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Reading and Understanding

Rising above for learning and livelihood

Waterloo – When Patroy Tomlin arrived in Canada, he looked forward to the opportunities this country would offer. He planned to work hard and make a life for his family. Two decades after leaving Jamaica, he is still striving to make ends meet. Without a formal education, he works demanding, irregular hours at multiple jobs. Family commitments and health concerns, let alone sleep, are barely manageable.

But despite all of this, Tomlin perseveres. Today, he is one of four recipients of the Yvonne Heninger Memorial Award for rising above barriers to succeed in learning.

“It feels so good to be able to read and understand what you are reading,” said Tomlin.

Tomlin will spend his cash award on work boots, safety glasses, school supplies and a “really good” dictionary.

“He reads everything he can get his hands on and encourages other learners to do the same,” said Carol Manica, the tutor who nominated Tomlin.

Tomlin receives his Award with fellow recipients Darlene Canning, Rebecca Ryan, and Ruby Llagas at Project READ’s annual general meeting on Thursday, November 5, 2015. The Award memorializes Yvonne Heninger, a teacher and lifelong learner whose challenges made her a compassionate champion for continuing education.

Fellow not-for-profit, IABC Waterloo, makes this year’s Yvonne Heninger prize possible

As a not-for-profit organization, Project READ relies on government funding and donations. But over the past few years, resources have dwindled.

“Every day, we see people trying to overcome poverty and great odds to improve their education and their livelihood, and the demand keeps growing,” said Jane Tuer, Project READ’s Executive Director.

When the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Waterloo heard the Yvonne Heninger Award was in jeopardy, they stepped up to offer their support.

“At IABC Waterloo, we advocate for literacy and lifelong learning. We didn’t want deserving people to lose this special recognition,” said Sarah Loat, Co-President at IABC Waterloo.

Tuer was thrilled to receive IABC Waterloo’s support.

“It’s incredible that another not-for-profit in our community made this possible,“ said Tuer. “Our prizes are just a couple of hundred dollars each, but for some people, they are life changing.”

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