The Portage Learning and Literacy Centre (PLLC) has often been referred to as the hidden jewel of our community. Our name can be quite deceiving as we not only offer adult education programs, but also a host of other services and programs to assist people in Portage la Prairie and the Central Plains region to meet their needs and achieve their goals.
We are a not-for-profit, charitable organization centrally located in downtown Portage la Prairie, and we have been a pivotal part of the community for over 22 years. Our main activities are provided through two main program areas, one being Adult Education, including the Mature 12 Diploma, Adult Literacy and upgrading programs, and an on-site daycare. The other area includes programs to assist individuals with finding and retaining employment, developing job skills through work experience (for youth 15-30), and of course, settlement services and language training for newcomers to Canada through our Newcomer Settlement Services. All of our programs, staff and volunteers, work together to provide the best possible service to our students, clients, and the community. As a non-profit organization, our successes over the years have been dependent on our many volunteers and their contribution of thousands of hours to serve and support others in the community. Many of our current volunteers keep busy with assisting newcomers to Canada with learning more about the community and Canada and improving their English through conversation and friendship.
This past summer, Newcomer Settlement Services was a hub activity. We were fortunate to receive funding to offer a Summer Youth Engagement Program. Throughout July and August, four afternoons per week, we offered a variety of interactive, educational, and fun activities for newcomer youth. Programming included canoeing, wall climbing, swim lessons, bowling lessons, museum tour, arts and crafts, gardening, strawberry/raspberry picking, jam-making, developing computer skills and cooking skills, and tons of other fun events. The newcomer youth not only made new friends within the group but also through their various activities in the community.
We were also happy to be able to hire a student through Canada Summer Jobs to coordinate the 2nd annual Newcomer Summer Festival in August. This year’s event took place at the Fort la Reine Museum, with a ton of activities such as greetings from dignitaries from all levels of government – the Mayor, the MLA and MP, as well as a wonderful thank-you speech by Mohammed (who is 7) from Syria. We also had live music from an amazing local artist, bubble-making station, learning how to do traditional beadwork, a scavenger hunt throughout the museum, and free popcorn, freezies, and juice for everyone. This was a great day for everyone who attended, and we look forward to next year’s summer festival.