The Greater Victoria Alliance for Literacy (GVAL) aims to build capacity to support literacy agencies to engage and refer people with literacy challenges in Greater Victoria, as well as assist these agencies to develop and sustain their commitment to literacy learning and professional development.
GVAL also wants to specifically support the agencies that provide services for indigenous learners and newcomers and deliver high-level professional development opportunities for literacy tutors in local literacy organizations.
A Storied History
The alliance was born out of a Challenge Dialogue session created to explore the collaboration and coalition opportunities for literacy providers in the Greater Victoria area. Back in 2014, there was interest to bring all the sectors together to explore the needs of literacy in the Greater Victoria area, resulting in 33 organizations being invited to an initial exploratory workshop in late 2015.
The organizations ranged from direct literacy providers to mental health agencies, libraries and newcomer agencies. This workshop resulted in a broad set of goals and, most importantly, the interest and passion to explore further possibilities. From this initial workshop, a design team was formed to take the results of this Challenge Dialogue workshop to work towards creating a Strategy Roadmap.
The design team was represented by many of the same participants from the initial workshop, as well as other integral players in the literacy arena. By May 2016, the idea and concepts that were developed in this series of workshops culminated in a large community forum. The forum was both a celebration of the design team’s work, as well as an opportunity to share the findings with the community.
The team identified the ultimate goal – Everyone in our Community has the Opportunity to Achieve their Literacy Goals and identified 111 actions, 146 outcomes, 12 capacity areas and 31 impacts. GVALs work and literacy needs were clearly defined. By the summer of 2016, the Steering Committee was formed and the Greater Victoria Alliance for Literacy was created.
Since 2016, GVAL has been holding monthly meetings as a way for increased connection and networking for literacy providers, as well as supporting local literacy objectives and professional development. GVAL was able to hire part-time staff since 2017 and continues to evolve and support all literacy providers in the Southern Vancouver Island area.