Computer Basics and Beyond

Organization Information:

Organization Name:
Literacy Council of Brantford And District
City & State:
Organization Website:
Organization's Mission Statement

The Literacy Council of Brantford and District is committed to helping adults improve their literacy and essential skills so that they may increase their independence, go on to further education and training, or obtain and maintain employment.

Submission Information

Impact Essay

The Literacy Council of Brantford and District is a community-based, charitable organization. Adults utilize our services in order to improve their literacy and essential skills, so that they may become more independent, obtain/maintain employment, or go on to further education and training. In order to deliver our programs, we rely heavily on our 60+ volunteers to provide quality services.

All of our computers use a Windows Operating System and Office Software which enables us to run eight in-office computers, and fifteen laptop computers. Computers play a huge role in today’s knowledge-based economy, so we make sure computer use is incorporated into learners’ lessons to assist them with improving their reading, writing, numeracy, listening, and computer skills.

It’s hard to imagine being an adult who has difficulty with reading or writing, but try if you will, to imagine a world where you miss wonderful opportunities because you lack the required literacy or essential skills; where you have to depend on others to read you your mail, or fill out your job applications. Imagine giving your child the wrong amount of medication because you didn’t understand the directions. If you can imagine this world, then imagine how it would feel to finally have those skills, and to walk with your head held high because you are no longer ashamed or embarrassed. What a wonderful world it would be if nobody felt inferior, but rather, felt like valued, productive members of their community.

Through one of our funders (Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities) we were able to purchase 15 laptops, and through Techsoup and the Microsoft Donation program we were able to affordably obtain Office Suites and Operating Software which has enabled us to effectively run our:

  • Travelling Computer Basics and Beyond workshops
  • Employment Track Express (ETE) program
  • In-office literacy programs

Having never used a computer before, many of our adult learners feel very embarrassed and inadequate; they are afraid of the computers. At the beginning of a program, many of the participants say “You must think I am so stupid.” We reassure them that they are definitely not stupid, and after going through one of our programs, they become more confident and realize that there isn’t anything to be frightened of. They even end up using some techie language which surprises their friends and families. We are proud to say that out of all the people who have taken our workshops, not one person has walked away without increasing their knowledge of computers.

After looking into what our community needed, we realized that adults living in the rural areas did not have the same opportunities as people living within the city, so we have partnered with our local county libraries to deliver our travelling “Computer Basics and Beyond” workshops in the rural areas. People take this free workshop to improve their employment skills, to prepare for other training, or to increase their independence. Within a two month period we have been able to assist 50 adults in obtaining the computer skills needed to confidently create and save files and to use Internet Explorer to communicate with friends and family, access information, and to search for employment/volunteer opportunities. 100% of the participants reported an increase in computer skills. Participants in these workshops range in age from 35 to 70. We have had comments such as “I’m very thankful for what I’ve learned and your program is very good” and “I recommend this course for others.” This workshop is in such high demand that there are waiting lists at each of the four participating libraries.

We also run an Employment Track Express (ETE) program. With the one we are currently running, the number of people served in this program is 25. This program assists adults who have lost their jobs due to downsizing or factory closures. The age range of participants is 27 to 60. Through ETE we help adults learn how to use computers, and inform them about what level of essential skills are needed for each job. By the end of the 60 hour program, participants know how to use a computer to create and save documents (resumes), use email programs, and search the web to find employment opportunities. They also become aware of what essential skills they may need to improve upon. 100% of participants reported an increase in computer skills and knowledge of searching and applying for employment. We have had comments such as "I found the course very informative & easy to follow along. The instructors were extremely helpful & knowledgeable - overall extremely useful" and “I recommend this course to everyone.”

Separate from the workshops mentioned above, we have on average 90 adult learners registered in our literacy/essential skill programs monthly. Our computers and Microsoft Software are used regularly by our staff, learners, and volunteers. Through the Office suite packages we obtained we have been able to:

  • Create a databse in Microsoft Access that enables us to: track learners, create individual learning plans, track volunteer hours, and create reports regarding demographics, etc.
  • Create slideshows for community presentations and volunteer training
  • Create reporting documents for staff and volunteers
  • Create spreadsheets for financial reports
  • Have all our computers usign the same Operating System and Office Software
  • And oh so much more

Through Techsoup and the Microsoft Donation program we were also able to purchase Microsoft FrontPage which has enabled us non-webmasters to create and edit our website, and has given us the ability to deliver online volunteer training and discussion groups.

As an organization with very limited revenue, we greatly appreciate having Techsoup and programs like the Microsoft Donation program available to us. We would not be able to afford or effectively run our programs without this support.

Submission Category
Optimize Mission Delivery
Project Image
Using a mouse.JPG
Supporting Work Files