile of the giggle she said I'm completely blind can I plan to ski now I saw her chaperone the best and yellow stripe of saying visually impaired to the shock given me to see to hear that she was completely blind and not many people here would know the story holds special meaning to me because I was visually impaired as child as well as well not nearly as much as this young girl but it was enough to cause major headaches migraines missed a lot of time over many years and three surgeries the correct and nearly all the problems thank you very much it's a great honor continuing good work thank you we've got eight we've got tired the 13th we got them working on dessert I'll let you know where you live here we go at 1600 once 1600 sold we're gonna tell you now just a small story literacy is a really big thing for me and I you know I'm not the most literate person I just want to take a little story about going to Grandparents Day last year that my planet kids go visit my grandson is nine and they're playing Scrabble so I sat down with the kids the two 9 year olds to play Scrabble and then I couldn't believe the way their spelling these words and coming up with them anyway they get a hit when they couldn't figure out and I said I can do that daddy so I took daddy oh and they looked at each other they weren't sure anyway they went on didn't the teacher come by and look down and she said daddy that's not a word I was outed by a grade 4 teacher two boys were terrible your support allows a team of learson nova scotia to continue providing support to learners to their practitioners and to the organizations which provide the learning programs we're passionate about what we do because we see the impact on individuals their families workplaces and communities as you have heard tonight through the stories of James and Michael to give you a sense of what we do and how your support can contribute I'll share with you some highlights from the past year so forty-three adult learners receive financial supports totaling 10 thousand one hundred and seventy five dollars we provided training to over 200 practitioners to ensure that they have the skills needed to support the learners in reaching their own learning goals we provided IT resources including computers laptops and iPads 217 community based learning organizations for use in the classroom we provided almost 50 thousand and grants to organizations to support their learning programs for over a thousand learners these grants can help reduce barriers for attending classes such as transportation and childcare it provides learning resources nutritious meals and enhance learning opportunities such as field trips we offered six writing workshops for 74 learners and we provided a mentor training and le S which is their same essential skills training within the fishery sector as a small pilot project which was has resulted in seven former clients of Department of Community Services now being fully employed in the municipality of Barrington that was over a six-week period it was a huge success and we celebrate learner successes and promote their successes to others who could benefit from a learning program 30 learners were showcased under the learners celebration and the valley this fall and 15 learners stories were featured in the learning beacon an online attractive that we produce we're nonprofit charitable organization and without your support we would not be able to do what we do thank you so much I want to talk about Peter and I first want to thank Jane because she said they couldn't do it without all of you but we couldn't do it without Jane who has worked tirelessly so I did they asked me to talk a little about Peter because you know what sometimes younger people who may be named after Peter was gone from Morningside and gone from the planet may not know who he was and I did have the great honor of being his friend when Peter died I've had the honor of being asked to write a memorial poem for him it's called we are sorry for our loss so now we can't tune in to hear the stutter stammer of your rumpled voice a voice that erased the static of downlines connections lost that voice that hugged us in and hush the racket and the rattle of ourselves inside our separate shells we are sorry for our loss now we have no excuse to linger over coffee with you but must get on with all our days hang out that laundry finish up the vacuuming make notes for tomorrow's negotiations pound more nails pick up another fair before our shift is through early the sheep how that Inukshuk take off for outer space we are sorry for the loss of all those words that no voice will ever sing the same pain returned after a stockpile of any of the cacao at the end of it before you said them only words black ducts on a piece of paper afterwards connected dots in a zig zag puzzle the Magnificent enigma of the people and the place without being there you took us there we smell that card by God tasted those worms traced the scars of some brave survivor heard the song inside the singers heart held our breath as someone told us how she finally learned to read

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