Canada’s Premiers Announce Literacy Award Recipients for 2014

Neil Christopher – Nunavut
In 2001, Neil Christopher completed his Master of Education Degree and moved to Iqaluit where he began a long career as an instructor in the Nunavut Teacher Education Program. In 2003, Christopher helped form the Nunavut Bilingual Education Society (NBES), a non-for-profit organization committed to supporting Inuit language literacy. Resources developed by the NBES are distributed free of charge to schools, libraries and daycares throughout Nunavut. In 2006, he co-founded Inhabit Media, a small company which has so far published over 150 publications (over 70 in the Inuit language). Nunavummiut now have the opportunity to read, write and share stories that reflect their own lives, language and culture. Through Inhabit Media, more and more Inuit are having their work published and recognized nationally.

Tim Nicholls Harrison – Ontario
Tim Nicholls Harrison is passionate about encouraging lifelong learning. For almost 30 years, he has been actively involved in adult upgrading initiatives as an employee of the Owen Sound & North Grey Union Public Library and its Adult Learning Centres (ALC): Grey – Bruce – Georgian. Nicholls Harrison uses his creativity, compassion and leadership skills to support a dynamic team of staff and volunteers in assisting local adults with employment and educational goals. Under his guidance and facilitation, the ALC has focused on overcoming economic barriers to learning, helping adults use ever- changing technology in their daily lives and making a difference in the community. Nicholls Harrison, the library’s current CEO, enjoys spending time with family and friends. Libraries, adult education and magic are his main interests.

Marsha Bernard – Prince Edward Island
In 2007, when Marsha Bernard had the opportunity to be a participant in the Connecting Youth to Community Program, she had no idea where it would eventually lead her. Her outlook on life changed completely. Upon completion of the program, she immediately found entry level employment in the food industry. In 2010, Bernard wrote the GED tests, passing four of the five tests, but she recognized the need to complete grade 12 to obtain better employment. In 2011, she enrolled in and graduated from Career Bridges, completed her GED tests and literally “took off”! While she works seasonally, Bernard is currently on the waiting list to attend the Primary Care Paramedicine program at Holland College. Bernard is living proof of what happens when opportunity knocks and you answer the door. She has trust in herself and others to take risks, work hard and look to the future.

Karine Buisson – Québec
Through her determination, perseverance and positive attitude, Karine Buisson has become a prominent figure since joining the Cité des Mots in Shawinigan three years ago. Buisson demonstrates her enthusiasm and joy of learning through the diligence she exhibits in her learning process and in her devotion to her peers. Her approach to learning has opened doors to her future that she never thought possible before joining the program. She notes, “I have become more and more independent and I hope that the confidence I have gained will take me further. I strongly encourage others in need not to hesitate when thinking of taking the necessary steps and joining Cité des Mots.” Buisson can be proud of how far she has come!