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17 Mar 2017

Dakota Dunes CDC Literacy Volunteer Award Winner - Masesi Masilela

Dakota Dunes CDC Literacy Volunteer Award Winner
Masesi Masilela
Thank you speech for LIT UP 2017
Thursday, March 9, 2017

“Acquiring literacy is an empowering process, enabling millions to enjoy access to knowledge and​ information which broadens horizons, increases opportunities and creates alternatives for building a better life”. Kofi Annan

I'm so honored to be here tonight, and grateful to be the recipient of this award.

I would like to thank:

  • Dakota Dunes CDC for sponsoring the award,
  • The many volunteers and adult learners READ Saskatoon is serving.
  • Sheryl, Desiree, Joann, Erin, Catherine & Cecilia for sharing your valuable tips, information and time.
  • The financial sponsors. Every dollar spent on family literacy programs does “double duty” supporting early childhood development as well as adult basic education.
  • My husband Lawrence and children Mpumelelo and Sthandiwe

In 2008 we moved to Canada from South Africa. For the first time in my life, I was a homemaker, with two small children and a husband who worked out of town often and I knew no one.

Mrs. Mullock (My son’s preschool teacher) introduced me to a free 2-hour program that was offered by READ Saskatoon. The program is for families with children, birth to 6 years old. We come together for play, songs, stories, and other fun activities. 

During the second half of the program the adults have the opportunity to enjoy coffee/tea while focusing on positive parenting and support amongst each other.

I acquired practical tools that I applied at home and they made it possible to become my children’s first teacher and also broadened my knowledge about parenting options.

My children had an opportunity to interact with adults in a fun, safe and creative place. The program doesn’t just focus on their education, but also includes emotional, social, and physical skills. My children’s reading, vocabulary and comprehension skills improved, as well as their self-esteem and attitudes towards learning.

After my children aged out of the programs, I decided to stay on as a volunteer and pass down the tools that I acquired when I participated in the programs.

Volunteering:

  • Has given me a rewarding opportunity to repay the favor by giving someone else a helping hand.
  • Helped me learn more about myself, province, community and Canada, make new connections, and find new opportunities.
  • Has given me an opportunity to have fun with my children as co-volunteers and to influence them to be great.

Bottom line: people who don’t live with an attitude of constantly being available to serve the needs of others can never have the word “great” describe them.

Thank you
Masesi

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