Kingston Literacy & Skills improves accessibility with OTF grant

KL&S Executive Director, Christianne Wojcik, stands in front of the new chairlift at 16 Bath Road on July 5, 2024. Photo via KL&S.

Kingston Literacy & Skills (KL&S) has improved accessibility at its Bath Road location thanks to a Capital grant from the provincial government’s Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF).

On Friday, Jul. 5, 2024, Ted Hsu, MPP for Kingston and the Islands, met with the team at KL&S to hear more about the grant. According to a release from the organization, its Bath Road location has programming spaces used by various local social services agencies that support vulnerable and marginalized individuals.

“With the Ontario Trillium Foundation funding, Kingston Literacy and Skills will be able to enhance their services to the community,” said Hsu. “Through the installation of a chair lift, KL&S continue to affirm their longstanding commitment to making literacy skills accessible.”

According to the release, KL&S has a newly renovated Kingston Centre location, following damage from a fire in December 2020, but their suite in the Financial Services Centre West building had never been upgraded to provide accessibility to the upper floor. KL&S reportedly engaged with The Springer Group of Companies and Upper Canada Elevator to design and install a commercial-grade chair lift matching the unusual layout of the central staircase at 16 Bath Road.

The new lift was installed in June, KL&S shared. To showcase the variety of use of the newly accessible upper floor, KL&S hosted an OTF Grant Recognition Reception on July 5, featuring the art exhibition “IN BETWiN” by newcomer artist Sergio Jaua. More than 500 newcomers and Ontario adult learners access KL&S services annually. KL&S also functions as a social services hub by providing as-needed operating space for ACFOMI, KEYS, ISKA, KFLA Public Health, Independent Living, KCHC, City of Kingston-Ontario Works, and other community partners, according to the organization.  

“This investment by Ontario Trillium Foundation greatly improves our ability to offer creative and innovative programming to those in our community with accessibility challenges,” said Christianne Wojcik, KL&S Executive Director. “This impacts more than just KL&S and our learners—this is positive change for every community partner agency that shares our space at 16 Bath Road and for the clients that they serve.”

Founded in 1977, Kingston Literacy & Skills works to change lives through literacy and language. It offers Literacy and Basic Skills (LBS) programming to Ontario adults seeking essential skills upgrading and Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) for protected newcomers working to learn English, according to the release. KL&S operates sites in Kingston and Napanee and is an Employment Ontario project funded in part by the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario. Visit www.klsread.ca to learn more or contact KL&S at [email protected].

“Whether it’s helping people learn new things, connect with their community, or simply have fun, organizations like Kingston Literacy & Skills deliver experiences that make a difference,” said Stan Cho, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Gaming. “That’s why grant support through the Ontario Trillium Foundation is so important. This funding will help ensure they remain at the heart of the community for decades to come.”

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is an agency of the Ontario government with a mission to build healthy and vibrant communities across the province. Last year, OTF reportedly invested more than $110M into 1,044 community projects and multi-sector partnerships. Projects aim to enhance economic well-being, foster more active lifestyles, support child and youth development, provide spaces for people to come together and connect, and create a more sustainable environment, according to the release. Visit otf.ca to learn more.

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