July 19, 2004
The following story was written by Everett MacKinnon, from Smelt Brook, Nova Scotia. Everett is 53 years old. He quit school at a young age because he had trouble finding jobs. With encouragement from some very good friends, he began upgrading classes at Community Learning Association North of Smokey (CLANS) in the fall of 2002.
The following year, Everett returned to the workforce and has remained steadily employed at various jobs since that time. Through his employment, he has been able to participate in training such as First Aid and WHMIS. He attributes his successful return to the workforce to CLANS upgrading program as it helped him to improve his reading, writing and math skills as well as his self-confidence. The program has given him a new outlook on life and he is more aware of what he can do
Everett plans on returning to CLANS programs in October and in the future he would like to get his GED.
I decided that I would try school again. I wanted to improve my reading, writing, and math skills. I forgot a lot of things since I left school. I dropped out when I was sixteen years old. I did not give myself a chance. I could not take the jobs I wanted to get because I did not have the education to do the work, but at least now I have a chance to help myself.
I got a second chance through the CLANS program. I heard about it from a very good friend. He asked me if I would like to go with him. I had read flyers they sent me in the mail but I just had not taken the time to check it out. That night I decided that I would go and try it. I was very nervous in the class . They were going over their work, and that night they were reading a book out loud in class. It was very interesting to sit and listen to them. I was asked if I would like to read. I was never comfortable reading in a group. It was not forced upon me to do it, so I decided that I would give it a try. I made some mistakes, but the class helped me out and my instructor made me feel good for trying it.
I have been in CLANS for almost three months, and already my math skills are improving a great deal. I know that my reading and writing have also improved. I have even written a poem! It was not a long one, but it is the first time I have ever tried to do such work. That is a big step for me.
The CLANS program has what it takes to get you to do things, because each week I am excited to get back to class. I try and do my work the best I can. I have some of it wrong each night when they check it over, but I have very good instructors to teach me. When I leave each night, I can understand all the work I had wrong. I am doing things in CLANS that I did not think I could do. It has taught me to work in groups with other people in the classroom, and I really enjoy that part of school.
So for myself, all I can say is that this is the best program I ever got into. It is worth every effort I put into it, and it has helped me understand things better. I know it will help me in the years ahead. I have a message for anyone who has dropped out of school. If you want to improve yourself, just come and check out the CLANS program. It will be worth your effort, and it will help you do better with things in your life.
I would like to say thanks to the CLANS program for helping make my work better. I will stay in this program until I can't get there anymore. I want to thank everyone who has anything to do with the CLANS program. You are all doing a wonderful job.
[This story was taken with permission, from Over the Mountain 7, p. 63, a collection of stories written by learners from different communities across Nova Scotia.]