“To empower lives through literacy and language”
“Communities where everyone has the skills to achieve their full potential”
Kingston Literacy & Skills (KL&S) is a non-profit community organization. With professional, knowledgeable staff and dedicated volunteers, we deliver literacy upgrading and workforce preparation programming to adults and families in Kingston and surrounding communities.
Since our beginnings in 1977, we have been unwavering in our efforts to support and encourage adults with low literacy skills; we work with them to achieve their goals of further education, employment or independence.
KL&S strives to continually provide innovative programming that meets the needs of our students in order to help them realize their goals. Some of our programs have been developed in partnership and through consultation with Ontario Works, Kingston Community Health Centre, Kingston Employment Youth Services, and Re-Start.
We also have long-standing partnerships with St. Lawrence College, the Limestone District School Board, the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board, Kingston Frontenac Public Library, Queen’s University and the municipalities we serve.
KL&S is a recognized leader and pioneer in the literacy sector. Our history of community support, successful volunteer recruitment and management, and effective working partnerships with a variety of organizations in Kingston and surrounding area has contributed to our longevity and our positive impact on the communities we serve.
Over the years, we have grown to include Family and Early Literacy (FEL) as well as Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) programming.
Following repeated requests for basic reading materials, Kingston Public Library staff identified the need for a program in Kingston that focused on adult literacy. This need was confirmed by 1971 Census data that indicated almost 27 per cent of adults in Kingston had less than a Grade 9 education.
In 1977, a research study called “Reach Non-Readers” was conducted, and the results indicated there was a need for a part-time literacy program. Later that year, the Kingston Literacy Council and Adult Reading Program were established.
With help from St. Lawrence College, the Frontenac County Board of Education and the Kingston Public Library, the Adult Reading Program began to provide one-to-one training at the 0 to Grade 4 level.
Staff consisted of one part-time teacher/coordinator and 10 to 15 tutors.
After a series of moves throughout 1978 to 1984, the Adult Reading Program eventually relocated to a building on King Street.
Due to funding shifts, the Kingston Literacy Council became Kingston Literacy. Kingston Literacy was incorporated, becoming an independent organization, and a registered charity. Kingston Literacy began looking for alternative sources of funding.
In 1985, Employment and Immigration Canada funded a pilot project aimed at the unemployed, and Kingston Literacy was awarded a grant to operate a literacy centre on Barrie Street, called the Read-Write Centre.
Funding ran out for the Adult Reading Program on King Street. As a result, it was closed and transferred to the Read-Write Centre on Barrie.
In 1987, The Read-Write Centre found a new home at 88 Wright Crescent, below the Calvin Park Branch Library. The new space was larger than the location on Barrie Street, and much less expensive, since the library waived most of the rental fees.
By 1988, Read-Write Two opened in the Greenridge Plaza. Twenty-six learners and six volunteers signed up in the first six months. An outreach program also started in Amherstview at the Amherstview branch of the library and a neighbourhood school.
In 1989, Family Literacy programming began in response to research that indicated children from language-rich homes had an easier time learning to read and write. The Reading and Parents Program (RAPP) was launched as a pilot project in Kingston’s north end. The program was aimed at making parents aware of the essential early learning that must take place in the home before children are ready to begin learning at school. That year, The Adult Reading Program won the 1989 National Literacy Award.
Throughout these years, Kingston Literacy continued to expand by offering additional programming, adding more locations and hiring new staff. We also developed a number of learning resources that are distributed throughout the country and have been involved in a number of research projects.
In 2006, Kingston Literacy began offering Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) classes.
By 2008, the reconstruction of the Calvin Park Library on Wright Crescent necessitated a move by Kingston Literacy’s Community Learning Centre Kingston (CLCK) to a new location at 859 Princess Street. The new space was larger, brighter and at street level, making it comfortable and accessible for the community it serves. The building was also close to the bus terminal at the Kingston Centre. Later in the year, Family Literacy staff moved from 1755 Bath Road to 859 Princess Street and La Salle Secondary School, and the LINC program moved into its new centre at 16 Bath Road.
To better reflect the various programs Kingston Literacy offers, the corporate name was changed to Kingston Literacy & Skills (KL&S for short) with a value proposition of “Build Your Skills, Shape Your Future” in 2009.
Come 2010, Kingston Literacy & Skills developed a new and updated logo to reflect its new name.
Today, KL&S operates three sites in Kingston and area: two in Kingston and one in Napanee.
We now employ 27 people, and serve 1,950 clients annually.
We manage a growing budget of $1.2 million and receive support from 74 volunteers who donate more than 7,000 hours annually.
We are looking for a volunteer to help with light duties to enable staff to focus their energy on the children. Duties include: snack preparation, craft preparation, toy cleaning, light dishwashing and helping with updating the display board.
If you are interested in the position listed above, please contact the Executive Director, Chuck Dowdall at firstname.lastname@example.org or send in the application form found on this page.
Commitment: Attend a 3/4-hour training session provided by Community Spirit Bingo. Attend at least three bingos (two hours per bingo) per year with another KL&S bingo volunteer.
You will NOT be asked to handle money or to be a runner. This volunteer opportunity takes place in a smoke-free environment.
If you are dependable, punctual and enjoy people, this is your opportunity to shine! If you are interested in this volunteer opportunity, please email Donna Vinkle at email@example.com or phone (613) 547-2012.
FUNDS RAISED GO TOWARDS SUPPORTING OUR LITERACY PROGRAMS.
The Grate Groan-Up Spelling Bee is KL&S’ premier fundraiser. The Bee committee is looking for additional volunteers to help run this fun event! Volunteers plan and organize the event, and help find sponsors and teams. The committee is also looking for anyone interested in taking meeting minutes. If you enjoy people and want to have some fun, this is the opportunity for you! The time commitment is about two hours per month.
FUNDS RAISED GO TOWARDS SUPPORTING OUR LITERACY PROGRAMS.
Are you interested in tutoring adults? Most of the one-to-one tutoring at KL&S is delivered by volunteer tutors.
Are you patient, flexible and open-minded?
Do you have strong reading and writing skills?
Can you commit to volunteering three hours a week for the next eight months, or more?
Training is generally offered twice a year, once in the fall (October) and once in the winter (January). If you are interested in becoming a volunteer tutor, please call in September or December to set-up an interview. Note: Next training Winter 2017.
Before registering for training, you will have an interview with our tutor coordinator. Training comprises eight sessions. Four sessions are delivered in group meetings at KL&S; four sessions are delivered to you online.
After successfully completing the training, you will be matched with one of our students. The student will already have met with a staff member and together they will have outlined learning goals and a basic plan of action.
Tutors and students meet once a week for a two-hour session on-site at KL&S.
If you are interested in becoming a Volunteer Tutor, please contact Stacy or Laurie for more information, and to arrange for an interview.
In Kingston: Stacy Watson, email or call (613)547-2012
In Napanee: Laurie DesLauriers, email or call (613)354-0226
Executive Director – Ex-Officio
C.M. (Chuck) Dowdall
Shar Taw Moo
If you would like information on becoming a Board member, please fill out the form and drop it off to our office :