Local literacy student wins award

Life hasn’t been easy for Nancy Swiston. Five years ago, she lacked employment skills and struggled with depression.
But now, thanks to her determination and the help of a local literacy program, Swiston got a new job, a new life, and, recently, also received the Arnie Stewart Individual Achievement Award.
The award was given out annually by Laubach Literacy Ontario to celebrate the achievements of literacy learners and to recognize the barriers they have to overcome.
Swiston certainly has achieved a lot. Since she started literacy training, she not only learned transferable skills, but also learned about customer service and got practice on a cash register.
“This helped my self-esteem,” she said. “Just knowing that I could do it.”
Her new skills and confidence helped her get a job at the SAAN store here in Fort Frances.
“The literacy program really helped me prepare for the interview,” Swiston remarked. “I was surprised to get hired right away.”
An awards banquet was hosted in Windsor on June 18 to honour Swiston and other student learners.
Because Swiston was unable to attend the banquet, members of the literacy community created a home-made card for her that was signed by everyone there.
Dr. Bob Laubach, previous award winners, and Arnie Stewart joined in to celebrate Swiston’s achievements.
Swiston isn’t alone in her struggle for literacy. A new survey conducted by Statistics Canada revealed 42 percent of Canadian adults don’t have the necessary reading and numeracy skills to fully function in today’s society.
In fact, many people across the province struggle with everyday tasks such as reading a newspaper or filling out a job application.
Volunteer-driven organizations like Laubach Literacy Ontario (LLO) provide one-on-one instruction to adults.
Swiston currently is a tutor and volunteer with the local Valley Adult Learning Association, an LLO council.