BY KALISHA MENDONSA
Learning doesn’t stop after a school graduation, but is carried on through everyday tasks, conversations and actions within a community.
The County of Lacombe Lifelong Learning Association (CLLLA) is proud to offer a variety of courses and programs to help build the community, one lesson at a time.
Recently, CLLLA released its 2016-2017 Don’t Hibernate Winter Guide, which allows community members to stay in touch with programs, courses and community groups to stay connected through the chilly winter months.
CLLLA Executive Director Dani Ducross is excited to be able to get the information out, including a few new programs to this year’s winter edition.
“Don’t Hibernate is about connecting people to their community. Even if they don’t take our programs, it gives them something to think about so maybe people can take them next time. It’s about giving people ideas for things to try on their own,” Ducross said.
“Winters in Canda are long, and it’s easy to stay in your house, be anti-social and wait for summer. This is a way to hopefully get people out and involved.”
CLLLA offers learning activities that people can do through all walks and stages of life.
The programs and courses cross many topics, through a variety of skill-based learning modules that help people with day-to-day living.
These courses range from language and literacy, computer and interpersonal skills, recreational art and living courses and more.
The winter guide, for January to April, is now out in the community for reference. Paper copies can be found at the CLLLA office or an online version is available at lacombelifelonglearning.wordpress.com.
A couple of new programs include everyday living languages courses, meant to supplement French immersion students and those learning English as a second language (ESL programs).
“One of those programs is a Saturday morning class for kids that helps them with the daily living and play portion of language,” Ducross explained, adding that CLLLA doesn’t typically work with children, but felt this program would be valuable in the community.
“Typically with French immersion, students are speaking French in the classroom, but English while they are playing with their friends. This program helps to bridge that gap and give the kids extra everyday French to supplement their schooling.”
The program works similarly for the ESL languages.
Ducross said this is available for children and adults, and is meant to supplement the everyday slang, expression and idioms used in day-to-day living that might not be taught in a classroom setting.
“Sometimes the fun, activity-based way of learning, especially in languages, can be missed in formal classroom settings. We wanted to bridge the gap and bring a different way of learning language to people,” she said.
CLLLA and the Don’t Hibernate guide are presented to the community with the intention of providing outlets for constant learning. CLLLA welcomes members of the community to bring their special skills, such as art, secondary languages and more, to be taught in their General Interest classes.
In order to provide these extra, non-government organized classes, the CLLLA must fundraise through the Don’t Hibernate guide, where community members purchase advertising space to support the organization.
“All of the money from the Don’t Hibernate guides is brought directly back to our organization, so that we can provide certain programs.”
She explained CLLLA is an Alberta Government-funded organization, but that funding only covers certain courses and programs.
The funded programs include performance enhancement and essential skills (computers, public speaking and skills-based learning), literacy classes (ESL and basic writing/speaking programs) and community issues programming, for topics in mental health or general well-being.
With the additional general interest programs, CLLLA offers a space for community members to step up and share their unique talents, making CLLLA a truly community-oriented organization.
“We’re proud to be able to offer opportunities for people to share their knowledge,” Ducross said.
“We have people who do our general interest classes, which are often fun things like language classes in Spanish and Mandarin, or painting classes – those are all considered general interest and the government doesn’t fund those.”
The Don’t Hibernate guide has a huge variety of programs and resources available so that people in the community can continue to learn new skills, meet new people and engage in unique opportunities.
Ducross said the organization’s computer classes, for example, are very well-utilized in the community and offer basic skills to people of any and every age, but especially elderly populations and people who might not be accustomed to Canadian living expectations.
“Our computer classes are some of our most known and used. We have an amazing instructor, Laura, and she works very well especially with the senior population,” Ducross said.
“Sometimes people want to use a tablet, phone or computer and don’t want to keep asking family members the same questions. For them, we have a drop-in ‘coffee with computers’ program from 10 to 12 on Tuesday mornings in Lacombe, and once a month in other communities. It’s a chance for people to come ask simple questions about everyday use.”
The CLLLA reaches beyond general education, offering programs in first aid, basic budgeting, women’s self-defense, personal growth programs, bookkeeping and much more. To check out a full list of programs or to register, head to lacombelifelonglearning.wordpress.com.