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Capilano University volunteer training program receives support from federal government grant

Capilano University learns it will receive approximately $338,000 from the federal government for its Volunteer Connections program. From left to right, University president and vice-chancellor, Dr. Greg Lee, North Vancouver MP Andrew Saxton, instructors Pat Hodgson and Kathy Coyne, and Cap's vice-president of Student and Institutional Support, Dr. Patrick Donahoe.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Contact: Shelley Kean at 604.983.7596

(NORTH VANCOUVER, B.C.)—Capilano University’s ongoing commitment to support community capacity building in the Lower Mainland’s most vulnerable communities today got a boost from the Government of Canada’s Office of Literacy and Essential Skills.

North Vancouver MP Andrew Saxton, on behalf of Diane Finley, minister of human resources and skills development, announced that the university will receive close to $338,000 to support its Volunteer Connections project that helps adult volunteers facing barriers to employment.

“We are extremely grateful to the federal government for these funds, which will assist our ongoing and all-important community-based literacy programs,” said Patrick Donahoe, Capilano University’s vice president of student and institutional support. “The money will help us and our partners in ensuring that vulnerable members of the community are valued for their contributions and feel supported in their learning efforts.”

The funds, to be distributed over a three-year span, will provide community volunteers with a combination of classroom and workplace-based training to increase their levels of literacy and essential skills. These individuals will then be able to overcome employment barriers and integrate into the labour market or enrol in post-secondary education programs.

The Volunteer Connections project will take place at four neighbourhood houses and at Carnegie Centre. Capilano University’s partners are: Kiwassa Neighbourhood House, Cedar Cottage Neighbourhood House, Little Mountain Neighbourhood House, Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House and Literacy BC.

“Our focus in this work is volunteers who are well-connected with their community organizations, but who may experience limitations in participating in traditional post-secondary institutions,” Donahoe explained. “We work with people in their own communities, offering them the tools and support they need to move into a competitive job market.”

Capilano University has long been recognized as a leader in innovative community-based literacy and leadership development for volunteers working in community development roles. It has been working with literacy initiatives in the Downtown Eastside for more than 13 years, and has been involved in the Sunshine Coast, Squamish and North Shore communities with projects like this for 15 years. It is hoped that the new funding will assist with expanding its commitment in the region.

Capilano University is a teaching-focused university that serves the communities of the Lower Mainland, Howe Sound, and the Sunshine Coast through campuses in North Vancouver, Squamish and Sechelt. Enrolment totals 6,700 students in credit programs each term with an additional 7,000 people taking non-credit courses annually. Capilano offers a complete range of preparatory courses, university-level arts and science courses, business and management studies, creative and applied arts programs, health and human services programs, plus a range of services in support of student learning and success. Credentials awarded include bachelor degrees, associate degrees, post-baccalaureate diplomas, advanced diplomas, diplomas, certificates and statements of completion.

For more information on Capilano University, please visit www.capilanou.ca

The Government of Canada’s Office of Literacy and Essential Skills works with partners such as provincial and territorial governments, employers and community organizations to provide Canadians with the tools and supports they need to maximize opportunities for themselves, their families and their communities. More information can be found at:



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