May 11, 2009
The following story was written by Earl Leslie, from Halifax, Nova Scotia. Earl has been an employee of Canada Bread (formerly Ben's Ltd.) for the past 24 years, in Halifax. He has been involved in Workplace Education programming since in 1999. Earl has also been a volunteer representative of the Halifax Boys' Honour Choir (HBHC) since 1999. Earl won an award in 2009 from Literacy Nova Scotia in the Academic Skills Upgrading category. This was awarded after the Adult Learners' Week Contest that took place throughout Nova Scotia from March 2 - 9, 2009.
Reflection is a wonderful thing; a measuring tool, if you will. Measuring where we were, where we are, and where we can be, if we choose to embrace a positive attitude and a willingness to learn. As I begun my journey on the road of life long learning in 1999, workplace education gave me hope and a reason to believe that I can make a difference not only in my life, but also; in the lives of others.
As a participant in Academic Upgrading, Computer Basics, and Communication Skills programming, I have acquired skills that have proven to be invaluable not only in the rapidly changing workplace of today, but have become essential on a daily basis in my personal life.
Since 1999 I have been a volunteer representative of the Halifax Boys' Honour Choir, The choir is comprised of boys between the ages of 9 and 12 years, selected from various elementary schools within the Halifax City school system, by a process of auditions.
As their representative; I look after organizing fundraising initiatives, arrange public performance opportunities, maintain and control an inventory of uniforms, as well as; arrange support for the choir. Personally; I feel the choir is about so much more then developing great singing skills, it's about building character, self-confidence, professional behaviour and social skills, all of which are important lasting values.
Since 1999; the choir has grown from 27 boys to currently 52. Through hard work, determination and commitment, they have travelled and performed in all four Atlantic Provinces, Montreal, Quebec, Ottawa, Ontario, and most recently; a tour of Southern Ontario.
In June of 2007 I was approached by Jonathan, a former chorister who has since grown into a fine young man on his way to university, Jonathan said "Mr. Leslie; I just want to say that I admire you for all your time working with the choir, you make such an incredible difference in each of our lives", needless to say; I was speechless. I have since learned that Jonathan has received a full music scholarship at McGill University.
In April of 2007; I was the project team coordinator for the first of two workplace education programs being introduced at Canada Bread, a Communication Skills program. The program was a tremendous success and upon completion each member of the class received a "BRAVO" award from the senior management team. I am currently project team coordinator and participant for a second Academic Skills program in our workplace.
As I reflect back on my involvement with workplace education, I quickly realize the benefits of learning new skills and the impact they can have on one's life. Although I do not take credit for the successes of my fellow employees or members of the Halifax Boys' Honour Choir, I do take pride in knowing that I shared in their successes.
I sincerely believe that workplace education programs can open the doors of opportunity and enhance a person's life, regardless of age or level of education.
Thanks to workplace education... each day I have a reason to celebrate!!
[This story was taken with permission, from Living and Learning for a Viable Future: The Power of Adult Learning, a collection of stories submitted to Literacy Nova Scotia for the Adult Learners' Week Contest in March 2009.]