The Further Education Society of Alberta

Strengthening communities, families, and individuals through literacy and learning.

FESA helps to improve a daughter's reading skills...Our Story Why We Exist

The success of our learners is why we do what we do. Here is one example:

“I was concerned about my daughter when I realized that, at 9 years old, she was having serious trouble reading. It was when I was visiting a family resource centre that I noticed FESA’s Literacy and Parenting Skills (LAPS) program. I decided to attend in hopes of helping my daughter. I began learning more about how to help with her literacy challenges, and after several weeks I was feeling more confident with my own literacy and parenting skills. While taking this program I discovered that I enjoyed, and had a talent for helping other parents.

By the next year my daughter’s reading skills were greatly improved and I had become a leader in the group. Because of my progress and my ability to help others, I was asked to become an assistant to the facilitator. FESA provided me the training I needed, and soon I was able to lead and facilitate my own programs.

Fast-forward to today: My daughter is about to successfully complete high school, and now has also begun working as an assistant. I have been a much valued member of the FESA team where I have assisted numerous learners each year as a FESA facilitator”.

–Past Learner and FESA Facilitator 

Improving learner's confidence and skills in literacyOur Impact What We Do

The Further Education Society of Alberta (FESA) is a registered charitable organization, and was incorporated as a not-for-profit in 1996. We focus on learners with the lowest levels of literacy and education and envision Canada as a literate and learning society that allows everyone to reach their full potential.

In cooperation with grassroots community agencies, we respond to the learning needs of high-risk groups through various projects and programs; all focused on improving learner’s confidence and skills in literacy and learning. Challenges that these learners face include:  poverty, abuse, low-literacy, single-parenting, recent immigration, lack of support systems, unemployment, learning disabilities, addictions, unfamiliarity with community resources and/or formalized systems.

MISSION | To strengthen communities, families and individuals through literacy and learning.

VISION | Envision a Canada where every man, woman and child reaches their potential, where every parent gets the help he or she needs, where there are no barriers to learning. This is the Canada we are working to build. We truly believe that education is the great equalizer and that the desire to learn is a powerfully motivating force. If we, as community members, can support someone's desire to learn we are giving that person the opportunity to change his or her life.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS | In 2000, FESA was awarded the Canada Post Literacy Award - Community Leadership in Literacy for our Literacy and Parenting Skills (LAPS) training program. In 2013, we were the recipients of the nationally recognized Council of the Federation Literacy Award for our achievements in literacy and learning.

Providing literacy to level 1 and 2 learnersOur Programs How We Do It

FESA’s emphasis is on providing literacy and essential skills education to level 1 and 2 learners. We do this through a vast portfolio of programs and projects, concentrating on four core areas: Research and Curricula Development, Train the Facilitator Program, Community Outreach and Development, and Program Delivery.

Calgary Community Family Literacy Program (CCFLP) In Calgary, programs are delivered through the Community Family Literacy Program (CCFLP), which models best practices and effective partnerships for agencies who are trying to establish LAPS programs in their communities.  Each year, FESA runs 70+ programs in partnership with over 35 community agencies, and serves over 700 learners in the Calgary area. Our facilitators deliver welcoming educational programs at locations where learners live or access services.  All programs are free of charge and we are always looking to build our work with new partners and various community organizations to provide unique offerings for learners.

Train the Facilitator  As part of the Train the Facilitator program, FESA has developed highly innovative curricula and works to train other organizations in our successful approaches to working with low-literate learners. Facilitators work all across Canada so that FESA's reach is truly nationwide. These training programs help us to fulfill our goal of spreading awareness about the value of family literacy in Canada and building community literacy resources.

FESA offers several models of facilitator training for individuals working in a wide range of community and/or workplace settings. Our training modules are adaptable to the specific needs of potential facilitators who are working with New Canadians, Aboriginal communities, single fathers/mothers, francophone communities, and diverse workplaces.

Special Projects  FESA is always involved in numerous special projects. These projects explore various areas of literacy, parenting, and essential skills and help us expand our reach and ability to serve low-literate learners.

Current projects include:

  1. Financial Literacy
  2. Taking Shelter with Literacy
  3. Workplace Learning Circles & Aboriginal Workplace Learning Circles
  4. Aboriginal Adult Learning

Family Literacy Day: you can help by reading with family or friendsOur Requests What You Can Do

Further Education Society is always looking for support from passionate and dedicated community members.

Here are some ways in which you can become involved with FESA:

1) Donate!  We run our programs on the generosity of community members and funders and are always grateful for donations of any kind. Some ideas for donation include:

  • Monetary
  • Programming supplies - e.g. notebooks, stationary, craft supplies, book bags, etc.
  • Children’s books and resources
  • Office equipment and furniture

2) Volunteer!  FESA welcomes the help of volunteers to assist with many aspects of running our organization. Link to volunteer with FESA.

  • Office volunteers who can assist with programming needs, office administration, library maintenance, event planning, and other functions necessary to run our programs.
  • Tech/Marketing volunteers who can help us expand our marketing/social media presence or develop our website.
  • Event volunteers who can help us prepare for and run fundraising and other special events. 
  • Specialized volunteers who can take on a special project such as curriculum development, research, or business development.  
  • Program volunteers to assist facilitators with learners.

3) Partner with us to offer programs or Train the Facilitator workshops!  We offer programming in partnership with other social service agencies. If you have learners who can benefit from our programming, please contact us to set up a program.

FESA has trained over 2500 community agency staff members to facilitate our programs. Train the Facilitator workshops can be arranged nationally and customized for your organization and staff. To arrange a training please contact us. 


Elaine Cairns
Executive Director
Charitable Number: 870445392RR0001

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