Success Stories

Pamela Samson, Adult Learner

The programs offered by Richmond Literacy are very important for people who want to keep up with the changing computer skills and programs. The coordinators and instructors at Richmond Literacy provide quality programming and make it easy to participate. Even after retirement, you may be interested in volunteer work and it’s important to keep up to date. The programs that are offered to adult learners like me, are very important to keep the mind fresh, provide good mental well being and also there is the social aspect of interaction with instructors and other learners. I hope there will be more of these programs held in the future.

Pamela Samson wearing a blue blouse.

Danielle Pyke

Upon completion of RCLN’s Transition to Employment program in 2010, Danielle Pyke’s dream became a reality; she was accepted into the Continuing Care Program at NSCC Strait Area Campus. At that time Danielle was a married mother of two small school-aged children whose husband finally secured a full-time job in April, 2009. Up to that point in time, he worked in temporary positions, either locally or out west. Like most young families, finances were a struggle as it is so difficult to get ahead either on one pay cheque or even two when the jobs are temporary, low-paying or both; and childcare has to be factored into the budget. When her husband began a full-time position as a night maintenance operator working a 5:00 P.M. to 3:00 A.M. shift, childcare was no longer an insurmountable barrier, so Danielle decided to enter our Transition to Employment program.

With her strong work ethic, positive attitude, and commitment to the program, Danielle was an ideal participant. Her interest in caring for the elderly led to a twenty-four week work placement at the Port Hawkesbury Nursing Home. Performance evaluations completed by supervisory staff indicated that Danielle was enthusiastic and eager to learn, got along well with the residents, and she received much positive feedback from the staff. Upon her acceptance into the CCA program, the Port Hawkesbury Nursing Home agreed to sponsor Danielle by covering the cost of her tuition with the agreement that she work for the Nursing Home upon graduation for a specified period of time. Through very hard work and determination Danielle successfully completed the CCA program and has been employed full-time at the Nursing Home since graduation. Her life and that of her family has been changed forever.

Andrew Cogswell

For several years, Andrew Cogswell was forced to leave the province to secure employment in the fish processing industry. His hope was to secure a job locally so that he could spend more time with his family. So, in 2012 Andrew entered the Richmond County Literacy Network’s Age Advantage Plus program where he benefitted from all aspects of the classroom component, especially the computer instruction and the job interviewing skills.

Andrew then completed a twelve week work placement with Winmar Cape Breton and was offered a full-time permanent position upon completion of this component. Given his strong work ethic and reliability, Andrew quickly progressed from an entry level position to a supervisory position – given the responsibility of a vehicle and crew.

According to Winmar Cape Breton management, hiring Andrew was a great decision for the company. As for Andrew’s apprehension about computer training while taking the Age Advantage Plus program, he soon realized how important it was for both job searches and for keeping up-to-date in the workplace. When he finished the program and started working for Winmar Cape Breton, Andrew purchased his own computer.

Andrew is a testament of how the Age Advantage Plus program assists unemployed older workers gain the personal and employment skills necessary to successfully re-enter and fully participate in the modern workforce.

Brenda Lavandier

Brenda Lavandier hails from Arichat, Nova Scotia. Born and raised in a little Acadian fishing community, she has many fond memories of her early childhood. Most of all, Brenda remembers how much she looked up to her teachers and how she would often imagine she was a teacher. This memory would later fade to the back of her mind, though it was never really forgotten completely.

Brenda left school at 16, married at 21, and soon started a family. Having children made her realize the importance of completing the education she had abandoned so many years ago. Brenda acquired her GED after attending ALP classes at the Richmond County Literacy Network and then went on to take a Culinary Arts program at NSCC Strait Area Campus in 1991. Soon thereafter, Brenda enrolled in the Cosmetology program at NSCC, and graduated in 1993.

Not satisfied with either career choice, Brenda enrolled at St. Francis Xavier University in the Bachelor of Arts program and chose English as her Major. She commuted every day to Antigonish from home in Arichat, a round trip of over 200 km. Upon graduation from St. F. X in 2006, Brenda completed her Bachelor of Education from Memorial University (Cape Breton University Cohort) in 2008.

Returning to her educational roots, Brenda became an ALP instructor for the Richmond County Literacy Network – the very venue from which she got her start. In 2012, Brenda moved from the area and now works as an ALP instructor with the Adult Learning Association of Cape Breton County.