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CanLearn Update – July 2020

July 26, 2020

Dear Friends of CanLearn,

We hope this letter finds all of you safe and well. Thank you so much for your continued support and messages of encouragement. This is a difficult time for all of us, and a test of our resiliency and connectedness as a community. Every day, CanLearn’s work continues and, in many ways, it is more important than ever. Individuals and families need our help to identify strengths and overcome challenges with literacy, learning, attention, and related mental health challenges.

In mid-March, CanLearn closed its office doors and we moved as many services and programs online as we could. We are so thankful for the professionalism and agility of our team members. A great example is our literacy team. Under the skillful and innovative leadership of Nada Jerkovic, Literacy Manager, many of our literacy staff were piloting new delivery methods within a couple of days. In some cases, this new approach made our services even more accessible and preferable to certain families. This transition was not without its challenges. Not only did Nada’s team accomplish a smooth transition, but she began writing literacy blogs that were picked up provincially and nationally.

Please check our website for program information and for our weekly blogs.

In May, our Director of Clinical Services, Dr. Heather Baker returned from maternity leave and by mid-June, we had recommenced our in-person psycho-educational assessments with personal protective equipment and new rigorous safety protocols in place. Despite our challenging times, families are thankful that we are still able to help move their children ahead. We would like to thank Heather for her outstanding leadership and our partners in educational psychology for pulling together to discuss and form our community’s strategy on how to safely relaunch. We are collaborating and sharing strategies with our partners and networks at an unprecedented level. We are truly stronger together.

CanLearn continues to offer family literacy programs, ADHD coaching, adult literacy tutoring, learning and behavioural consults, social-emotional programming, and reading instruction for children. Our programs and services may look a bit different than before, but we remain committed to our vision of unlocking potential so all can learn. We continue to be sought out by learners, families and partners that need our help. We have every intention and indication that we will be here for Calgary long into the future.

Our Board of Directors are skilled stewards and have been working with the Senior Leadership team at CanLearn to weather this storm and emerge stronger than ever. A very special thank you to FCSS for providing us with funding to hold a successful strategy session in early May. The time spent together was invaluable and will shape the organization for years to come. Two Saturdays spent on Zoom will test anyone’s commitment to their organization! We’d like to thank Peter Zyla of Ventrek, for leading these sessions. There were a lot of laughs, tough questions, and deep conversations. We left with hope and a vision for the tough road ahead. We have revised our strategy to focus on priorities that are more about sustaining than growing, more grounded in our niche areas and less in new innovations and untested territory. We thank our Board, staff, and friends for so generously providing advice, support, opportunities and their precious time. It means so much to all of us at CanLearn.

Thanks to the amazing people behind this organization, we are moving ahead in the right direction, with two areas that require a careful eye as we move ahead. The first is our fee for service area which includes psycho-educational testing. The second is our fee-based clinical programs like Reading Pilots. We project many of our families will not be able to afford the fees associated with our programs and services in the upcoming year. This causes us great concern because our policy is to serve anyone who needs our help regardless of their financial circumstances. We generally raise these dollars through the help of donors, sponsors, and our special events (Peter Gzowski Invitational (PGI), Scotiabank Charity Run and our most recent addition- Strive to Thrive). With these events being cancelled or severely delayed this year, our ability to ensure that nobody is turned away will become more difficult. Exacerbating this situation is that we expect to have double the requests for financial assistance and a smaller pot.

This is where you come in. If you normally attend one of our special events or sponsor a CanLearn runner, we would love for you to continue to support us. If you have already done so, please accept our deepest thanks. If you have not supported CanLearn before, here is why you may wish to start. An investment in CanLearn means more:

  • Preschoolers acquire age-appropriate pre-literacy skills to make them ready to enter Kindergarten
  • Children are reading confidently and at grade level by Grade 3 and Grade 7
  • Youth complete high school
  • Individuals across their lifespan learn emotional and behavioural self-regulation skills to form and maintain healthy relationships
  • Adults embrace lifelong learning to help them move ahead with learning, work, and life
  • Individuals learn their strengths and how to turn their learning and attention challenges into advantages

If you are passionate about unlocking potential and want to help CanLearn’s individuals and families in need, please invest in us today.

We are delighted once again to be selected for Birdies for Kids matching grants which makes our donors’ gifts go up to 50% farther! Click here to donate until the end of August 2020. We appreciate anything you can do to help. Thank you for supporting our work and continuing to be an important part of CanLearn. We cannot do our life-changing work without you.

Your partners in unlocking potential,