Media Releases

An archive of Community Development Halton media releases dating back to 1999.

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Burlington, February 11, 2002 - The Halton Social Planning Council and the Peel-Halton-Dufferin Adult Learning Network have released the study, A Profile of Literacy Skills and Needs for Halton. This study provides a description of literacy skills as measured by the International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS), provides a demographic and socio-economic profile of the different geographical areas using 1996 Census data and provides an information base necessary for the planning and development of a system of literacy services that addresses the changing needs of learners in Halton Region.

This study clearly establishes that the region of Halton follows trends documented in the research on literacy. Strong relationships exist between: literacy skills and age; literacy skills and education; literacy skills and income; literacy skills and employment. The findings show that 1 in 5 Halton adults (18 years of age and over) do not have a high school diploma. This particularly affects the population groups aged 45 and over. Also, according to the International Adult Literacy Survey, approximately 50% of those working in different occupations and industries within Halton do so using low literacy skills (IALS Levels 1 and 2). This means that they have serious difficulty dealing with printed materials and most likely identify themselves as people who have difficulties reading (Level 1) or they can deal only with material that is simple and clearly laid out, and material in which the tasks involved are not too complex. They read, but not well. (Level 2)

"People today need more advanced literacy skills than ever before to cope with the changing pace of society both at home and at work," said Sue McCormack, Executive Director of the Peel-Halton-Dufferin Adult Learning Network. "This report will help to raise awareness about literacy skills and needs in Halton, and will assist local literacy providers in their outreach and planning activities."

Ted Hildebrandt of the Social Planning Council concurred, stating that, "Literacy is an essential skill in building a competitive labour force in a changing world based on information and knowledge. This report establishes the important link between literacy and economic and human development." This report will contribute to the deliberations throughout our community as we work together to create informed citizens and build a labour force relevant for the future.

A copy of the full study is available electronically or by contacting the Council's office.


For further information, please contact:
Ted Hildebrandt
Halton Social Planning Council
Email: thildebrandt@cdhalton.ca
Phone: 905-632-1975 or 905-878-0955

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Burlington, November 13, 2001 - Success is the only way to describe the recent day long conference held by the Halton Social Planning Council and Volunteer Centre. Entitled The Voluntary Sector and Volunteers: Building Our Future Together, the Open Space style session brought together representatives from agencies, non-profit organizations, police services and government to strengthen the community's voluntary sector.

Joey Edwardh, Executive Director, of the Council, advises that "Our role is to support the efforts of our local agencies and organizations. This conference brought together a wonderful cross section of people, and collectively, we identified issues and mapped out a blueprint for building competencies to strengthen our sector. The voluntary sector is vital to the prosperity and well-being of the community."

It was clear that the conference garnered support from all levels of government. Minister of Citizenship Cam Jackson provided a morning welcome to delegates. His Ministry provided the funding for the program under the umbrella of the Community Summit initiative. A lunch hour address was given by Halton Regional Chairman Joyce Savoline who noted that "...the collective process that participants were engaged in spoke to the importance of the program and the contributions of the voluntary sector towards building a healthy community." Chairman Savoline also gave a keynote address at dinner.

The evening program, which included guests from the corporate sector, was dedicated to a presentation on Ontario's Promise.

For more information about the voluntary sector in Halton and how to participate in future planning processes, please contact Joey Edwardh, at the Halton Social Planning Council and Volunteer Centre at 905-632-1975.


Documents

Book of Proceedings of November 8, 2001 Conference
Letter Accompanying Book of Proceedings
Summary of November 13, 2001 Follow-up Meeting to Conference


For further information, please contact:
Dr. Joey Edwardh, Executive Director
Community Development Halton
Email: office@cdhalton.ca
Phone: 905-632-1975 or 905-878-0955

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Burlington, September 6, 2001 - An opportunity exists for Halton's voluntary sector to have a voice in shaping the future directions of volunteerism in Halton. The Halton Social Planning Council and Volunteer Centre will host a one day strategic planning conference of interest to area Executive Directors, Manager and volunteers working for non-profit or voluntary organizations.

According to Joey Edwardh, Executive Director of the Council: "Our job as the Council is to support Halton's volunteer community, research issues of social consequence and act as advocates for positive change." In describing the conference, she said: "We need the active participation of members of the voluntary sector. Collectively we know a great deal about volunteerism, much has been experienced over the years as the sector and its volunteers have built community, as we know it and live it today in Halton. This conference will tap into all of this knowledge to explore, make recommendations and develop a plan which address where to go from here for volunteerism in Halton."

The conference entitled "The Voluntary Sector and Volunteers: Building Our Future Together" will be held on Thursday, November 8, 2001. Following the day long conference, delegates are invited to join the corporate sector and stay for dinner and a presentation from the Provincial Government on Ontario's Promise. In attendance will be MPP Cam Jackson and Halton Regional Chairman Joyce Savoline.

Registration kits for the conference are available from the Halton Social Planning Council and Volunteer Centre.


Conference Information and Registration

For further information, please contact:
Darlene Edmonds
Community Development Halton
Email: office@cdhalton.ca
Phone: 905-632-1975 or 905-878-0955

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Burlington, June 18, 2001 - The Hidden Faces of Poverty is the name of the aptly titled report that documents the facts about poverty in Halton as well as the testimonies of fifteen people living in poverty in Halton.

Issues brought forward in the report include:

  • Income Security - Gillian's Story "I make $400.00 a month working. Social Assistance gives me $740.00 per month... My family's needs are not being met. I have to say 'no' to my kids... We have used food banks and you feel degraded going into one... My kids have not done anything to deserve this."
  • Affordable housing - Anna's Story "Affordable housing in Halton is the big issue for us... We have had to live in places that are in bad condition... I pay $890 a month for rent. We have difficulty paying for a lot of things, just meeting the basic needs..."
  • Child care - Helen's Story "I'm on the waiting list for a child care subsidy. I can't even get day care right now... I want to get a good job... I need my day care."

Mary, one participant in the study explains: "I think what we are doing right now is a positive step because to share our stories is getting the real facts out. The government is very good at distorting the picture, so we really need to work hard to let people know about the reality."

A video, based on the report, featuring five of the participants telling their personal story is also available. To obtain a copy of the report and/or video please contact the Halton Social Planning Council and Volunteer Centre at (905) 632-1975.


For further information, please contact:
Lynne Russell, Social Planner or Joey Edwardh, Executive Director
Community Development Halton
905-632-1975
905-878-0955

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Burlington, May 10, 2001 - They are three young women, bright, outgoing and enthusiastic with a lot more than that in common. All three women have a desire to help other people and were chosen as Coordinators for the Youth Volunteering Works in Halton program, piloted by the Halton Social Planning Council and Volunteer Centre. The program, funded by Human Resources Development Canada, supports these women in their work with local agencies to create and support opportunities for youth volunteerism. It is also an International Year of Volunteers initiative.

Ann Coburn, Manager of the Program explains, It's a new initiative, and one that we are very excited about! This pilot is for a one year period, and each Coordinator works with two or three agencies for whom they must recruit at least nine youth volunteers while developing a comprehensive youth program!"

A university graduate with a major in psychology, Andrea Neilson didn't know what she wanted to do. But she did know that she wanted to help people and felt that the Youth Volunteering Works in Halton would be a great way to do that! "I heard about the program from a friend and then saw it advertised in the local paper and on the net," says Andrea. "I thought it would be a great opportunity and I was right!"

Andrea works with the Halton Hills Recreation and Parks Department interviewing their summer staff and handling all related training. In the fall she will focus on developing a comprehensive youth volunteer manual which will include policies, procedures, orientation and evaluation methods. Andrea also works with the Halton Hills Community Support and Information Centre in Acton. Here, her role is to recruit and develop a youth committee to assist with the expansion of the existing drop-in centre. Faced with multiple demands, she finds that her greatest challenge is finding the time to accomplish everything that she wants to get done!

A heavy workload is a sentiment shared by Darlene Shaw who is working with three organizations: Youth Aiding Youth, Ireland House and Joseph Brant Museums and the Burlington Community Foundation. "There is so much that can be done, so many opportunities," says Darlene. "The workload truly is overwhelming but that's also part of what makes it so exciting!"

Previously employed for five years as a Therapeutic Recreation Coordinator, Darlene spends a lot of her time on recruitment. The Burlington Community Foundation is utilizing her services to establish a youth committee while Youth Aiding Youth, needs her expertise to support their existing program that partners younger children with older ones. "We currently have 55 children on a list waiting to be paired up," says Darlene. Next week she will interview over 30 people with the hopes of being able to provide relief for some of the children wishing for a teen mentor. The challenge with the Burlington Museums is different. Here, Darlene is busy revamping the entire program in order to make it youth friendly. This means not only changing materials, but changing people's attitudes and perceptions as well.

It's a positive attitude that helps keep Michelle MacKellar grounded as she works tirelessly for her three organizations: the Oakville Red Cross, Bronte Creek Provincial Park and the Burlington Parks and Recreation Department. Youth recruitment is her number one priority for all three organizations and the demand seems endless. The Red Cross needs assistance recruiting for their youth council, Bronte Park offers
a multitude of volunteer opportunities in their camps and parks programs and the city's recreation department is seeking volunteers to work one-on-one with people with special needs. The organizations are a good fit with Michelle who has background in recreation and leisure though the job has its challenges. "There is so much work to be done since most places don't have a person dedicated to youth volunteerism. The challenge is tremendous but I am really enjoying working with so many different people."

Based on the current success and associated community benefits, it is anticipated that Youth Volunteering Works in Halton will become a permanent program offered by the Halton Volunteer Centre. For further information please contact the Halton Social Planning Council and Volunteer Centre at 905-632-1975.



For further information, please contact:
Joey Edwardh, Executive Director
Community Development Halton
Phone: 905-632-1975
Email: office@cdhalton.ca

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