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1 ARCHIVED - Archiving Content ARCHIVÉE - Contenu archivé Archived Content Contenu archivé Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available. L information dont il est indiqué qu elle est archivée est fournie à des fins de référence, de recherche ou de tenue de documents. Elle n est pas assujettie aux normes Web du gouvernement du Canada et elle n a pas été modifiée ou mise à jour depuis son archivage. Pour obtenir cette information dans un autre format, veuillez communiquer avec nous. This document is archival in nature and is intended for those who wish to consult archival documents made available from the collection of Public Safety Canada. Some of these documents are available in only one official language. Translation, to be provided by Public Safety Canada, is available upon request. Le présent document a une valeur archivistique et fait partie des documents d archives rendus disponibles par Sécurité publique Canada à ceux qui souhaitent consulter ces documents issus de sa collection. Certains de ces documents ne sont disponibles que dans une langue officielle. Sécurité publique Canada fournira une traduction sur demande.

2 INTERPRETATION POSTER PRAIRIE CONTEST 0 REGION Literacy Alphabétisation 2IC)00 Tow.rcis Reïn.tegYation - Vers la reirsertion ' PS L Centre des congrès - Ottawa - Congress Centre Ottawa Ontario Canada,t44,-.x31,,,i JstdI

3 PS INTRODUCTION _,Cee In keeping with the idea that literacy is important in the new millennium, the Correctional Services of Canada and the Federal Bureau of Prisons is sponsoring an "International Poster Interpretation Contest". The contest is based on the cover poster and the topic: In the outlook of the new millennium, what vision of literacy does the contest poster inspire in you? It is international in scope and involves Canada, United States, England, Australia, China, Africa, France and Ireland. It is open to all individuals incarcerated in both federal and provincial facilities including juvenile detention centers. The contest is divided into four categories covering educational equivalencies from grades one to post secondary. The winners will be announced in Ottawa, Ontario during the Literacy 2000 Conference at the end of April This book is being published to share these entries with contestants across the Prairies Region. We wish to thank the offenders who have taken the time to submit their entries for the Literacy 2000 Contest. The sharing of your personal views for others to read is greatly appreciated and has contributed to make this event an international success. Linda George Prairies Regional Coordinator ACKNOWLEDGMENTS PRAIRIE REGION JUDGES: Mona de Jong Linda George Myrna Carruthers Kristin Sather Richard West - Drumheller Institution - Drumheller Institution - Drumheller Institution - Drumheller Institution - Bowden Institution DRUMHELLER VOCATIONAL OFFSET PRINTING Production Supervisor Layout & Design Pressman Bindary Gary Grimsdale Harold Dubarry Oskar Chan Darren Makonin Mike Lewandowski Oskar Chan Darren Makonin Chris Godlewski Harold Dubarry ; reel teieley 1, SEP mum - Gegin oeugere, And the many others who were involved in the process of writing, editing and publishing of these literary works, in particular, Emery Matt, who helped with so much of the process. All entries in this book are the property of the individual authors and any further distribution or reproduction of its contents require the permission of the individual author or artist.





8 EDUCATION IS LIKE WINNING A LOTTERY In today's world education is like winning a lottery. Here I sit in Stony Mountain Penitentiary's education room trying to make myself become a better person and to show my children that education is important. When I'm finished at Stoney I could come out into the bright world knowing that I can start to look for employment and make some money instead of looking where my next dollar will come from. I would also feel good about myself and so would others for me. I've always had this dream that I would be a better person and it would be like winning a lottery like Lotto Six Forty-Nine. The big education book in this poster with a front and back door means to educate yourself so you can be a responsible person. This means I can be a better helper in teaching my kids to follow my way of going to school by educating themselves and then I can watch them grow up in a good environment. We should educate ourselves and show that learning new things in this world is important and that wold also teach children on how to become responsible as they're growing up. Parents can then show their children that education is the only way of getting anywhere in this world. Finally, the impression that I got when I saw this picture of the male coming out the front door very happy was that he was as happy as if he had won a lottery. However, since everybody can't rely on winning a lottery tȯ get somewhere it's important to realize that education can open new doors to us (and our children) and new opportunities (chances]. This poster made me think about life in general and I'd like to thank its author for the ideas that helped me write this story and the change it has made in my life. I hope this will really make some difference towards the years to come in my new life. Mike Cannizzaro 1

9 REACHING FOR GOLD The picture tells me that the man went back to school to get a better life for himself and find a good job. When he finishes school he expects it to be easier to get a job and be paid better to raise his family. he will be able to travel and find a better job, but if he has a low paying job he will spend more time working than spending more time with his family, which isn't good for his wife and kid. They want to see him but he couldn't afford to take some time off and he would love to be a good dad. Now I think while I sit in jail why more people don't have good jobs. It is very hard to find a good job outside, all the good jobs have been taken by some people. People who drop out of school have to do heavy labor, and when people apply for a job they always ask what grade do you have? They want Grade 10 or up, and if you won't job train they don't take you unless you have Grade 12. Before it was easy when we were on welfare to pay food and rent. Now we have some help to go to school on welfare. They tell people looking for a job to go to school to upgrade. Bounlap Rahanak 2

10 THE MILLENNIUM As I crossed over from the dark ages of old dark halls the pages slowly began to turn. I felt a heavy load of poverty, violence, and abuse as a quiet rage evoked my turbulent past. A memory of a child, filthy, with torn clothing, playing beside a dirt road. An old tire, and two sticks, perhaps the only toys which alcoholic parents could afford, were all my prized toys. I was born into a world full of poverty and despair. Now I sit in a tiny little cell called rehabilitation as I am looking back and searching for happier days in my life. I have many unanswered questions. Was that the reality for all the people who stepped into the halls of justice? Was I going to be continuing to feel such pain and strife? Would I be able to change my life around? Would I ever be able to experience both light and happiness in my life? I began to search for the light, turning back the pages, and looking for hope, guidance, strength, and direction in my life. LOOKING! But I could not seem to find it anywhere. Then, there came an answer to help brighten my whole outlook in life. «As I reached the end of the halls, the final pages of the millennium slowly turned. I began to see the light in the pages as a new form of understanding began to take shape before my eyes. "LITERACY", it shouts aloud! I am beginning successful reintegration into the community. Having been made aware of my past and present mistakes I have made, I have gained a whole new understanding. I find that literacy is very fundamental in helping to enhance my current understanding of myself. Respect for my accomplishments is my key to an abundant, full and productive life. Literacy is the renaissance of my new light. Trevor Fontana 3

11 LITERACY 2000 POSTER AND WHAT IT MEANS TO ME I finally decided to go back to school at the age of 27 years. I was not sure where to start, as I had been away for so long. Itwas a very frightening day for me. I noticed that my shadow was not where it was normally supposed to be. it was in front of me, instead of behind me, reminding me constantly of my low self-esteem and my poor literacy skills. I noticed something else, as I walked to school that first day. There were no leaves on the trees and everything around me seemed very dark and dead. There were not even any lights in the school windows. Everything was very dark. It was how I felt that first day. I became very apprehensive 'about going inside, but I just knew that I had to do it. I owed it to myself to give school another try, As I began my studies in literacy, I became so surprised and impressed with just how much of this "school stuff" I had remembered. I started to get good grades, and my teacher encouraged me onward. This was beginning to feel good, real good! At first I moved slowly through the pages of learning, until I built up nny skills and confidence to the point where I was able to understand more and more difficult concepts. I was learning, and doing very well at it. My life was beginning to look brighter. I became more focused on my objective of getting an education. As each day progressed, more and more light surrounded me until I no longer had a shadow in front of me. It was now behind me, where it belonged! There were so many things about life and learning that I still wanted and needed t learn. I realized that school was a very good place to start. I went to the place that scared me so much, and now I was becoming a successful student! I could learn, and I did learn! I began to feel proud of myself. My days began to appear sunny, and stay sunny all day. I was growing and learning at the same time. I learned to overcome my fear of school and learning. I began to leave all my past, negative, school experiences where they should be, and that is, in the past. Learning became a little easier each day, and I began to concentrate for longer and longer periods of time. I was at that time in my life when I needed to make some good decisions on where my life was gong and what I was going to o with it. School has given me back my confidence and direction. I continue to work very hard to achieve my ABE 1 goal in Language and Math. I know I can do it now! I have given myself a fresh new start and lease on life 4

12 The world around me has changed a lot. It is a lot brighter. There are now green leaves growing on the trees ad the grass is green. The birds are souring with ease, as they cross the skies. There is life and joy in living, and now I am an important part of it. School has new meaning and purpose in my life. I now realize that learning is life-long, and one that brings new challenges and experiences to my life. These challenges and experiences will help me to grow and to be the kind of person I want to be. No more shadows in front of my path. Each day is filled with the wonder of life and brings with it new opportunities for me to grow and live and learn. Troy Dancey 5

13 LJNTITLED I began to relearn at the age of 72. Like the old building, I had given up hope. I felt like the bare trees and the brown grass; that time had taken its toll on my life. The old building reminds me of myself, feeling old and worn down, having little time or attention spent on it. I had given up on myself because others told me I couldn't do because I was too old (you can't teach an old dog new tricks). Once I started school I began to feel good about myself. Like an open book I started removing the "can'ts" with the "I will try". I began to see that it wasn't that hard if I tried. By opening up to help, I found new things now available to me. I met new friends, new teachers, and tried new things that I thought were unavailable before. I feel really good about myself because I tried something new and I'm very proud of my accomplishments. I didn't start life out well. Like the bright building, my life now has a new outlook. I can now read and write for the first time in my life. I now have the skills and a much better feeling of myself. As with the beautiful kept grass and well maintained side-walk, I am a better person for taking the time to learn about writing, reading, and mathematics. I'm really grateful I god a second chance to learn for myself, because there is a whole new world out there for me. Leonide Delorme 6

14 LIFE ON THE BRIGHTER SIDE Before I came to school, I felt ashamed of myself for not completing school. I felt that maybe I was too dumb to finish school. Until I started to come back to school and realized that I was not so dumb after all. I'm like the man in the poster. He, to, did not have a good education. It's like living in the dark. The dark side is the beginning of the book. It is like life without knowledge. If you don't know hovv to read or write, everyday is like a challenge. I had a job, but is was too difficult. I did not like my job because I wasn't learning anything from it, but I had to do something to support my family. I didn't have the knowledge of how to be a parent, or a good spouse. I didn't know how to budget. I had trouble finding the ways to solve my problems. I was like the trees without leaves - the knowledge. I think learning is so important today. Everybody needs a good education. Life is so difficult without it. For me, I think by learning new things, I can succeed in life Without crime. I know that there are more opportunities for jobs that require a good education. And when I get older, I can teach my children. If I can set my mind to something, I can do it! Lean Vermette 7

15 LITERACY VVhat is literacy of the millennium? Literacy, to me, is learning to read and write. Reading the newspaper, writing letters, working on the computer, and following a recipe, all very important today. VVhat will happen if I don't have good literacy skills? I wont' be able to get a job. If I can't read or write, I won't know anything. I wouldn't be able to understand signs, labels, or be able to sign papers. I need to be able to read and write to fill out applications. I need good literacy skills to learn new skills, be able to the everyday things in life, and be able to have the fun things in life. VVithout good literacy skills, a person feels stupid, confused, frustrated, and angry. VVhat will happen if I have good literacy skills? I will be able to have a good job. I will have more knowledge and understanding and be able to do things better. I will feel good about myself, walk taller, and people will respect me. My children will be happy and proud of me, and I will be happy for myself. I will be proud of myself! Ronald Flett 8

16 UNTITLED My observation on this picture is similar to my outlook of myself. I felt like I was going backwards. I felt depressed, down in the dumps. I didn't know what to do with myself. I was very unhappy with the way my life was going. So I was told that I should go back to school and get some upgrading. The building was similar to my outlook of myself. The building looked dark and dirty as I was going there. The grass was dry, lacked water, and was turning brown. It was not kept up. The trees were bare, dry, and lifeless. The sky was gray, gloomy, and the bird flying look like he was dreary and alone. When I got through the door the teacher asked me what would you like. I did not know what to say. The teachers were pleasant and willing to try to find out what I wanted. I told them what I was thinking about, that I would like to get my grades up. I would start in about grade four, then I would like to get a grade ten so I can get my license to fly airplanes. I worked hard at my school work and got my grades. I hoped that somehow that I would be able to find out how to get my license. As with the open book, I made the choices that were best for me. By the time I got my education I felt a lot better about myself. My new confidence has changed similar to my view of the building. I have motivated myself to go after my goals. The building looks well kept and clean looking. The grounds are well kept and clean looking. The grass is vividly green, and the trees are full and alive. The small bushes along the sidewalk looks well kept. The sky is bright blue. The sun is shining bright. The birds are flying around, looking alive and cheerful. Getting my education made me feel more alive. I will continue to learn while I'm here and I will find a way to continue school when I get out of here. William Clara 9

17 UNTITLED My way of looking at the dark side of the building is like looking at the past, very dark and gloomy, it reminds me of myself being very unhappy with the way my life was going nowhere, I was taken out of school when I was 16 years old. The reason I was taken out of school was I had an older brother who was born normal but then lost one eye. My mother and father had to take him to Rochester, New York for a brain operation. When they came back home the doctor said he would live till he would be eighteen years old. He died on his eighteenth birthday. That's why my mom and dad took me out of school to help them out with financing, the dark side is similar to me going to school, it reminds me of the grades I didn't get and the things I didn't learn. I was working at many jobs to raise my family. I had lots of obligation, I felt my family was more important at that time ten my education was. Now I have opened my eyes and tried new things in my life. My self esteem has increased, I feel really good that I took the chance to learn something new after all these years. Like the open book I have opened myself up to new experiences and new opportunities. These experiences will help me to fulfill a better life for me and my family. I am learning reading, spelling, writing, math, Breaking barriers, and computers. The bright side of the building remind me about the way I feel about myself. I am much more happy that I went to school, I look forward to going to school where I can learn something new everyday. The teachers are wonderful and helpful to all the students. When I depart form here and return home I will know a lot more information than I had before. Thanks to all the teachers and staff at Rockwood Institute. That's my life story about the comparison with the poster about literacy. Ralph Gauthier 10

18 THE JOURNEY VVhen I didn't have to think about not knowing how to read or write it did not bother me. The work I did for a living was easy and hard sometimes. It made me feel good, I was proud of my work. Building fences in the hot sun, whistling away. VVhen you start out digging a hole, you don't know what is down there. At first the digging is easy. Then it gets hard, as rocks block the way. At this point you must not give up. There are tools to make it easier, to get the job done. All my life I put the fact that I could not read or write in a fence post hole. I buried it, I covered it up. I tried to hide it so I didn't have to look at it and so no one else would know. At times it was really hard to keep people away from the hole. I kept busy trying to hide it. Then one day I turned and looked around me, I saw rocks and dirt. Like the poster, nothing is growing, just rocks, dirt and brown ground. I lived in a dark world. My shadow in front of me, I see it at every turn. My steps are heavy, as I know now I have to learn how to read. Its time to leave my shadow behind. I approached a door, went through it and my shadow didn't follow. The door closed behind me, my shadow was gone. Its time to pick up new tools and dig up the hole that I tried to hide all my life. I still had to find the courage to tell someone that I couldn't read or write. I was scared, nervous and angry. I thought people would laugh at me. My teacher said not to think about them, I was here for myself. There were people beside me helping me and showing how to use these new tools. It was still hard. I didn't want to'give up. I had to try a few times to get it right. It felt like rocks were blocking my way. I was told at this point I must not give up. The words on the page looked big, just like the mountains in the poster. I didn't think I would be able to climb them. As I started to piece letters and sounds together it felt like valleys, going down and up. When I reached the top of the mountain I felt good! I read my first words! The man in the poster was me. My shoulders were not hanging down anymore. I felt like I could run and face my world. no more digging holes and hiding! Everything is bright and alive. No more mountains to climb. Myron Applegarth 11

19 LITERACY 2000 In my own experience, I have found out that a person can feel very uncomfortable going to school. Also, having to get someone to read everything for you, is not a great experience to have. As a result, I was very scared to say that I could not read or write. As I glance at the poster, I see myself and see me pushing myself to go to school and become literate. I know that it takes a lot of hard work and patience to become something and make a step. I also know that you have to want to do it or you never will. I see this as a direct comparison to the poste because I felt like the guy in the poster. I saw each rock that made the path towards literacy, as a stepping stone. I saw it as a step up and a step in the right direction. It was hard to go near the book because of the fear I felt when I had to go in. I knew that I would need help and guidance to get me on the right track. This made me aware of the bird flying above, it helped me to make a step into the book of learning. Now that I entered the learning book of literacy, I knew I had to get serious about it. I knew I would not make it without help. Many times I felt that I could not do it because of my age, but each time I looked at the poster, it inspired me to keep going. I moved through the book of literacy and each day I went through, I felt accomplishment, as if I was turning a page in a book, I was supported by my teachers and encouraged to keep going. I was actually learning to read and write, what a feeling I wanted to keep going because with each passing day I felt happier. I knew that I was learning all the time. My own conscience kept telling me that I had to keep going because the feeling was fabulous. With the support of those around me I knew that I was very close to the end of the book and the steps inside were getting easier to take. Literacy has been excellent for me and my life. I do not need to ask anyone to help me to read and write. I completely feel like the guy in the poster, with blue skies and green trees, I feel like the sun was in front of me, I have a different vision of literacy than I did before I started to learn. I am fully inspired to keep going and learn more. The poster is fully an experience to what I felt when I started to learn to read and write and is something I will carry with me for the rest of my life, its truly an inspiration. Kelvin Ricard 12

20 EDUCATION IS FREEDOM \Nhat this poster conveys to me is freedom. VVithout education, we vvould still be in the trees like apes. It has given us language, which is one of the greatest steps in our evolution. People are able to communicate, to convey, to share, and to express love. It has taken countries out of bondage, freed the slaves, taken the women from being subservient and into the role of explorer, teacher, doctor, and astronaut. It has given us great teachers like Jesus, Lincoln, Churchill, Socrates, and Martin Luther King. Education has literally moved mountains and cured diseases, and I believe one day it will take the ignorance out of racism. It has given us a treasure trove of books on poetry, music, religion, science, mathematics, and books of fiction. This poster tells me that, without education, man's mind would burn out and fade away. \Ne have to fight for: words, freedom, country, and fame. We die for words: Liberty, Glory, Honor. We live for words: Love, Truth, God. They give us the priceless gift of articulacy on our minds' hearts from the first maybe being "Mama" or "Dada". They will be with us for infinity. As you can see, it conveys many things. But I truly believe the greatest teachers that a child can have are his or her parents. Literacy starts from birth at home. We have just scratched the surface of what the mind is capable of achieving, and I believe literacy is the one defining factor that will save our civilization and our world. This poster gives me hope in mankind. The left side shows me where mankind can be headed down the road to a dark end future where there is no hope. The right side conveys to me that there is hope for mankind. Education is like the mythical bird, the Phoenix, from out of the ashes and fire comes a fresh new beginning. Education gives us hope - hope for a better future for our children, our grandchildren, and our civilization as a whole. To move forward into the new millennium, education will give us this chance. It is an opportunity to free the world of the ignorance of mankind Pedro Tavares 13


22 UNTITLED One day a few years ago I cam across this elderly man from Saskatchewan. We sat and we talked for the longest time. And every moment we spent sharing, not only was there a sense of regret but a sense of hope. \A/hen I started to feel at ease I shared some of the obstacles I faced when I decided to go back to school not just one attempt, but two. When I spoke to him abut some of the obstacles during my ten years or so of attempting to go back, I was starting to see the disappointment in his face. VVhen I spoke of "giving up" he sat there listening - listening some more, listening to some of the childish acts of my days. Silence vvas briefly adopted. When he finally spoke up, I eagerly sat back waiting for what was about to be expressed by him. His facial expression was telling me in some way, "Your Poor Child." Do not be hard on yourself. Well, first he started to smile, then smile more as he put his hand on my shoulder. He reached out his arm and pointed out at the clear blue sky and said, "Son you are very intelligent and if you want to get anywhere in this life, you have to have an education. You can't get the job you've been dreaming about by jumping from job to job, and remember child today you're a man. When a person decides he wants to get a better education he mustreturn with the desire and commitment to go back to school." Although it may seem like a step beyond reach, taking this step may have a long-lasting reward. VVhen I decided to register for school I had a lot of insecure feelings about returning to school. It wasn't until much later, after I had spoken with the elder that I had to make that choice. it was very clear to me that working in different jobs was something I had not intended t da I grew up wanting to become a surveyor for oil and gas companies across North America but when I decided I no longer needed education to succeed or get where I wanted to go. It's been a little over fourteen years since I've been out of school, being young and all I thought I could still be a surveyor and find what I needed to become a surveyor working for different companies, and through my employment history I don't think I've come across any relation between surveyor and oil companies. VVhen I came across a friend from up north, it made me feel a little better because I struggled through school and I am sure he also struggled, but the difference was that he became what he wanted to become - a surveyor. And here I am, nearly thirty, and still jumping from job to job. sure I was happy for him when he told me of his obstaclesduring school. The thing that kept him going was the family and community support he had. It didn't come easy but staying and being committed to your education will help you make your dream come true. So, after I had committed to staying in school, I knew if I could manage that going back to school would have a lot of rewards that could be beneficial for me when I complete my education. Then I know that my dreams and accomplishments will not longer be wishes, but accomplishments. And if I have obstacles during my education, I know that I have alternatives to situation that arise on the pathway to a better and rewarding education. 14

23 Although I had a pretty gloomy outlook on my education, I knew that before I decided to go back to school that things did not look so bright. So, today I know there is an opportunity for me to take advantage of what is being offered to me. When I complete my education I know I have better options and opportunity to get where I want to go in life and fulfill my dreams. It is only then that I know I've taken steps to become a successful Aboriginal. Melvin Redcalf 15

24 THE BOOKS ARE ALWAYS OPEN Although I know how to read and write basics words, there was something missing in my life. I sued to try to read books. I was able to do this because if there was a word I didn't know I'd skip it and continue on. There wasn't many books that I read right to the end because the story didn't make sense to me. I can honestly say the only book I did read to the end was a comic book. Getting o job wasn't a problem as long as I could talk to the employer face to face. Writing a job application always got me into trouble because I couldn't explain myself to the fullest. VVhen I grabbed a piece of paper and had a pen in front of me, everything went blank. Sometimes I didn't get the job. Then, one day while walking around, I looked up into the sky and saw the "Eagle". I watched it not knowing where it was leading me. I followed it in the direction it was flying. It started making circles and more circles. Then my eyesight cleared, I could see a big building in front of me with a sign saying "Everyone welcome." Without hesitating I entered the building. Inside I met a lady who seemed happy to see me. Without asking me what I was doing there, she invited me to one of the classes she was teaching. I thought that I had nothing to lose and besides I didn't want to hurt her feelings. I attended one of her adult literacy classes. I figured I'd sit until she was finished, then I'd leave and never come back. As she was going around the classroom giving us spelling and math, I remembered doing this a long time ago when I was a teenager. I figured I'd give it a shot, doing what I could. I handed in my work. After correcting my work she gave it back to me. I was amazed at how much I'd forgotten and even more at how much I really didn't know. I asked her if I could attend regularly. VVith a great big smile she said that she would be very happy if I'd come. I started right then and there. Over the time I must have quit a thousand times. I was trying to talk myself into believing I didn't belong there, but deep down I knew I needed it. I started reading books and spelling words again. I also kept reminding myself not to cheat like I did when I was going to school. I knew cheating wouldn't get me anywhere and that I had to study to know my work. Today I enjoy the books I read. At first it took me a long time to finish, but I did. I had a better understanding because the words I used to skip, I was able to read. Today I read many books and enjoy them very much. I know how the story starts and ends. I am also doing well in math. It is taking more time, but I'm doing it and enjoying it. There are still times when I drop my book in frustration. However, I have a very patient teacher who is willing to take the time to teach me. Knowing this I try a little harder and take time to figure out the problems. Now I am enjoying school and learning many things. I know that when I leave I'll have a better understanding of things I read and sign. I will be wiser when it comes to shopping, buying clothes and paying bills. 16

25 When I walked out of school today, I looked up into the sky. The "Eagle" doesn't fly alone anymore. He has many friends and is flying proudly, as I do now. I would like to thank the teacher and my classmates for all the learning time. I'd also like to add that you're never too old to learn. So, If you're walking around in a circle, look up into the sky. You would be surprised what might be up there. Gerald Ferland 17

26 LITERACY 2000 Literacy is an interesting topic in regard to the human's vial role on the great planet Earth. People have been known for their initiative nature to learn everything they can in order to improve their quality of life. Many people in society today are literate but there are also quite a number o people who are not. These ones who are not able to read and write are very unfortunate because the every day chores and functioning that most of us take for granted become very plaguing to these individuals. Each day is a rigorous battle of finding alternative vvays of dealing vvith reading and writing. Many of the people become very defensive about this problem. To try to maintain a comfortable quality of life, meaning that they are so used to the way they are that it our weighs the initiative to learn the skills to overcome the very thing that disrupts their lives so. Encouragement and empathy are tvvo very important ways of c.ombating this deeply ingrained deficiency. Starting at a young age this learning disorder manifests itself through many different areas. The unfortunate ones vvho end up with a life of poor self-esteem, the feeling of inadequacy, and alienation from other people and society. There are a number of factors involved in the onset of the various symptoms that can be identified. If families paid closer attention to their children at young ages and practiced preventative measures it vvould give a better chance to those with a high likelihood of becoming illiterate. As society moves along, we proclaim that the most important thing is our children. If that vvere true the problems facing us today vvould be far less. The hanging mobile might best explain this. One thing moves it most certainly affect all others. Illiteracy is only a symptom of other more damaging characteristics such as; drug addiction, low self-esteem, poor choice making hate, apathy, racism, etc. The variables concerned are most important to combating the problem. I believe that the things that we need to look at are examining and studying individual families from diverse backgrounds for a substantial amount of time. I can deduct that some of the information would indicate a lack of intervention on the parent's behalf in regard to people's communication, moral issues, priorities, guidance, and encouragement. The consequences of being illiterate is an indicator of what is going on which gets handed dovvn generation by generation causing a domino effect. A person who finds him or her unable to progress in life will find out the obvious. The person who doesn't have much room for improvement will not maintain but actually regress in many different vvays. These ways of growing backwards extend far into our lives, more then vve think. Unity and compassion vvith a lot of hard work can help us overcome. Crime, drug abuse, physical, emotional, psychological abuse, and many other previously mentioned detrimental characteristics are a direct result of the literacy deficits in our society today. 1

27 Bureaucracy is a big part of the lingering problem because we have the money and resources to overcome, but we really need to direct more time, energy, and political will to overcome the challenges of the illiteracy problem. Sheldon Aucoin 19

28 UNTITLED Literacy. Literacy is a good thing in most cases. It is something we learn in school. It all starts from when we first learn our ABC's. I can remember when I was a little kid in school learning small words like cat, hat and dog, all up to reading novels as a young adult. Literacy is what separates us from the animals. Literacy plays a large role in mainstream society. Without literacy, governments would collapse all over the vvorld, without literacy, man would be just like the apes, without literacy man vvouldn't have politics, religion or languages. Our should I say that without languages we vvouldn't have literacy. What I'm getting at is people are literate even though they can't read or vvrite. Literacy is languages on paper. So, vvhen you look at the big picture, everybody who can speak regardless of vvhatever language is literate and can understand a lot of things some people wouldn't knovv about. Look at a lot of Native Nations all over the world that can't read or write in English too well, but they do have religion, politics and lavvs written in pictographs. It's just that they don't put it on paper. Hovvever, a lot of them do record things in hieroglyphics and pass on traditions orally. And that is what mainstream society might see as literacy. As a Native man, that is vvhat I see it as. Now for the big question, In the davvn of the new millennium, what vision of literacy does the contest poste inspire within me? VVell, truthfully, it does tell me that vvhoever drew the picture may be a little judgmental. Why? Because like I said, just because a person cannot read or write doesn't mean he/she is not intelligent or literate. It just means plain and simple he/she can't read or write what some people may call literacy. And to be perfectly honest, the only reason people who can't read or write learn to, is because of the world we live in. A person who couldn't read or write would have a very difficult life in this world. For example, say ifany Native Nation couldn't do either and had to sign some sort of document legal paper or treaty, but couldn't understand exactly what the papers meant. That Native Nation would face a lot of hard times in life if they could not read or write. The poster showed the average so-called illiterate person walking in shadows or darkness if you will, into a house shaped like a book and another happier person walking out of the other side of the book shaped house into the sunshine. Is the artist trying to say that people who can't read or write are sad, illiterate or walking through life in the shadows or darkness? It sure seems like that to me. So, to answer the question, the poster confuses me and how can I be inspired by confusion? If I knew exactly what the poster meant, then I could answer the question, and address my opinions and issues. What do I think about reading and writing? Reading and writing is very useful in life, but I don't think that it's the most important thing in life. VVhy? Because reading and writing only plays a part of life. There are other things just as important in life other than reading and writing. There is a much greater Reality. cannot explain spirituality, but I do know that it doesn't come easy, and I do know that it's just as important in life as reading, writing and mathematics. 20

29 VVhat that reality is, I'm not sure. But I do believe that it is spirituality. I'm a North American Native, but do not call it Native spirituality. \A/hy? Because we're all human, have human needs and human feelings, so basically we're all the same. To me, it's just spirituality. Although we all practice our spirituality through different types of religion, most of us do believe there is one higher being that created all living things. I cannot explain spirituality, but I do know that it doesn't come easy, and I do know that it's just as important in life as reading, writing and mathematics. How do I know spirituality is just as important as reading, writing and mathematics? I look at many North American Elders today. I see how in touch with reality and themselves they are. I see how strong, compassionate, loving, sharing, understanding, honest and spiritual they are. They have lived long and hard lives. Most North American native Elders today can't read or vvrite very well or let alone speak English very well. But they've made it this far, so they have to be doing something right, they're not in jail, they're not criminals and they're certainly not wandering through life in the darkness. They have wisdom that needs to be taught to all people, including me, and like I said, a lot of them can't read or write very well or let alone speak English very well or at all. For example, when I got the idea the Native spirituality wasn't just Native spirituality but just spirituality, was from a North American Native Elder. Although I did read it from a newspaper, it was written in his own words, and they read, "I don't know all the things that I am supposed to know, I guess. I will talk abut myself first that way you will know who I am and what I do in this kind of work they call spirituality. I don't want to call it Native spirituality is Native spirituality but yet, everybody is made the same way - the mind and the spirit and the movement that we have." This man's name is "Joe Cardinal" and has only a grade six education. His words were written in a North American Native newspaper. I would like to quote some ore elders' words written in that same newspaper. I believe in their words strongly. Elder Joe Cardinal quotes the words of "this lady from Kahnawake", and they read, "An Elder is not supposed to not go and talk, talk, talk all the time in a crowd, you know? I'm supposed to be somewhere, sitting and people come and get advice. Maybe it's changing. It's a changing world. But I'm invited to places where I have to speak. So I do that...this lady from Kahnawake, she says, you know we have lost a lot of our value system. The grandparent, the grandfathers, our kinship, our relationships, we have lost the values, the family values.' We used to live on the land, live from the land. Like me I came from the trap line. I know the values, had to work, had to hoof it...nobody wants to work anymore. Now we come to a crossroad. We are all sitting there at a crossroad, not really knowing the direction to go. And she says we are 'sitting there with a lot f sickness. Sugar diabetes is epidemic. We have cancer. We have AIDS. We have arthritis. Lack of education is a sickness. Alcoholism and drugs is a sickness.' She says 'we are all sitting there, maybe waiting for someone to heal us. We're waiting, maybe, for our white brother to come and heal us. But they cannot heal us. We have to heal ourselves... 21

30 This "lady from Kahnawake" made a lot of sense to me. Why? Because as a Native man I have seen a lot of these problems amongst my people and amongst myself as well. Which I believe are the reasons many Native people are now incarcerated through out Canada. Especially the lack of education part, not for only reading, writing and mathematics, but the lack of cultural education, spirituality and their own Native languages. She also made sense to me when she said that we have to heal ourselves. Why? Because since the first white man came to this continent they have been trying to teach us their ways. But from what I can see, their way has only helped or in some ways and their are still a lot of problems among us. The government has tried to their knowledge to help us, but not much has changed. That's why I believe that our native culture and ways need to be taught more and practiced. That is for the person/persons vvho actually wants to be taught. A person can change only if he is vvilling, he cannot be healed by anyone, he has to listen and learn, and heal himself.what I'm getting at is reading and writing is good, but it is not the only way. I believe spirituality is just as important as reading and writing. Education from all points of view is what needs to be taught. People need to be more open-minded. I don't think that the person who drew the Literacy 2000 poster had a very open mind. But I do think he was writing about reading and writing being good. Reading and writing is good, but to actually say to a person what's on your mind, gets a lot more attention than reading and writing. Speech is essential to literacy, but language is even more essential. Ronnie Cardinal 22

31 LITERACY IN THE NEW MILLENNIUM HOW VVILL IT CHANGE OUR LIVES? When I first saw the poster Contest it made me think of all my fellow cons who couldn't read or write. I was inspired because I was thinking of all the advice I was going to read about when other cons would be writing. In writing on the poste contest I also thought of a way to help others by sharing my essay. Many people in the world both young and old cannot read or write. Society calls this being illiterate. Illiteracy however, can only be judged as a bad thing and does not have anything good about it. Some of the bad things that a person might find who is illiterate is unemployment, low self-esteem, poverty and selfembarrassment. Coming from a family of four children and having a sister and also a grandpa who couldn't read or write, I've learned first hand some of the problems that being illiterate brings to a persons life. I remember a time in my life when I used to think that being illiterate was a persons own fault and not realising just how serious a problem illiteracy really is. This makes me want to get more education today and in my future. Having a 25 year old sister who is a mother of three children, one of them being a ten year old, she cannot help him with his home work due to becoming a mother at age fifteen and having no stable education. Even the smallest task of writing a message from a phone call can be very difficult at times for her. I could tell from the years of knowing my sister that her being poor at reading and writing is a terrible embarrassment for her. My grandpa who took pride in being a grandparent was not shy in sharing with me that he was illiterate and he always encouraged me to get a good education. Born in 1911 my grandpa worked to help support his brothers and sisters. In growing up at a time in which it was a mans job to provide for his family, I can understand my grandpa's way of still doing good even though education was not a part of his life. In today's world things have changed enormously and although the year 2000 has now arrived, we as a world, have yet succeeded in educating people with the smaller things such as reading and writing. In 1983 statistics showed that there are 60 million people in the USA who are illiterate. Now living in the year 2000, what can society do to improve illiteracy? A suggestion I thought up is to encourage education more. A parent at home can definitely make a difference in a child's life simply by always saying just how important his or her education is. Myself, not having encouragement growing up, school for me was very boring and I soon turned to other things to fill my mind. A lot of children who struggle in school more than likely will or have experimented with drugs to find some sort of escape from school and everyday problems. School being a good thing can also be a scary place to be for some one who has fallen behind in their schoolwork and doesn't receive help right away. Nobody wants to be centered out in class for not knowing how to do the work assigned to them and this also has a big effect on why kids drop out of school. When a student is having difficulty in school how a teacher approaches the situation is what makes a difference. Finding jobs in the years to come I feel will be totally on education alone. In our prison system today I believe there are many unanswered questions relating to illiteracy such as, would our jails be so crowed? Would our suicide rate decrease? Many answers to questions like these we may never know. 23

32 Many people in the world both young and old cannot read or write. However bad illiteracy is you can always make it good. By learning to read and write you will soon find that being illiterate will no longer control you and that you can control it. Education brings out something in all of us that we need to strive on in order to live a comfortable and productive life style. No matter how many unanswered we are left with on this topic, I as a person who struggles in school encourage all to educate themselves. I guarantee you will find a whole new exciting life awaiting you. Johnny Pickett 24

33 THE DARK P - AGES There was an air of general alarm. The crows were rising and not acting in a normal manner. It was late autumn when my journey began. Having lost all hope to establish myself, due to lack of education and neglect, fastidious to my surroundings. The clouds hung low, pale gray and the trees have lost their hue. Looking ahead, I see a gloomy cursory structure, dingy brown, a library or school perhaps. Suddenly fear and dissension overpower my endeavors to visualize myself as a studious person, with memories of a turbulent childhood daunting my soul. Reluctantly I enter within the door of the millennium. Searching for light only to find myself encompassed in walls of darkness. Interminable walls, like that of a book, pages and more pages of walls. Each wall carefully inscribed with profound stories that reverberate throughout the millennium halls. Feeling despondent due to my lack the education, the enigma appears to be very intricate, making it difficult to decipher. Gingerly I begin to turn the pages, surpassing my fear. Resilient with an urgent need to understand and absorb this silent language. The thought of facing a future born in ignorance, haunted with bad memories, impelled me to follow my heart. VVith patience and courage I could learn what each page stands for and comprehend the history of literacy, a remarkable form of preservation. By estimating man's age in history, I'll be able to derive definite information, each page holding a spirit of optimism for a new beginning. At last I found the courage to reach out and the patience to learn. This much older tradition of picture stories probably goes back to the very beginning of time. Stories did not need to be written in order to be preserved. The invention, the human language recorded and passed on from one generation to the next. Perhaps the reason that these pages have survived for so long is that they educate people. They instill values that society considers to be imperative for our survival, such as right and wrong, self-reliance and providing the origin and meaning of the world. Stories coming from every part of the human experience. My mind augmented with fresh ideas exemplified my spirit of ancient writings. Literacy, a language of the intellect, my patience and courage have been rewarded. At last I have found the door luminous, bringing to the highest point the renaissance of learning, stepping through the door feeling no regret or sorrow. Expressing strong feelings for the future, serenity and literacy towards reintegration is the pill for today. Allan Smoke 25

34 LOST In order to understand what we are writing about, we must picture ourselves in that position so that we do the right things in life. Sometimes we take the wrong path that ends us up in prison for crimes that are not too easy for us to turn back the time cause it was too late to go back on it. Living in lifestyles that we must hold on that they won't fade away so that we must hold on to our culture and heritage. So we must be able to balance vvith the spirits within our circle of life. So we must welcome the millennium with what we have learned about in the pages of the school that is very dark with a crow guiding where to go as if giving you the path to walk on. You felt very down and sorry for yourself that you didn't want to be part of anything to do with anyone, but as you look around the day seem to be very cold and damp with the trees bare from the fall weather grass isn't even in its natural color. In the beginning of class you start to learn about things that you didn't even understand from writing and answering from books that are provided for you in the school. Sometimes you get yourself hooked up with computers that are provided in the classes so you can improve on yourself instead of sitting around with others doing different things. Personal feelings sometimes come into play when you express yourself in a way that others try and help in what seems to be troubling with you. Then later on when you are done school you go out wandering the halls of prison and an elder helps you out with your learning about the culture that you lost from living in the city and helps you learn how to grow within yourself and going inside a sweat so all the bad spirits that you picked up living the urban life so all the alcohol and drugs that you took. It helps people when going back to their roots so they can use it when they go back out into the outside world. As he keeps learning andreading books he sometimes writes about the things he has done with having a good personality with everyone around him from the first time he went inside he didn't feel right about where he was and couldn't realize the comparison from the outside and being locked up was almost being on an illusion trip. Feeling victory and freedom as he walks out he realizes that he has accomplished something that he was fighting through the days from getting up early in the mornings so he can sharpen his mind up for the outside walls of prison. On the other side of the page he comes out walking into a bright sunny day with all the trees and all of their leaves and the grass back to its natural color, seagulls flying around as if looking around from something to eat so they can go on with the day. For the man he has to overcome vvhat he is to do for the rest of the day so he goes back to vvhat he is set out to do is get back into going to sweats and healing himself so he can balance both vvorlds in hi mind. In becoming one with the Creator we must go through with what vve fear in life. Cornelius Francois 26

35 TIME STANDS STILL FOR NO ONE As I look into the poster, it some vvhat inspires me to a point. I see an individual not knowing where his place is in this vvorld. I vvas like this individual in every way. But with me sex and drugs kind of lead me to the point of no return, in not knowing what to do vvith myself. Since my incarceration, I've had a very long time to really think about the past, about where I vvent vvrong in life and about all things I could have done for my benefit. But as time passed on during my incarceration, things have really never seemed to be so clear to me. As I looked back, I saw myself as a very lost individual. I didn't know what I vvanted in life or how I was going to do it. VVhile I was growing up, I was diagnosed vvith Attention Deficit Disorder. I couldn't really handle school. I just seemed to lose face because of this Disorder. But I learned to cope with it until the age of 15. At 15 years old, I dropped out of school. It wasn't cause of the Disorder; it was because I vvas a punk who didn't listen to the rules of my mom and step-dad. Things went totally dovvn hill for me at home, and I could not get a hold of what I vvanted to do in life. All I really thought about was sex and drugs. That vvas my coping mechanism. I don't really know why, but sex and drugs vvas such a wonderful feeling. I tried to smarten up before, but it just wouldn't happen. I thought that if I could do what I vvas doing until I die then it would be a happy life. And I was wrong. After my 19th birthday, things went totally dovvn hill. I was drinking, smoking pot, and a friend of a friend brought over some cocaine. Now I had done cocaine before but not for 3 weeks straight. And to support the good ol' habit I went and did a few armed and unarmed robberies. I ended up getting caught in a high speed chase. Boy did I ever get a beating from the cops. Man I wasn't even the driving car, but I guess I got the beating because I tried to flee. As a good friend of mine would say, "That vvill learn ye." But I ended up getting 6 years. I guess getting a beating from the cops helped me in not getting so much time. But since I started doing real time I thought it vvas necessary to really look at vvere I was heading if I didn't smarten up. I took it upon myself to do some soul searching because I vvasreally curious about vvhat kind of heritage I have. I found out that I vvas Welsh, English, and German Dutch. I looked in every book I could find, to find out about these people and how they lived and what they represented. When I was younger at about 5 or 6 years of age I remember reading lots of books. But as I got older in my teens, reading to me vvas like a sin. I gave it up, but novv all I do is read and read. Out of all the books and stories I've read, they all had some kind of meaning to them because I felt a deep connection deep vvith in my soul. I had, for the first time, a feeling of such a desire to be of this culture in every way. I vvanted to be able to enjoy the Celtic music, to speak the Celtic tongue, and to live a life in vvhich I could truly feel happy. 27

36 But as time went on a certain religion of the ancient land came to mind. It's called Druidism. I did what I could to find out more about this religion but there is only so much you can do while you're in jail. But according to the encyclopedia its basic teachings are on the belief of the immortality of the soul, which hat death is believed to pass into the a body of a new born child. According to Julius Caesar, drawing on a biased account of the cult written by Posidonius, a stoic philosopher and historian, the Druids believed that they were descendants form a supreme being. This supreme being is Nature. And another basic teaching is to be neutral on all accounts. The ancient accounts assert that the functions of priests, religious teachers, judges, and civil administrators were performed by Druids, with supreme power being vested in an archdruid. Three classes of Druids existed: prophets, bards, and priests. I would most likely fall into the classes of a prophet and a bard and soon to become a priest. The Druids were well versed in astrology, magic, and the mysterious powers of plants and animals; they held the oak tree and the mistletoe, especially when latter on they grew on trees, in great reverence, and they customarily conducted the rituals in oak forests. Archaeologists believed that the Druids probably used as alters and temples the stone monuments known as dolmens that are found throughout the areas where Druidism flourished. Basically all over Europe and as far as Japan. Stonehenge in England antedates Druidism by at least 4,000 years old. Give or take a few centuries. The Druids led their people in resisting the Roman invasions, but their power was weakened by the rebelliousness of the Gallic warriors, who were envious of their political authority. The superior military strength of the Romans and the subsequent conversion of many followers of Druidism to Christianity led the Druidic religion to go under ground. For hovv long, nobody knows. Druidism is a feeling deep within my bones. I do someday want to travel to the ancient lands of which the Celtic peopled roamed, and I feel that they have so much to teach me for which l'nn prepared to learn. Since my system has been clean from drugs and alcohol, I've been like a book vvornn. I've been so eager to know and understand so many things that have happened in the past and what's happening now. All this reading is helping me to predict the future. One of my main concerns is a real problem called poverty, hunger, homelessness, disease, and disaster. I want to be able to help these people by working with friends and their friends. By working together we can make a huge difference. One of the main focuses would be on developing health care, basic education, women in development, water and sanitation, small enterprise development, food security, and emergency repairs. 28

37 My aim in life is to try to stop the hurt and the pain of hunger. But what can I do or say to express the pain that has drained away the last drops of joy from my heart? I have never been able to accept death the way it comes to these people in the lower classes of this world. We are all going to die someday, yes, but why in such inhumane, miserable conditions? I've always thought there was no need for the poor to die the way they do. Their struggle is so, no, it isn't fair. They should be saved. I refuse to resign myself to death in that tragic form. My goals are to make or at least try to make the world in a better, safer place for all of us. Producing more jobs, schools, health care, and a solid government is just what these people need to survive. My objective, for instance, is to build and to train a solid Democratic Government for the future and also give the people what they deserve in life, an opportunity to live a wonderful life. Why I want to help these people is part of my learning process. I want to be able to feel I have a chance to become somebody who gave it his entire life, what's left of it, to helping these people survive in the world they live in. What I don't like it is that, maybe, I'll be caught in a cross fire of war, but I my best to help these people. have to give it What I find interesting about this idea and self-made goal is that I'll be in a totally different climate each time I travel. I'll be able to meet new people, and get involved in different societies, which would help me understand these people. sure the weather would be a good change, but there is no weather like Canada's weather. Since the beginning of my sentence, off and on, I've been really thinking about the future. And basically the question that always comes to mind is,"what issues do people believe will be of major concerns of the world after the year 2000? It could be air and water pollution, over crowded cities, etc. But as I at these people's problems now, they really need help. look And again what can I say? VVhatever decisions I nnake, I can truly say the pain has drained away the last drop of joy from my heart and soul. I have never been truly able to accept death the way these people, these individuals, these humans, in the lower class of the world. It's like these people are taking it dry for no reason what-so-ever. They shouldn't. I understand the factors that we are all going to die in a reasonable way, but again why should these people die in such inhuman, miserable conditions? I can just imagine how these people struggle; it's so is not fair. They can be saved. Refuse to let these people die of such bull-shit, self hated, money sucking governments, no food, no shelter, etc. I'm going to help these people get on their feet and help them take charge of their lives. VVhat is living? To dream without sleeping. VVhat is dying? To sleep without dreaming. What is Learning? 29

38 As a quote of Winston Churchill "VVe make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." As I look at the amount of time I've done so far, it has helped me in a lot of ways. Now I know what I truly want to do with myself when I get out or in the near future. I try not to let Attention Deficit Disorder interfere, but it is tougher than doing time. Sometimes I can control it and sometimes it just doesn't happen. I have at least 25% of the symptoms that show up here and there but it will not stop me from learning. But as time stands still for no one, the months, the days, and the years will have something to offer me, one hell of a lot of knowledge. Learning will help me become wiser, and the more I help heal these individuals the more I'll learn. They will teach me and I'll teach them, I help them, they help me, and together we can try to make a difference by helping people in need and for the sake of Mother Nature. Michael Jones 30

39 IN THE OUTLOOK OF THE MILLENNIUM, WHAT VISION DOES THE CONTEST POSTER INSPIRE IN ME? I vvas asked this question and in viewing the contest poster I wish that I could say that this poster, in fact, inspires me. I wish that I could say that this poster inspires me to not only work hard to complete my GED, but to go even further, say collage or university. I wish that I could honestly say that in the poster I see that with out an education everything seems so dark and gloomy as you trudge your way down the narrowing path less traveled. I wish that without an education nothing seems to bloom or pan out for you. The longer that you wait before getting an education the narrower the path will get for you until you hit a virtual brick wall and are forced to make a decision; 1] Pick yourself up and get an education or 2] Accept that you are where you are, but still not wish to change it. The first of the two is obviously the better of the two choices, but still so many people are choosing the latter of the two. However, if you get an education, everything is up hill for you now, the path widens, and the sky brightens for you. With this scene of new enlightenment, things take on new shapes for you, and everything seems to bloom. Children who have illiterate parents are more likely to be illiterate themselves. So if not for yourself, get an education so that your children can grow up in a healthy learning environment. Literacy is not something that vve can just put off until we have come to a dead end in our lives. Literacy is a problem which we must overcome at an early age, before it is too late. The longer you wait to deal with this problem, the harder it becomes to overcome. In the times that we live in today, it is becoming more and more difficult to survive if you are illiterate. Without the ability to read or write, you will find it very difficult to find a job that pays more than minimum wage. If you do find such a job, it does not usually pay much more than minimum wage and is most likely manual labor. Without the ability to read or write, you cannot obtain a driver's license, forcing you to rely on public transportation or the good will of others to get around. Now as I said in some of the above paragraphs, 'I wish that I could say that this poster has inspired me', but I can't. The truth is that this poster has not inspired me to do anything, also I do not think that this poster could honestly inspire anyone. What we need to help the illiterate does not lie in poster contests, because if you cannot read the caption under the picture you would have no idea of what the poster is all about. VVhat we need are television and radio commercials explaining the benefits of literacy and who they can call to get more information. Robert Graham 31

40 -A TIME TO IMPROVE- 1 To me this poster represents a time of growth. It is time to step into the 21st century. And in order for us to do this, we need to be educated, not only from books but from life too. It's time to take heed of our mistakes and learn from them. We have to take this knowledge into the new millennium, so that we can survive and flourish, because if we don't learn from our mistakes, we are going to kill Mother Earth and ourselves in the process. It's time to really look to the future and really think about what we want from it. Do we want all the extravagance of technology and suffer the consequences or do we want to choose life and start giving back to Mother Earth? Because if we don't choose to start giving back to the earth and if vve keep on taking from the earth, I feel that we are going to cause so much irreversible damage, that the earth's ecosystem is going to collapse and we are going to die along with it. \Ne have to look to the poster for inspiration. VVe have to look at the big picture, instead of the little picture, (the self-centered picture) VVe have to start thinking of what's right. What kind of future do we want to give our children and grandchildren? I know personally that I want to give my successors the best future I can give them. And in order for me to do that, I have to start giving back to Mother Earth, so there will be a Mother Earth for them. Because it"s a fact that if we don't educate ourselves soon and change, there will be a series of catastrophic events that will destroy our earth, our future. One example is Global warming. And we can stop this or at the very least slow its progress. One way of doing this is by switching over to steam powered or solar powered vehicles. \Ne know we can do this. \Ne know that this is a major solution to a major problem, but the question is, "Why haven't we don this?" \Nhy haven't we made the choice of solving this problem. Other means we have of stopping this disaster is that we can stop using fossil fuels as a means of energy, which is a major contributor of harming our health and a major factor of Global warming. One option that we have is by substituting battery powered cells for fossil fuels. VVe have the means and the knowledge of doing this. So let us educate ourselves and choose life. Another example that we are destroying our future and one that we can also change is by not putting animals on the extinction list. Because once an animal is extinct, it is gone forever. Every time that we put an animal on the extinction list, it puts more of a strain on the earth's ecosystem. And the earth's ecosystem is a very fragile thing. It cannot keep on balancing out our mistakes. Because every time an animal disappears, it has to compensate for the loss. And if we keep on following this path of death, there will not be enough life left to balance out the ecosystem and it will collapse, with us right along with it. 32

41 There is also the issue of deforestation, yet another major problem that we are dealing with and one that we can also change. One way of doing this is by starting to grow the versatile Hemp plant and start substituting it for the many uses of wood. The number one way we can use this wonderful plant is by making paper out of it. Another way is by using the stalk of the plant for kindling. We can us it in fire places or BBO's. Hemp can also be used to make cooking oil, clothes, rope and a form of combustible gas that can be used for engines, which also burns cleaner than fossil fuels. There are multiple other ways that we can use this miracle plant and all we have to do is choose to educate ourselves about it. Now there are many other examples that I can use like the pollution of.the earths' land, water, and air and even the pollution of the mind and body. But you know the wonderful thing about all these terrible acts of death are that they are fixable! We can stop doing this to ourselves. Once vve start to grow and educate ourselves, there will be nothing that can stop us, our children, and our grandchildren from living a long and fruitful life. We have to think about the kind of example we want to portray to our successors. Is it one of death and destruction or one of life and productivity? Once we start educating ourselves by reading books, listening to people, and learning from life, I'm sure that we will choose life and start changing the things that we can. We have to step into the new millennium with a healthy and educated outlook to the future It's time to improve. Kenneth Frost 33

42 LITERACY The contest poster portrays people who want to be more literate. The poster also portrays people succeeding, whether learning to read or vvrite, or upgrading their education. In addition it shows a person who was incarcerated entering society, healthier mentally, smarter, and vvith a sense of purpose. It brings to light that anyone can succeed. I believe that vvhen one is vvorking tovvards reintegration, literacy and an education should be just as important as programs. Too many people are released into society, only to return to vvhere they came from. For example, vvhen one is released into the community, he or she does not have the education and skills to compete for employment. After many failed attempt to gain employment, the individual gives up hope. With nothing to do all day, he or she might drink or use drugs to escape boredom and or depression. With expenses, like rent, food, plus drinking and using drugs, the individual feels that he or she must find other ways to pay for these costs, legal or illegal. To compete, individuals need education and skills. I believe offenders could benefit from the educational programs, Corrections Canada has to offer. People could enter society with the education and skills to succeed in life. They would have a new out look in life, with new goals and ideas. A literate person can better understand his or her environment; an educated person can understand and communicate better vvith other people. Maybe literacy and education should be taken more seriously. Literacy is more important than people realize. Without literate people, there would be no society. I believe people should be more encouraged to finish their education. In the school system, people should be able to learn at their ovvn pace. Individual people have different learning styles and speeds. Maybe literacy or education should be part of the offenders correctional plan, for example, learning to read and write or seeking to acquire his or her GED. People can also acquire post secondary education while incarcerated. I believe an offender can vvalk back into society with a new outlook in life, new goals, and ideas. Thus, an offender can lead a productive live in society and become a role model for others. That is why I strongly believe literacy and educational programs are important for reintegration. It could benefit the offender as well as society. This would give the offender a healthier mind, a positive outlook in life, and an opportunity to live a productive life in the community. Shane Skinner 34

43 A MILLENNIUM EDUCATION Every day is a special day because it is a new day for this millennium and a new start for everything including literacy and education. Which brings me to today's topic. I will express my thoughts and opinions on literacy and education; I found a vvay to get ahead in life, EDUCATION. Sure it's a struggle and sacrifice, but the benefits are definitely worth the wait. As, for me, Knowledge is a power I can give myself, and hopefully my message vvill reach You. \Nell, for starters, let's talk about the whole concept of this truly inspiring poster. At first vve've got the "good versus bad" outlook on school. The idea of having a big book as a school, is a great perception for school because it gets the idea across that going to school is all about "hitting the books" and being there to educate yourself. The thing that caught my eye was the dark and gloomy side of the school and how the guy is approaching the school vvith his head hung low and with vvhat I think to be small steps, assuming from the width of his legs. he is slowly approaching the school like it is a terrible burden, or that he is very ashamed for going to school, maybe even threatened to go. Since "The Dark Side" of the school does look very confined, sad, miserable, even institutional-like, I vvould probably think tvvice before entering a school like this one, as you see presented in this poster. Here vve have dark and dreary clouds with a lone eagle in the sky, and very bare skeletal trees, which indicates to me some sort of cold and miserable season. Also, on top of that there are rocks that outline the path to school. Again, to me, this represents that there are difficulties trying to achieve your education and hovv hard it can be. I would like to take some time and tell you about how hard I think it would be not being able to read or vvrite. The shame at most would be hard to handle. Not being able to have much of a productive life, being confined to certain routines or having someone vvith you all the time so they can read things for you and make sure you're obeying the right rules and regulations for the place you're at vvould be so frustrating and hard to handle, hot being able to expand your self knowledge or feel the excitement of learning new and wonderful things. But, there are those people who have no way of means for education, for example, living in poverty, growing up with neglect and vvithout any love in the home, even abuse. All these things often lead a child to live an illiterate life, unless that child finds her/her ovvn strength and vvill to learn, or reached by a helping hand. A child with the strength and desire to learn should never be delayed, Put-off, or gone unnoticed. VVhen a child has his/her own way, do not try to stop them; let them blossom into what they can and vvant to be with all the possible support you can provide. 35

44 Now let us look at the good and positive side of this poster. here we have a wonderful looking day and a happy guy, who apparently just graduated. This side of the poster, "The Bright Side," seems to be the way it should be after we graduate, hopefully it is, but just look at his surroundings; the nice little bushes, beautiful sun rays, full green trees, and birds flying in the background. The walk way is well built and clean, the school has gone brighter, and the windows are bigger and cleaner. To me this represents bigger and better windows of opportunities for the world with our well-earned education. have you noticed the lone eagle in the sky on "The Dark Side," of the poster? This is a good sign to me because this eagle signifies the strength and courage someone could have for going back to school and getting his/her education. This poster has inspired my will to learn and has shown me what kind of difficulties there can be while trying to achieve your education. At first this was just another poster to me until I actually tried to grasp the whole idea of literacy and education and how important it is to learn in life. I am speaking from my thoughts and opinions and what I'm going to have to go through as a new father. Right now there is nothing I wouldn't do to help someone learn and become well educated. Sure right now I've got some learning to do still, but does anyone ever stop learning? I hope not because there is still so much to learn for everyone and anyone; I think there is no limit in literacy and education! Byron Prince 36

45 THE POSTER What does literacy 2000 mean? In this poster, I see a person that is going though a lot of pain. It is like going through life being illiterate. What it means from the poster is a life of not knowing what to do, your path in life is very narrow. I see his pain to the hurt from personal knowledge. I have a friend who through no fault of his own is very illiterate. He has to have someone go to town with him all the time. Because he cannot read or write at all, it worries his mom very much although he is fifty years old. It must be very hard in life to not be able to read or write. The problem that comes up to people is very hard. My friend has a very limited life, much like the man in the poster. You can't drive a car. It is hard to get a job, and if you do manage to find one it is a low paying job and you never have any extra money, most illiterate people are on welfare. He finds it very hard sometimes to do the things he loves, like reading his bible, using the phone, going to church. He loves to bingo but finds it very hard to follow the game at the pace of others. The numbers are very hard for him to see. He takes along time to count money because he cannot read the dollar amount. Even to go shopping for cloths is hard for him because he cannot read the labels so he must go with someone else so that they can help him. From the poster as with my friend I see a person who is very sad, and maybe angry with life. The poster shows one side of a very hard life, the sky is always grey, the trees are dying there is no sunshine, no hope for the future. The future for someone to be illiterate is a very hare road of life. In the world of high tech, it is very hard to get a proper paying job, because of the reading and writing skills needed to perform your tasks cannot be comprehended properly. In the poster I see a view of pain and hardship. Without having any reading or writing skills, you feel unwanted and bothersome to people. You have days of pain and uselessness. You feel alone, even when you are surrounded by people all the time. The man in the left of the poster sees a world of darkness and despair. Even the school looks dark to him. he feels a lot of shame in not finishing school or being able to read or write, n school he has to adjust to people, he has to deal with a lot of embarrassment always needing help from others, even to find the proper washroom. He has to go through shame and embarrassment. It makes him feel useless to be illiterate in today's high tech world of computers and literate people. In this day to be with a problem like this it is a long and hard road ahead of him. It is a life of constant reminders that if you are illiterate you have hit a dead end in life, you have no future, no tomorrow. 37

46 The poster on the right shows the same man. Only now he is happy because he made the right decision and went back to school and learned how to read. The world is open to him and full of possibilities. A great weight has been lifted off of his shoulders, for the first time in his life the grass is green, the sky is blue, and he has a future to look forward to. A better job will give him hope and a better chance of being able to support a family. He doesn't have to be ashamed of his life anymore. He can get a decent paying job, get a drivers license, or read a bok, all things that he could not do before. All of the doors in the vvorld are now open to him. He feels joy in beirig able to read and write. Life is good now. The world now is not a hard place to live in; it is now a place of hope and happiness. He is free of the chains of being illiterate. His life is worth living, he is happy. The story of the poster is life without reading and writing is a dead end. Or a life of hope and happiness because you can read and write, at any age you can change your life around and do something about it. John Lucas 38

47 THE PRISON I see a man walking up a bleak road which leads to a prison. It's a very dark and scary feeling and you feel a lot of despair. Doing time in jail is not only hard on you but your family and friends too. You have disgraced them and yourself. It can tear lives apart so quickly that you cannot change or help the situation. You come in uneducated and must follow rules, play head-games, and go nowhere. Yu try to earn respect of fellow inmates so they don't think you are weak or other-wise. Prisoners have strict ethnic codes; they are unforgiving. - Now you are going to take control of your life and open doors of opportunity. You will take courses and maybe go to school to improve you-self and be able to function as member of society. You go to schools so you can become better educated. Yu get direction from teachers you study and show peers and your-self you can make a difference. It does not happen over-night if only you apply your-self. When you have done that you will see results. This is paralleled to the poster in that, you walk up the rigged road shown, you've become more literate and now you exit with a feeling of freedom. From the bleak road, you now enter some light and sonne happiness. It was a long haul but you did it, you got your grade 12. Things are looking up for you. Now you take program called Cognitive Thinking, it helps develop your senses in your life and this probably had to do with you coming here in the first place. now you have completed the course and know more about your-self and others. You can deal with certain everyday endeavors on a different note. You then take a program called Anger Management, It will help you find areas to your behavior on the street and everyday life. You have made choices on the street which were obviously wrong. So you take the course and open areas of your life that have had you bottled up and now learn to make the right decision, compared to the ones you made on the street. You have done well in this course and had your eyes open to make different choices, which not only affect you but the people around you. You can come out with good feeling knowing you can make in society, and have respect for those around you. You now walk out of prison to a bright beautiful day, year, life ahead of you knowing you can make a difference. The poster can again be paralleled to this in that the road is nicely treed, the sun shines, the sky is blue and you have feeling of accomplishment. Before the sky was dismal and bleak. You have now finished and everything is alive and fresh. You will go forward and feel better about your-self and others you deal with in every way possible. Those are the good and bad points of prison life as I see it and as I see the poster and its inspiration. Strive to make it better or spend the rest of your life in jail. Nobody said it would be easy but you have to do it. Your life and your goals can be so over-whelming you will have nothing but a prosperous life in society. You will earn the respect of the community and friends and mi st of all your-self. Walking out of the right side of the book will only benefit you to the limit of knowledge, strength, respect and a feeling that you have successfully completed something. 39

48 I compare prison to Literacy, in this sense because if you follow the direction in which Literacy leads you, you will be inspired to try hard and you will feel success. It will also give you extended knowledge. This is how it feels to leave prison. Robert Freeman 40

49 THE GUEST FOR WISDOM The portrait of the poster is the image of the unknown. The air is cold, lonely, and the whining winds sings its sad refrain, darkness rules the sky, the only feeling is cold. The persons entire body stiffened as he approached the house, his heart beat quickened and his pace slowed. He found himself standing dead still at the bottom of the rotting steps which led to the front door. A sudden chilling gust of wind, he shivered, eager to get to this place at once. Somehow, he felt an eagle gliding in a circle, high above him, in the cool autumn sky. To him, this prey was a spiritual guidance from the "Great Creator." He bare in mind whose voices he heard in the winds and whose breath give life to all the world. He pauses, prays, and thinks, hear me I am small and weak, I need your strength and wisdom. A second time he examined the eagle, again he seek strength, not to be greater than my brother, but to fight my greatest enemy - myself. However, he was optimistic and took a deep breath filling his lungs with the cool autumn air, this is not going to be an easy task. Courageously, he entered this learning institution, he was now ready to acquire knowledge and informational skills that were available. He also wanted to learn and accept the teachings of the Elder, the medicine man and our people, customs and traditional heritage and history of ones culture. The other approach to spirituality and religion is the journey of the written word of the Bible which gives him a better understanding of what his life was before and the differences of what his is becoming. He only was seeking inner peace and love of his own kind in faith in the living spirit of "Jesus" and the "Lord God." Then, of course, there is the challenge of educational process, an option he wishes to approach as part of readjustment, he showed a great deal of interest and great will to learn more and more as he journeyed. He moved from one lesson to another, he had an open mind and realized that his intelligence was more and more open to information that he was able to grasp as he went along, he felt that knowledge was growing within and this gave him more confidence, he discovered different aspects in his field of study. He also was improving his comprehension of the English language. This will help him make his way confidently through the difficulties. As you can guess, he has learned that education is the key to the future, each step takes him closer to the end of his ultimate goal. He now believes in an inherent unity and ideas for him come from many sources. he needs to become part of a comprehensive society, awake and aware, willing to work together in a new atmosphere of love, responsibility and higher awareness. To this end, he recognizes that it wasn't him that got him here, it was part of him that put him in a difficult situation. He understands no matte where he ends up, with newly acquired knowledge and good communication skills, that make him enjoy working with people that this will help him make informed choices in the years to come. 41

50 The poster inspires a person's full front on the path to a sustainable future, that by starting negatively. He reaches out to the whole world and searches for wisdom, and makes it better for all things. This includes, a strong sense of identity and emotional growth, and ever the grass greener beyond this place. His reward as a condition of being free. Jerry Ear 42

51 LITERAL INSPIRATION The question of "What vision of Literacy does the Poster inspire in me?" arises many hearts to sit back and study the picture and narrow the focus. the first thing that catches my eye was that of the book and its similar layout to that of a school. It is very inspirational regarding what I see, there's knowledge of both an optimistic and pessimistic view. Before discussing Literacy, I would like to bring forth an optimistic vievvpoint. In looking at the left side of the picture, you would see darkness and clouds. Learning is really not what this person has in mind, there is a obvious indication. If you look at the sky, it's cloudy, there's a blackbird (alone by himself) flying, which tells me the journey this person is on is by himself. The trees are bare, which parallels being vvithout knowledge or education. I turned to the roadway this person is traveling on, it starts very vvide and very open to him. Hovvever, vvhen he reaches the door of learning, it becomes very narrow. Notice the mans shadovv that's in front of him, this means that his past has caught up with him. VVhen he walks towards this book of learning, you'll notice his head facing the ground, which portrays that this person is not sure of himself. When he finally reaches the door "Wow it's a Mountain! His task now is to cross the threshold into a vvorld of Knowledge, thinking"i'll never make it!" I would like to expand on what made him come to this world of Literacy. We all basically know that there is no understanding vvithout an education. We're not going to get far on something that we know little about. This being education and Literacy. As time passes and opportunity knocks for promotion, you refuse to take it, VVhy? cause you can not read nor vvrite, so another possible chance of a life time passes by. Another example I would like to present is when I vvent to my friends house and noticed he was reading a book to his grandchildren. I happen to notice that he vvasn't reading from the book at all, he was making up the story and looking at the pictures to match the story. It was a shock, cause I nevv this man all my life and did not realize he was illiterate. After experiencing this, my thoughts are drawn back to the man in the poster. He finally enters the book of Literacy and starts to learn to read and write, he comes through the door of understanding. As he pushes the door open, he notices that on the other side the sun is shining through the windows, lending lots of light and encouraging him to realize that now the road he walks is more prosperous. The grass is a glistening, the air is mint fresh and he's looking towards the sky, it's heavenly blue, the trees are singing a beautiful song. There are birds flying high, enjoying life. If you look at this man and his appearance, he's wearing bright colors his hair is shining, his head is high in the air, his eyes are wide and not looking back. He's met this challenge in life and has confidence in other challenges that comes forth. He vvill be able to handle and deal with issues that come in the future. I realize that Literacy is not anything that vve have to carry with us, it's knowledge that we have to use everyday. 43

52 In today's world, we are in what we call the High Tech Age, which we all know there is nothing stopping us to advance in life, we just have to reach out and take it. You know before I started writing this essay regarding what vision on Literacy, the poster showed me, I looked and got a flashback about my own life. The denial of trying to receive this book of knowledge. I figured I didn't need. Right now I'm 55 years old and feeling as if I wish I would have had the knowledge that I have now, where would I be?, probably a lawyer, a doctor or whatever. I denied myself what I truly wanted, the ability to understand the things that could have been and are here now. I would say things have changed so much since the 50's and 60's in that people want to learn. Back then people didn't have the opportunity to get educated and now, it is possible and people are doing the apparent impossible. This poster gave me the understanding of exactly what it was like for me. The opportunity to express in writing how I truly felt. One thing I learned a long time ago is that if there is a will there is always a way. So go forth and learn, what is yours for the taking. An EDUCATION! Edward Hatter 44

53 THE JOURNEY OF LEARNING My name is Mike and I was having problems getting a job. First, I couldn't fill out an application to get a job, I couldn't even read a newspaper to look where to go. A friend told me about a Literacy book. He took me to the book and that's when I started to learn. I was walking towards this big Literacy book, my steps were following my shadow step by step. Looking at a bird in the sky, it seemed like it was showing me or leading towards the book. the sky looked as if it was night, but it was the beginning of a day, the windows looked like I was going into prison like an old movie. The rocks on the side made a path, it looked like I was going to enter a world of knowledge. Once I entered, my journey started. The first few steps were like walking in quicksand, I was sinking step by step, deeper and deeper, it made me nervous. then sorneone approached me, her name was Mary she said, "come in." She asked me what I wanted to learn, I said, "everything I can, because outside this Literacy book was nothing for me." I needed the knowledge to live a better life, to read a newspaper or street sign, or a menu in a restaurant. She said, "I can help you." I started to spell and say the words after I spelled them, each day was like watching a carpenter build, hitting the nails with a hammer one by one, or someone playing guitar one note at a time. As the days went on the lights were getting brighter. Mary, the teacher came in and said, "time for a break!" I sat in my seat, leaned back and closed my eyes. I was completely inspired to learn more at this point. I was feeling good about learning, I was starting to understand, the words were getting harder, my heart was pounding and the fear came back that I wasn't going to be able to continue. Each word I learned I knew I was going to achieve my goal of being able to read and write, so I wouldn't feel as if I was lost in this world. Finally, after nine or ten months I could read a newspaper one paragraph at a time. It took me a few minutes, but I was reading it and understanding. I was happy, it was like being a.child again, like opening gifts on Christmas Day. I knew I had done it, I had achieved Literacy. My life at this point was similar to the vision of the poster. I was totally inspired to want to learn more. The sun was beating through the windows, I knew it was to go, I had finally came to the end of my targeted goal. Going through the Literacy book was like prison, then finally being set free, it was like starting a new life. Coming through the doors I could see birds flying free, I felt the same way. the grass was green, the trees all had leaves, the air was fresh like a pine scent and the sky was clear, the path I was walking after leaving the Literacy book was a good one leading me to a new life, I knew I was going to make it. Mary was a good teacher with out her I would have been lost, I will never forget her. Now when I go on my journey through life, I will remember the Literacy book, always, and in the future. If someone I meet has the same problem I did, I will guide him or her towards the Literacy book. I know I've learned a lot, but I also know that there is much more to learn as my life goes on. the Literacy book is the best thing that ever happened to me, and I think there are lots of people in our world that can learn from my experience. Literacy is a good institution for everyone. 45

54 I learned and became literate, because I knew I could, I felt inspired by the poster, because I was the vision that was portrayed. I know now that there is nothing I cannot do, especially when it come to education. The new millennium has inspired me to become more and more literate and as a result become a better person. Randall Holt 46

55 THE POSTER The individual that is walking down the path, looks rèjected, or just extremely depressed. He's thinking of what he can do to change himself, or the environment around him. He thinks of getting some professional help, or maybe going for treatment. At this moment, he's thinking as he is walking down this path, what can he do? Who can he turn to for help, because he lost everything he's owned and his life is going down the hole. How can he analyze this situation? He is walking through this little walk way and comes up to this building, that looks like one big book. The cover of this book has windows with bars, and looks very old and dark inside. This place looks like an old joint, or just a place for people that can not help thernselves. It does look like one big book of literacy, a place for someone to learn good life skills or, to learn how to cope with society. This could be a place to study better and understand the way the system runs. It helps one to see what it can do for people that vvant to change themselves for the better. he keeps going through this book that looks like one big old building, but he still has a lot to go through and learn to get to the spot he wants, to get to fulfill his destination. His destination being Literacy. He reads on and this book keeps getting more interesting. Learning and understanding makes a big difference for someone that wants to change and stay clean for the rest of his life, in order to get back on his feet. He has to be mentally tough, and willing to change for himself. This poor guy has to take care of himself, before he can do anything else in his life. Now hat he can read and write, he can do a lot of himself. He feels like he can do anything. As he is walking away from the book or the building, he feels very educated. The experience was the best thing he did for himself. And with all that knowledge, life gets easier for him. The sky looks so beautiful, and trees are so bright and green. The birds are singing, and the air is fresh. there is a nice cool breeze coming from the mountains. What else can this man possibly ask for at this moment. This happy go lucky young lad feels so good that he had successfully completed the book of literacy. He is free from misery. Now he can get his life on the right track and move on with himself. he can start achieving better goals. This person is really trying to make a difference in his life. Now the man is at the end of the book. Everything looks a lot better for him. he makes a good recovery, walking out with a big smile, he feels the freedom and the sun is shining, he feels good with all the knowledge he picked up from the book of literacy. Having the ability to read and write, is one of the first things that made him feel like, he can do it, all for himself. Now he can help other people to see, what this did for him and what things he could do for others. He's got his whole life ahead of him. He has so much to do and it looks like he can give a lot of advice, with all the work he did for himself. He has so much to do and it looks like he can give a lot of advice, with all the work he did for himself, he can face the world. H now knows that his life is important; he can read and write and understand. he can do anything, he's got knowledge, and control his life, and his future. 47

56 life is bright, and full of excitement. All he has to do is find a good place. A place were there are good people that will accept him and respect him. That is the way life goes around, and this young lad knows how to This is the inspiration that is given to me from the vision I get out of the poster. believe and you shall receive. What you get out of the poster is great encouragement and successful knowledge that you, yourself can do and become Educated. Kane Moccasin 48

57 THE LITERACY POSTER One dark cloudy evening, there vvas a guy walking towards a building that looked like a book, with windows and bars on it. He walked towards the building, head down, looking at the ground feeling self-pity, bored and not accepted. the scenery looked dull, and the grass was dying. There were no leaves on the trees, it was cold and windy, with a bit of sun. The guy could see a bit of his shadow. As he walked towards the building, there was nothing in sight, except a bird flying above him. There were mountains close by. As he walked along the sidewalk, he noticed rocks, bordering the pathway. He vvalked between the rocks staring at his shadow. He approached the big green steel door, there was no turning back. it was like a magnetic force pulling him into the building. Once he vvas in, he knew that he couldn't get out. He did a lot of thinking about what got him to come to this place. he thought about this would be of good use to him in the future, but still, he missed his family, vvife and kids. He got into education making his steps through the book, one page at a time. In between the pages was a brighter side. he was learning a lot and changing his life style. He was working his way out of the book and was making many changes towards his way out. he was now going to school, and learning a lot. He was truly inspired by the experience he was having to learn more. As he approached the door out of the book he got to learn more about his culture. He gained a mass if information from there that he didn't know before, things got easier for him in life. He had educated himself by doing his homevvork from school. He did learn a lot. As he came into this book, from the outside he had not the knowledge he had right now. Novv that he was leaving his journey, he felt like his vvhole body vvas lightened and well educated. He noticed the building was clean and the windows vvere shiny. The sky was clear and it was a nice hot sunny day. The green grass grew and a lot of leaves blossomed on the trees, he notices himself, as being content and healthy. he lifted his hands and arms into the air, as he walked out of the building to a whole new bright day. He looked forvvard to a whole nevv life, and a better job. This made his life better than it was before. He didn't want to think about his past life that he went through and didn't want to remember when he first came into this institution. He doesn't want to come into this vvhen he first entered, but he realizes now that he had changed a lot by going through it. As he walks further away from the building, he noticed that there vvere a lot of different kinds of birds flying above him. He was excited to go back home to be with his family and his relatives. he looked forward to having a happy family reunion because he now could read and write like not before. This poste had truly inspired a vision of literacy that I never thought possible. Education is a very important factor in life that you need and no one can take away from you. What a feeling. 49

58 I personally know that by being more literate', you can live a happier life. It is also a good indicator and feeling of success in years to come. Roy McAdam 50

59 LEARNING FOR CHANGE When I look at the poster, I envision many things; I see a man with a regretful past filled with dead end jobs, poor relationships and diminished dreams. With no prospects or change in sight. The older he gets the more he feels like a social outcast. He desperately tries to conceive a plan to change his oblivious existence, his environment always seems to be the same, no sunshine breaks his sky, just heavy clouds linger above him. The skeleton like trees remind him of his empty life and lack of education. The mountains are so beautiful, but like in life and society he doesn't have the necessary skills to go above and beyond them. They are his boundaries, his limits. Reluctantly he walks his path, on either side of him are rocks, he envisions them as headstones for all the dormant years gone by. The sun is setting behind him, fading away like his time arid chances in life, casting his gloomy shadow of despair. His shadow falls upon a door, there's a sign that only he can see, it says Education Dept., all welcome. Suddenly there's a shriek in the sky, it's a lone bird gracefully soaring high. Through the bird he is inspired to fly as high and far as he desires by committing himself to learning. He always sensed literacy was the answer to his lonely demise. He opens the door and escapes inside. He finds himself in a book of many pages, he begins to read, study and comprehend. His confidence is a little shaky, but his faith is strong, it will see him through the pages until he reaches his goal of achieving a G.E.D. After awhile he is surprised by his rising academic level and presses on. He already feels optimism for his future, and his hopes and dreams begin to sparkle, he wishes he would have started this a lot sooner. Even his family is happy for him and encourages him to continue. About halfway through the book he senses pride and self respect for himself and from others growing with every page. No longer does he languish on the old stagnate days of his life, all the negatives are disappearing. H can see the sunshine trying to break through the last few pages of the book. He's getting very excited now he can't decide what course of interest he would like to pursue after he receives his G.E.D. As a matter of fact he's a little overwhelmed that he is in the position to have these choices to make. He can hardly believe this is going to come true, he's finally through the book, he achieved his G.E.D. He has facilitated his path to further development in his life. He feels to exhilarated he might have to fill his pockets with rocks. The doors of learning have opened up his mind, he is now more acceptable to an increasingly positive learning life style, which will benefit him up the ladder of life. The sun is warm on his face, the birds are singing the trees and bushes are bursting with growth just like his new found knowledge. The man in the poster is off to write a mature student entrance exam at his local community college. 51

60 Looking back at the poster inspires me to learn, because to learn is to grow. Without learning, we will not grow, but stay the same. We must learn to push ourselves forward in an ever changing world, otherwise the hi-tech's of it will lose us in the shuffle. Therefore, I am firm in saying that Education was an excellent experience and is inspired to be with me for eternity. Darrell Taylor 52

61 LITERACY IN THE NEW MILLENNIUM The literacy 2000 poster depicts life without an education and how a person can benefit from attaining one. I am motivated to enter this contest because the new millennium represents a new beginning for me, a fresh start. My new course in English has been an exciting challenge, it has taught me that I can be successful in the new millennium. The course has enlightened me and renewed me, somewhat, because I am accomplishing and learning more than I never thought possible. Therefore, the poster has inspired me to excel in literacy. I see a gentleman entering the book with very little knowledge, but the pages to me exemplify monthsyears of studying the leaves in the book. he exits the other side of the book with a new understanding and confidence of his self-worth and the world around him. The desolate and dreary looking side expresses life without education and literacy. The other side presents an opportunity for growth and development of character and mental processes. The thought portrayed here shows how education through books has freed the young man to go onto a brighter future. He comes out exploding with knowledge and willingness to explore in the adventure called life. My conception of this poster is that you need education to succeed in life. Literacy is an important factor in acquiring a higher level of education. In my past experience, having a limited education has discouraged me in finding the type of employment I would like to have obtained. Prior to becoming incarcerated, I have had little success in the education system, but at present, I have accumulated excellent marks in English 10. I truly appreciate my teachers in guiding me towards a scholarly future. Frankly, I never knew what an impact education and literacy could have on the scholastic direction of my life. This new understanding has positively influenced my life goals and had inspired me to strive for what I wa' nt in the approaching time ahead. I recognize now that a person with some degree of education and / or literacy can use it as an excellent stepping stone, as well as an opportunity in creating choices surrounding future job placements. Moreover, securing job benefits depending on the occupation. The perception this has left me with is that the potential to succeed is within my grasp. Literacy affects many aspects of daily living, such as, reading the Television Guide, going shopping and filling out employment forms. Many literate people accomplish these tasks easily. unfortunately, they may also take this ability as a given in life. On the other hand, there are regrettably many illiterate people who go through great pains to achieve what others may take for granted. The inability to read and comprehend is a tremendous obstacle that hinders success. Being an illiterate person lowers self-confidence, self-esteem and healthy risk taking behaviors. However, the benefits to illiterate people upgrading their literacy skills can lead them to prosperity in several areas in their lives. One of the most prominent obstacles to success for illiterate people is their lack of patience with themselves. There are significant programs to help illiterate people overcome their difficulties. In the new millennium these mentoring programs hive great hope and inspiration to struggling students. 53

62 The poster representing literacy brings to my mind success through education with books. The use of written words is an excellent form of expression, therefore, is something beautiful and not experienced by the illiterate. Reading and comprehension promotes success in many aspects of life. My hopes for people who are struggling with illiteracy would be to maintain focus and to strive for fulfillment and successes in literacy in the new millennium. Lorna Piche 54

63 THE INCARCERATED PATH OF KNOWLEDGE I have many feelings about the man walking along the dark and gloomy path with his head down and making his way towards the enormous structure in the front of him on the left side of this picture. it reminds me about being incarcerated for the first time in my life. I was heading down a path that I was unfamiliar with and I was alone. Upon entering the institution, I didn't really know what to expect. I had to sit where they told me to sit and wait until they told me what to do next. They also gave me things to read and told me about the rules that I had to uphold in the institution. The hardest thing out of all of this was trying to understand everything that was going on around me. I couldn't understand all the directions they gave me or that were posted around the institution. When I was placed into population, I was very unaware of what to expect. At first there were no real problems until I got into the routine of things. After a while, I thought there would be no problems, but there was a lot more than I could see. I couldn't follow the rules nor read what was posted. I was continuously being told by others what to do and that just got me into more trouble. Then I ended up being locked in my cell, not because I was a trouble maker; it was because I couldn't read the things around me to know the right things to do and I kept on making mistakes. Some of the people who were around me showed me exactly what to da Then, inside that little cell, I thought to myself "It is time to make a change for the better". After I was let out of my cell sometime later, I began finding out how to go about getting an education for myself. I enrolled in school and began learning how to read and write. VVhen I was first introduced to school, it was completely unfamiliar. I couldn't catch on to all the concepts that were being told to me. Then the teacher told me to relax and not to rush myself. It was pretty weird that first day at school. There was no heavy machinery going, or anyone yelling at me telling me what to do or to hurry up. Instead, it was a quiet and comfortable atmosphere in which to learn at my own pace. It didn't take me long to learn how to read and write for myself. Now when people ask me to read something, I can understand everything that is put in front of me. The letters that are on the pages make sense now and they are not just strange symbols to me. I can even write now which will really help me when I get out of this institution to get a job or in everyday life. If you do not know how to read or write, it will be very difficult for you if you are planning on a release back into the community. If you are staying incarcerated, it will be hard without the ability to read all the material that is posted around you. You are going to have to learn how to read if you want to know what those documents say about you and what rules that you are obligated to uphold. George Flett 55

64 UNTITLED "Hey Josh, you gonna have another blast." "Of course, do I ever say no?" Blazing the joint reminds me of a small camp fire, hearing the burning twigs, sizzle and pop, and there go my problems up in smoke. As I look up in the sky, I wonder what I'd do without the high. Then I remind myself of a dream I've been having. I'm walking a narrow path. Everything around me is grim. There are no real colors just different shades of gray and black. I'm walking, and not to far ahead I see a book. It looks like a house. It has windows and a door. I reach for the handle but something pulls me away. Then I awake. Dee breaks my train of thought by reminding me I have to get home for work the following morning. We exchange a hand shake and say our byes. Sixteen years old and I feel like a thirty-year-old, underpaid, work addict. Construction is good work, but I can't do it forever. I vvish I could go back to school now, but I'd get laughed at. What another sixteenyear-old can barely read and write? As I walk inside my foster home I can hear Rick and Anne screaming at each other about some affair Rick is having. Rick tells her to shut up. Anne gets louder. "SMACK." All is quiet, but a few sobs. I slip on my headphones, "BOOM, BOOM, BOOM," roll over, and before I know it, it's just another day. I arrive at work an hour late. My boss gives me a look like he knows what I'm going through, and says, "It's one of them nights, huh?" I give him a simple shrug to confirm his comment. He then reminds me I have to be at my P.O.'s for eleven. My P.O. gives me a worried look. He tells me about a program that helps youths get their own place and get back to school. He gives me an address to check out and tells me it could be the best decision I ever made. I arrive at the address. As I'm about to open the door, I hear Dee. I look over to my left and there he is motioning me to come see him. I look up at the place I'm supposed to go to then at Dee, and I say to myself, "there's always later." As I walk up to Dee he hands me a joint and says, "Spark it up, cuz." I'm sitting back watching Dee shoot the eight ball. My mind is racing about, because of the high. All of a sudden my dream pops into my mind. I remember walking to the book house and being pulled away. I remind myself about what happen earlier today, and the coincidence freaks me out. Dee hands me the pool cue and it seemed like his words drag on forever as he say "It's your turn." With those three words a thousand things ran through my mind. I saw my entire life laid out before me, and I pictured it getting worse and worse. I looked into Dee's eyes and saw that they were lost and empty. I got up off my stool and said, "You're right, it is my turn." As I walk out I hear the cue sliding across the table. 56

65 That only happened a month ago but it seems like years. As I take a step out on my new balcony and look up to the sky. To me it looks different. Maybe it's because it's the first time I wasn't fighting off a hangover from deep beneath the sheets. It looks clear and comfortable. I silently make my new years resolutions to myself and deep inside, I know everything's going to be alright, as I look forward to the new millennium. Last night, I had the same dream I've been having. Except as I reached the door nothing pulled me away. I opened the door and continued walking. I came upon another door. I opened it and everything behind it was so bright and colorful. I saw a wide path and I chose to walk it. The phone rings. It's Dee, "So Josh, you gonna come to the pool hall tonight? Everyone's gonna be there and I got some weed to smoke!" "No Dee, I'm staying in tonight and gonna try and read this here book." Tyrone Millings 57

66 HOVV FAR COULD I GET WERE I TO SUCCEED IN MY ENDEAVORS IN THE ACADEMIC WORLD? Street life: chained, nowhere to go but in. How did I get here. Someone please wake me, I'm dreaming. Your Honor, I'm deeply sorry for what I have done to these people and I understand why you are about to make me serve a sentence that is close to a decade. Just don't lecture me on the rules of society. I came here uneducated, exceedingly rude, belligerent, defiant and uncooperative. Coming across as an angry, volatile young man. I took what I wanted, when I wanted, whenever I wanted. I Didn't care about my future. I only lived for the moment. Plenty of times I attempted to give up that lifestyle and each time I felt like I was drowning. So what could I do? My great Grandparents raised me from the time I was three years old until I vvas thirteen years old. My great grandparents were mom and dad when I was growing up. My mother came for me when I vvas thirteen years old. By then I was already known as a troublesome kid. Broke all the rules and ended up in the youth center. I spent eight months in remand. Received an education in the Art of Criminology. I was sent to a wilderness camp for Six months where I had a wonderful time. So, I returned to my mother full of criminal thoughts and intentions. Thus started my long criminal history. Now I sit in a Penitentiary with seven years. Inner scope: I took a look at this poster, LITERACY 2000 TOWARDS REINTEGRATION and realized after five minutes of studying it, that is what I had in mind. I came in here my life Shattered, stripped bare of any self respect I had. I understood too well I did this to myself. Now I ask myself, will I just be another Indian to society, no matter how successful I get? The answer to this question, I keep telling myself, it doesn't matter, what matters is how I perceive myself, that will determine my success. I see the poster and think, of course; I will reach for the other side of that door and when I step through my future will look bright and optimistic. I plan to get out this year on parole and when I do, I'll have over four years of parole to do. I don't intend to come back here. I'm gong to do whatever it takes to stay out once I'm out. Which brings me to my education. I'm making use of my incarceration by taking a correspondence course in specialized math. I plan to enroll into college when I get out. I'll probably take something in electronics. I eventually want to end up with a job that pays fifty to seventy-five grand annually. My goal is to achieve this by the time my warrant expiry date rolls around. 58

67 Achievements: I was sentenced April fifteenth nineteen ninety-eight. I arrived at stony mountain penitentiary May first nineteen ninety-eight. I spend fifty-two days in the intake assessment unit. I saw a parole officer once who asked me a few questions. On my fifty-third day, six guards with a camera came for me and told me I was a maximum security inmate now and I was to go with them. I was put in segregation where I remained for fifteen and a half months. They said they couldn't transfer me to Edmonton Maximum Security Institution because I had court in Winnipeg and rural Manitoba. I thought of flipping out, losing it. instead I utilized my time in segregation. I couldn't prove them right. (Offender Management Review Board) What? Me a trouble maker? They threw me one of their worst and I came out of it a better MAN. I didn't have any programs available to me, so I started on my correctional plan with what was there. First I started cell studies, then I started a correspondence course. I then started one on one counseling with a native Elder. I attended sweat ceremonies regularly. Part of my correctional plan is to work with the Native Elders. I did that shortly after I was put in segregation. After fifteen and a half months of this I finally got my medium security and put in a transfer to Saskatchewan Penitentiary. I had a rough start adjusting to my new environment. Every time I felt like I was losing it I would stop and picture my objective and think all things will fall into place if I keep it together. I just finished Cognitive skills Training program and I'm about to start Anger and emotions Program. The Native Elders here will also be involved with my case plan. Tribulations: I was born not to make it, all odds are against me. Society doesn't favor me or mine, and that's just being real. So it makes a lot of sense that I have this burning desire to succeed. Now I let my failures, experience and knowledge guide the next five years of my life. "As I walk into the sunlight I suddenly feel I could fly." be completed after warrant expiry. Galvin Douglas 59

68 LITERACY 2000 ESSAY Education is the shoes that walk on the road to success... As we travel toward literacy, the mind becomes open to the world of wonderful things to learn At the time of first school, learning to read and write, mathematics and coloring, school is a happy and pleasant place, where the world opened and became a new place to discover persons and places that you never knew about To learn about other cultures and our own culture and how we live and how others live. The important move is to have a goal to strive for. Set your target high and strive for it. Whatever you learn is never lost, it may lead you to another goal that is found along the path toward a higher education. At this point in time, computer skills are required to get a well paying job, in accounting and banking in machinery dealership and every business that you can think of. Doctors, Lawyers and Scientists are very skilled professionals. Space exploration leads you to a new outlook of the worlds around us. Who knows what you discover in the worlds out there, the opportunity is there just go for it, Anthropology is the search and study of our ancestors and life on earth from earlier times. Discovering the earliest existence of human beings their intellect and human development and culture. To achieve these goals in life you must be able to read and write that is the most important lesson to learn. as you conquer the language of the countries where fossils are found and discover and uncover the life that once was on earth, you gain knowledge of how we came to be. Now is the time to learn, to investigate the information that is in the schools and universities, on the pathway of knowledge as you continue along the way. I have written on the top category of employment and you have to strive for them. 60

69 There are other opportunities for jobs in road construction building, serving heavy equipment operators and support jobs to keep every project going smoothly. As a matter of interest leading toward goals that are in the future. Do not miss any opportunities for advancement because of lack of knowledge that you could have had. Look at yourselves now, where are you headed? What are your goals? Now is the time to make up your mind for the time to come. Do not let it pass by, do it now! As I try to explain the importance of learning, I include all races and genders. Each of you has the opportunity now to go into and through all the learning skills. The nursing profession and all the hospital staff have great advances in medicine and health care. As I remember growing up, I have missed many opportunities. From the very beginning I had wanted to be a lawyer or doctor. The goal was high and at the first obstacle I began to slow down and then give up. I helped on the farm. Then went to road construction as I did not have accounting or education to go into management. This is where I stayed. An opportunity for a foreman came up and my management skills were inadequate, at each of these failures the opportunities were and are available for advancement. I did not take them, but I am telling you, take every available learning opportunity to further your education. Take a close look at the poster, all the information is waiting to be used for each and every one of you. The open pages shows it is a book you can use to achieve your goals. James Wourms 61

70 LITERACY IN THE NEW MILLENNIUM In this past millennium a lack of the ability to read and write has been very costly for many. It has been costly in many different ways. People have lost out on job promotion opportunities and even the opportunity to simply get employment. Prisons tend to house many people that lack literacy skills. The very reason that some of those people are in prison is because they lack literacy/communication skills. this of course brings us back to the jobs and job opportunities; yes, it become somevvhat of a vicious circle. With the lack of literacy skills, depending on the degree, a person might not even be able to complete an employment application. That in itself can lead to crime and criminal activities. After all, people need to eat, they need clothing and housing as well. Let's face it, no one really wants to be poor. Some people may must accept it, while others struggle. Others may do it in a religious context but it's still usually in hopes of reward in the after-life. That's another essay though. Some people that end up in prison might have had difficulties with communication skills, of which, literacy is such a very important component. A lack of proper or adequate communication skills, could and I believe it has been proven, historically, can result in war. And what about personal relationships? Even with the closest of friends and spouses and such, there can sometimes be misunderstandings. If there is an argument and tempers flare, it's not always appropriate, or possible, for one or both parties to continue and at the same time be reasonable and fair with each other. At such times, literacy skills an play an extra important role, in smoothing over matters. They can write down their thoughts and feelings, as well as what they remember: their point[s) of view. Then they can send, or deliver a note or letter, to whomever they're having the dispute with and the other party can read it. This can at least temporarily remove direct personal contact, when it may be most important to do so. This way, the parties can be more cool and level-headed; they can still communicate, despite their hostilities, without being in direct contact with one another. "cooler heads will prevail." 62

71 Let's consider those often awkvvard moments that people sometimes find themselves in, when they feel passionately towards someone else. At these times, people can find themselves overwhelmed by emotion and at a loss for words. All one has to do, is write a note or letter to the other(s) to let them knovv how they feel. if the writer isn't immediately successful, he or she has at least "opened a door." Literacy skills can give a person complete command of expression, which is helpful in practical all facets of life. In this nevv millennium, I see a new and improved world through the grace of God and Jesus, as vvell as literacy, peace and understanding. I see less unemployment and hence less crime, as well as more love. More people will be freer, or able to contribute, even in some small vvay, to the improvement of themselves, and the betterment of society as a whole. To me the contest poster suggests a person vvho is on a road of a dark and gloomy life to a form of prison. If used properly, that form of prison can be perceived as an institution of learning vvhich could lead to a road to a brighter world of freedom and understanding. In conclusion, I'll finish vvith an encapsulating rhyme: If people come out of the dark and into the light, Some their dreams just may take flight. Roy Sobotiak 63

72 LEARNING FIRST CLASS The poster reminds me of a story about a gang. They were a gang that did not knovv how to read. There I was in the toughest gang in the world. They did not go to school and what they learned in life was crime. You did not need literacy to do criminal offenses. Shop lifting was the main cause for my gang. Everyday we would shop lift and we were good at it. VVe stole cars and did B. (S. E. We smoked up when we had the dope and all had girlfriends. And till one day the first class is what are name was. We did everything "first class" our crimes were first class, our girlfriends were first class, and our signs were first class. but we had the colors first class. And our hide out is first class all the way. Then one day we saw a female snooping around our place vvhere we hang out. This was dangerous for this female. But we were back to taking chances. This was a teacher who was looking to get gang members back to school. All we had to do was show up. The lady's name was Dianne. We had a meeting that night. We came to a decision that we would go back to school on a separate night, when there was no other gangs around and no other students were around. But it would have to be at night time. It was a full moon when the first class walked down the street. They had no books to carry and pens and pencils were in their pockets from the last shop lifting job. The school was two blocks away from their hide out. Two of the members were not sure this was a good idea. They left the weapons behind so the "first class" would not get arrested. the gang members arrived at the school at six p.m. The teacher was waiting for the gang and they followed the teacher to the class room. They all said their names and were seated. The teacher wrote her name on the black board and the class. "To start with, what is literacy good for," asked one of the gang member, "and how do you know it works?" The teacher looked at the first class gang and said, "You know crime, so think of literacy as a crime and then put two and two together. Ask yourself this; you shop lift things and you can not read, the quality goes down because you do not know what kind of car you are taking? going by colors because the car looks beautiful? And what about when you B&E, do you know the address you are going to? And if you do any other crime, where will you get your education then and your choice will be in prison. Do you know the cost of all the things you stole? Do you Know how much money you would of spent? Do you know the name of the address and street you went to? If you knew how to read the map :then you would know how to get around. So you can see that all this has to do with literacy and so are you ready to learn?" 64

73 This is what "First Class" knew, as of now, and the gang was ready to learn. The books were tough and the evenings were long. But the First Class gang, stuck to their guns. And every day First Class would show up, and everyday the gang would read. The First Class gang vvas greatful to learn. The teacher was pleased with their accomplishments. First Class was doing for themselves. The vvord spread and other gangs heard what First Class was doing. The teacher was proud of herself. The teacher thought she had a good idea. The day had come, and the gang was not ashamed any longer. The gang did not quit doing crimes, but they all were literate. But, First Class had something to fall back on in life, and could make something of themselves. Other gang members are doing the same thing around the world and it all happened because one gang came forth and one teacher took responsibility to teach some literacy to some misfits...they were call what you want, but I call them gang #1. Alvin Babcock 65

74 LITERACY ALPHABETIZATION 2000 Are we really vvilling to allow ourselves to be robbed of a better future? Are vve vvilling to vvork hard at giving our kids a better tomorrow? Are we willing to be left behind in the world of modern technology? Are vve willing to give up in the battle for Literacy? Do we really even care? Do we, as one of the leading countries in imports and exports, vvant to find ourselves as an ailing third nation? Left behind because we were too embarrassed to tell someone that we could not read or write as individuals. Do we want to see other countries leaping ahead of us as a result of our illiteracy? Do we really vvant a brighter tomorrow, or. are vve ready to sit back and watch our dreams as they fade into the past while we struggle into our future? We have a chance to make our days ahead brighter and sunnier, to see the greener grass as vve travel into the nevv Millennium, to make a better future for our children as vve secure our future as a leading contributor in the world today. Teach someone how to read, give someone you love vvords of encouragement or a pat on the back and let them know that they should and could stand tall. Show them that the leaves in Fall do not have to be their dreams as they fade away with each changing season. Literacy is a serious thing and should not be taken lightly. How sad it would be to lose our free and wonderful land as we watched it fall victim to illiteracy like a deadly plague. Are vve really going to sit back and vvatch the leaves falling from the trees, like our dreams as they fade from our lives? I would certainly hope not. I would hope that each and every one of us would want to play a contributing factor in seeing that Canada continues to be one of the more promising countries in the world, dependent only on itself, the voices of the people of the past and the future. If we continue to run from our problem of illiteracy in Canada and act like there is no problem, then vvhy would people ever vvant to come from other countries to visit our fine land? What would vve have in Canada to keep our tourism going and our economy high? 66

75 After our fathers and their fathers fought for our freedom and independence, giving their lives for a freer country, do we as their children want to lose this land as a result of our failure to stop and fight the battle of illiteracy? Take the time to sit down and read a book, give some words of encouragement to a neighbor or a friend, take that time to teach your children or yourself to read, and don't be scared.. Give the best gift that one could ever give, one that will last a lifetime. Open the door to the future! James Fowler 67

76 LITERACY "2000" CONTEST It is my opinion that this poster is sending a very strong positive message towards literacy/education. this poster describes that perfectly with the various differences it has illustrated, it is obvious that, along with literacy, comes opportunity and happiness. There are many aspects to focus on in this picture. There is one area I've decided to emphasize due to the similarities I myself share with it. This areas is "learning literacy while in prison." The poster is a great example of how one can better himself or herself with literacy while in prison. I say this because of the way the poster is set up. to me, this poster is saying simply this: "A man is going through a very dark and lonely stage in his life, he is traveling on a rough road and the end is very near. the road comes to an abrupt end and he's reached his destination. Here he is greeted with a very cold welcome, prison! He does not like this place they call prison, but he must learn to because this is now his home. He will live, eat, and sleep here for some time. Also he will endure all aspects that prison life has to offer whether good or bad. he has a very important decision he must make: does he ever want to return? If not, he must better prepare himself for the day his freedom is again in his possession. to overcome this adversity he must exhaust all available resources. So with a decision "not to return", he chooses to better himself by using the strength of knowledge to its full potential. He quickly finds that educating himself in prison will be a struggle, thus using his adversity as motivation to push himself when times become difficult. As time carries on, he has learned to overcome the difficulties of prison education and has succeeded in obtaining his diploma (minus a graduation of course). He is now a changed man knowing the difficulties in obtaining a prison education, he decided to dedicate himself to helping other unfortunate individuals who have found themselves in a position he recalls all to well. he takes great satisfaction in assisting others to help themselves. He knows he will not be there much longer. He finds himself wondering how much progress there will be, if a any, with the prison's education program upon his long awaited departure. he knows his assistance can no longer be called upon, but instead offers kind words of utmost confidence to his fellow brothers. His time has finally come to an end. He feels a little nervous but understands he is well equipped and prepared for the battles life will throw his way. He is now a free man and is reaping the rewards of his hard earned education. His possibilities are unlimited and knowing he will succeed, he stops to think about how happy he is now and wishes he didn't have to go to prison to learn how important a person's education is. It was a lesson hard learned, but a lesson he's thankful he's learned sooner than later. \A/ell, the reason I choose to write a story about a man and his successful travels through prison was due to the situation I myself am in. I figured a story-like essay would be a very interesting yet thorough explanation of the literacy poster. I see education as the only way to go about things if you want to succeed.

77 You can't really do anything if you are uneducated, so I put education as a number one priority. And recommend it to others as well. Education is really tough while in prison, the environment is tough and there is a limited amount of time a teacher can spend with you. The outdated and limited amount of subjects a teacher can give you is also an inconvenience. It is also very costly if you w.ant to earn "real" credits or work towards a G.E.D. For myself, education is a must. I just wish I could have saved myself a lot of time and completed my education while I was younger. Maybe I would not find myself in this position today. But the reality is that I am here, so I have decided to make the best of it and educate myself as much as possible so I won't have to make the same mistakes I have in the past. Without any words, the literacy poster is perfect in explaining why education is so important. I would like to conclude my essay by saying this: "Education is knowledge, and knowledge is power. So, with little or no education one's abilities to succeed will definitely be limited"!! Curtis Van'thul

78 LITERACY 2000 CONTEST The impression(s) I receive from the poster is that of an individual who, upon entering a correctional facility, is lacking in good education thus leading him into incarceration. This is certain for some individuals who lack a good education. Others turn for help. Some ignore the fact that a good education is important. They feel embarrassed and ashamed at the thought of being illiterate or uneducated in the basic skills. The development of and the willingness to gain an education is a very special opportunity in life. Although a majority of prison centers offer educational teachings, they are not always taken advantage of. What many people in society don't know is that there are individuals out there who lack a good education. This in turn prevents these people from succeeding at their goals. These uneducated or illiterate people are categorized by some in society as being stupid or unmotivated. These individuals are not necessarily "stupid", they are smart in their own unique ways. In many cases, these individuals feel less of a person due to the negative remarks and put-downs they receive from the more educated people in their lives. Some of these individuals feel that living a life of crime and being incarcerated is a way out. They cannot escape the negative remarks. Sometimes the situations could be worse. All in all, this has taken its toll on their emotional well-being. These inmates begin to feel that they don't have the potential to make the most of a good education. We, as people in society, need to recognize this so we can open a door to encourage and offer support to these less unfortunate individuals. People reentering society need to receive a proper education in order to lead a more normal and trouble-free life. Recognition, encouragement, determination and support are the major keys in winning against illiteracy. I get one other impression from this poster. An individual who is either taking up or giving the opportunity to further his/her education after having dropped out is showing that he/she has come to the realization that without an education they won't have many choices to make in deciding their lives. Avenues such as having the job or career you've yearned for, to own a home and/or car and to support your family is what's important. Making something out of your life and having something to show for it should never be taken for granted. Ryan lronstand


80 WAS IT THE ARMY OR WAS IT JUST... The general sat still as if in a great trance of contemplations deep of this life and the many lives he had lived before and may still have yet to live. Thinking of the many decisions he had made throughout this one, reflecting still on all of the possible choices he could have made, perhaps he should have made, maybe he still could make. Wondering even more of the frogs he had hurt vvith the rough decisions, those tough choices with touch consequences and the dovvn right mistakes he had made, and he knew as all great generals knew, and did not deny there had been mistakes, just as he knew there would be even more to come. Mistakes to yet be made, yes perhaps the bullfrog sat in contemplations deep over those mistakes from the past to the future. Maybe the bullfrog just sat there though, maybe perhaps the bullfrog was just basking in the sun light and admiring the glinting reflections of it on the waters surface which seemed to glow a golden red as if the sun and the creeky pond were tired, somehow sympathetic of his own melancholy. And once more maybe, maybe he was just a bullfrog, a bullfrog sitting in the mud. And yet still to the man he was more than that, yes this bullfrog was no ordinary bullfrog, no, he was the general. The man kneeled down and swiftly grasped his artist hands about the bullfrog and picked him up to smile and with eyes bright just as he had a life time ago when he as a boy was king and his sister his champion knight, he the man placed the bullfrog general inside a large bucket. The man who was the king turned then to survey his new army in all its splendor, it all its unified strength, all one hundred twenty two frogs with the battalions of tadpoles, those speedy thieves and spies, the platoons of mini-frogs that were really archers, and the big frogs the warriors his knights all of whom were led by the general, that splendid leviathan beastly of frogs; the bullfrog. He the man laughed then and with a groan and straining muscles he tipped over the flat bottomed metal...right, the flat metal troop carrier and sent forth his vast and great army, lastly he sent into the fray his general. And just as the child he had been he watched and remembered how he called out to the frogs as they charged headlong back into the creeky pond eager to return to their homes, their wives and children. Even now as then the general was tough to move, he was the general of course, but a commanding boot and the bullfrog would hop forward with an annoyed look on his face, boot, boot, hop, hop, and so it would go until he regained the water. This was how he spent many a day with the knight his sister, many a day, so far from the rush and chaos of the city, of the school, that wretched place of forced learning that he hated so dearly as a child. The man stood up the frogs forgotten and yet still fast in This memory, he sighed and his shoulders sagged perhaps a little bit, maybe just a little. 68

81 School it had been an age at least since he had reminisced over school, recalled the,heartache, remembered the laughter bright and the joy and the_ adventure. Yes the adventure for there was adventure in the barracks, the bunker, the dungeon that was public school through kindergarten to twelve. VVith the ogre principal that was no pal, the teacher of math that had it in for him "what's one plus one?" he say in the gibberish language he used and then without fail point his gnarly finger digit at him the boy, then there was the alien and her strange harmonic language called french and the man shook his head with a chuckle for never before had there been an alien like her with those boo, blah, blah, bees and innocent expectation that he the boy understood, and maybe he had understood for even now in the thickness of time he remembered the alien's voice and her words, and maybe. Maybe he only remembered what he wanted to about those long days when he didn't get it, when he lived in darkness and wondered sadly if ever the sun would shine through the clouds that blotted out the day of understanding and then with one shining beam it did and it was glorious, it was breath taking and life invigorating for he at last understood the why of it, the great why of it all. It wasn't just about learning and repetition of fact after fact it wasn't abut aliens and ogres or even about the frogs and bullfrogs, no the man now old and 'grey thought it was about choice, simple choice and not much more. VVell maybe the freedom of choice, yeah, that sounded right to him, yes it was about the freedom to choose... The man bent to kneel and pick up an old friend from the youth of his life that he had lived so long ago an eye blink in the life of this place he called home. The general looked up at his king with the hair greying, eyes tired and flecked with a breathe of sadness and it was as if the bullfrog knew, it if he knew; learning in the barracks, in the bunker and the dungeon was all about the freedom to choose to be more than an artist, a man, a boy or even a king. And the man àmiled again for maybe it was true, maybe it was true that the general knew that education was about the freedom to choose who and what you would be in life. Pat Freeland 69

82 LIFE THE CHOICE YOU MAKE The choices you make in life do affect you. It may affect you in a positive or negative way. Here is what I see in this picture, and what my thoughts are about it! What I see in this poster are two men who are the same person but different. The man on the left side of the poster looks to me as of he is living in a world of darkness. I believe he has made a choice that has affected him in ways he had thought would never happen to him. This man that I look at reminds me of me. it reminds me of the day I quit school, and that was the day when everything went dark. Positiveness went to negativeness just like that. I never really gave it a serious thought about what I was doing before I made a choice of quitting school. School wasn't important to me, is the attitude that "I" had. Now I am 29 years old and sitting inside a penitentiary facility realizing how important school is in a person's life. If I had not come back to school, I would be sitting inside a cell just trying to survive another day of what seems like hell. I was 17 years old when I quit school. I took life for granted and that is what I imagine the man in the poster did also. I thought I would become a somebody if I were on my own. Instead I ended up becoming depressed, and feeling a loss of hope, a loss of integrity loss of self respect, a loss of motivation, and a loss of work due to my lack.of education. The man in this poster has made a choice, which will be the right choice he has ever made in his life, he is going to walk through the book of knowledge a book that has been perceived or grasped by the mind of all who has made the right choices in life. With what he knows now vvill not compare to what he will know in his future. An education gives one a new door that opens to a new world. Once you have gotten your education, life is different then what it used to be. You can see on the other side of the book that the man's appearance has totally changed. Now his future is going to be rewarding. That is what this poster means to me and who it reminds me of. Richard LeCaine 70

83 THE TRANSITION \A/hen all seems lost, the perseverance of human emotional integrity must go on in order to envision a prosperous new beginning. Through wisdom and knowledge, we all hold the key in the turning point to success. Literature that will improve our lives considerably, is there for the taking, and is easily accessible to those who desire it. This is my interpretation of the literacy 2000 paper, and what it reveals. The first observation is that the picture inspires reintegration into society, from being a person who is lost in all aspects of life, including self sufficiency, social issues, self esteem, loneliness, and fear. To conclude what your problems are, you must have a balance in your life. Psychologically you have to admit to your so called "disorders" and take responsibility and accountability for your actions. You must come to terms with your Spiritual, Intellectual, Emotional, and Physical well being. In this particular picture, I see a destitute, pessimistic man, Who is skeptical upon entering, or taking the first step. He has a sense of curiosity, but his cynicism tells him that he possesses too much pride to submit to the help he requires. As he glares optimistically at the door, a ray of hope becomes evident. Walking through the door, he is taking a chance that he might fail in his endeavors, but with the knowledge made readily available, significant change could be easily attained, if determined, and may have positively overwhelming results. Unfortunately, in today's society, we are all characterized on what we have accomplished in our past, and what we have become as a result. Colorization is a large part of this picture. It reveals an environment that depicts little promise for the future, however, it is compromised by the fact that a single bird flies in solitude in the gray skies, and offers an opportunity to seek out one's freedom. As he ventures towards the twilight of the dimly lit door, it is acknowledged that the trees are bare and reveal little life. They conform to the somber, lifeless grass, and the filthy sidewalk constricts as it gets closer to the door. Like the cold winter day that it is, this brings a depressing mood, reflecting visions of the man's mind. But, this picture clearly depicts that the grass is greener on the other side. The man proceeds. The gray rocks that flank the man seem to represent that he has a heart of stone, but as he gets closer to the door, he becomes oblivious to them and the rocks that encumbered him, get smaller, thus relinquishing his burden. Something magnetic draws him closer. The yearning for knowledge, or curiosity beckons the man through the door to his destiny. Once inside this book of knowledge, the future is appealing, and the pages of his life seem easier, as he saunters through the first elemenary pages. Initially, the man seems distraught, and possesses little confidence as he approaches the first part of his journey. But eventually, vvith much patience, the changes begin. 71

84 There are states of evaluation in a persons life. The past, for example, "where have you been?" Also analyze your future, "where are you going?" As quoted by hobert. F. Kennedy, "you have to know where you have been, before you know where you are going". Once he has found his ultimate goal, he must achieve it by climbing the mountain, as shown in the picture. This is part of his reintegration process. Once inside, he must retrieve the valuable information he needs to succeed. He must reevaluate his situation. VVith self evaluation, he must adopt an honest policy "be true to thyself"! This is extremely difficult, but he must choose the life which most benefits himself. He has to be number one from this point forward, he must take full control of his life, and be responsible for his actions.. The journey through reintegration may prove unpleasant at times, but the rewards are gratifying. Ultimate fulfillment, freedom, and a sense of accomplishment, and significant growth are all part of the literary experience. The man has already passed through the overhearing shadows of doom. Life has been filled with failure, fear, and sadness, but now he is in the midst's of an educational cocoon, and all the ideals, along with the tools to creating a successful life are available in this book. It creates a wonderful euphoria, and has an aura of tranquility that will give a total sense of accomplishment. After he goes through the progress of reintegration, the end result is stunning. In the beginning, he may have been discouraged. As the man is returned into society, he is elated, and filled with a sense of freedom. A weight of gigantic proportion has been elevated off his shoulders. His thoughts are positive, and he is now educated. VVith knowledge, he now accumulates power. He now has the choice to use his educational skills to their full potential and possibly guide others in the right direction. Staying on the right path, and using his abilities is the message here. Overall, this picture tells a relevant story, how you can make reintegration work for you. The book seemed to get easier as it progressed, and the end result shows that the man is truly free. His decisions will now affect his life, he stand alone after exiting the red door. Everyone he now meets will influence his life. It is imperative he continues on the right track. The trees around him represent growth, and will inspire hope, and will confirm an obliteration of unpleasant past experiences, and a continuation of self help. There is change in his environment, the sun radiates energy, bringing hope and faith. The white paint around the vvindowsand doors, signify a fresh new start. The red, painted door, signifies strength. Bright colours reinforce success, in my interpretation. The bars no longer contain him, as he shows positive growth: In retrospect, the other side, shows destitution, barred glass, and gray walls. Knowledge, strength and faith are what helped him overcome his obstacles and cross to the other side. he now seems at peace with himself. The book has many pages of valuable information, and if completed eagerly, leads to rewards of educational benefit. at the final stages, he has transgressed through the process of finding himself, and may now fulfill his ultimate goals. He feels exalted and is prepared to begin his new life. The cultivation around him gives a positive message on how one's mind can be expanded and explored. The windows reflect the pureness of the baby blue sky, suggesting total new freedom, like the calm after the storm. 72

85 This man has now been successfully integrated into society, through the process of opportunity, and in conclusion, his situation has greatly turned around. He is now capable of taking an inventory of his life, and can reevaluate his past. He now seems totally oblivious to the morbid, undesirable entrance. To sum up my theory of the picture, I think a quote from Jungian psychology will best interpret the vision of literacy that inspires me. "to kindle a light in the darkness if mere being". Martyn Dolby 73

86 THE RENASCENCE OF LITERACY A great number of events are surely to coincide vvith the dawn of a new millennium. The coming of this new age vvill undoubtedly bring advances in many fields of society, yet the progress I look forward to most vvill be coming in the vast area of literature. The contest poster presents several interesting contrasts of literacy. Many of these comparisons I can relate to my own life and present situation, and can ask, vvhy am I here? I also feel the posters collation can be used to represent our population as a vvhole, and can also ask, hovv could we all benefit. The most obvious distinction that I can perceive is in the color scheme. This represents the convergence of the past and the future, brought together through literacy. On one side, darkness and gloom. A person without literacy will struggle, having limited resources, and even fewer choices. On the other side, brightness and prosperity. A person vvith literacy in their life vvill empower themselves. They vvill experience unbounded confidence, leading them to the freedom to control the lives they lead and the decisions they make. There are several supporting points in the poster that help one interpret its meaning. On the negative side there are mountains in the background. These can be symbolic of ominous, large obstacles standing in ones vvay, halting progress. With literacy, the positive side, the obstacles are gone. This is possible through increased knowledge, which leads to greater independence and freedom to choose your own direction. The path a person can vvalk is also clearly depicting. Without literacy the individual is on an ever narrowing road vvhich can inevitably, only lead to nowhere. The inverse is true for the literate person. They are presented with a widening pathway which should only manifest into success. The characters of the placard also show an unmistakable contrast of emotion. A person without literacy has clearly been dilapidated by their ovvn incognizance. The person who has been enlightened by literacy is displaying an enthusiastic jubilance toward their environment and their life. So it is understandable that knovvledge is invigorating for the ones who embrace literacy. Another consequential significance of the poster can be seen with the contrast of the characters environments. VVhen one is ignorant of the benefits of educational reading his surroundings appear bleak and colorless. The world would seem devoid of all that is beautiful, such as grass, trees, and bright color. This absence could represent the misplacement of any true courage, responsibility, or piece of mind. On the other hand, when a person realizes the value of literacy, their vvorld changes for the better. The lettered character enjoys an abundance of vegetation, bearing radiance and refinement. I believe this could signify a profusion of qualities such as optimism, discipline, and replenished inspiration. With these virtues a person can begin dedicating themselves to excellence in everything they do. 74

87 One of the most prominent features of the poster I find, is with the use of the bird. the appearance of the solitary creature in the illiterate world can symbolically, only be detrimental for the character. This single creature can denote loneliness or a profound sense of loss. Without education it is understandable how one could become melancholic and full of despair. a striking difference for one who is lettered. The number of birds increases dramatically. The creatures fly higher and seem to do it with enthusiasm. Their increased numbers could be interpreted as the expanded opportunity for success. The lofty heights of the animated birds could be related to a person setting elevated goals for themselves, having dreams, or an elated state of euphoria. Society has come a very long way in our brief history. Our literary past has many wonderful treasures of penmanship. These works vvill always be part of a complete educational system. The literary field in the future will surely create a legacy of its own. A wealth of new material is destined to be created. I am very grateful to be who I am today. To be literate in today's world should unquestionably, be invaluable in my life. The question of what do I see, what vision of literacy do I have in the new millennium, can be answered in one simple way. I believe we could all benefit from a greater awareness of the literature around us. We must continue to learn, for education is a lifelong process, a lifelong commitment to better ourselves. By continuing to learn, society can eliminate prejudices which will create a brighter future for us all. The contest poster should remind us all to never stop learning, for that is the key to help us lead a truly rewarding life. Kenneth Keats 75

88 THE KEY? There are many keys to open many doors in this world. There are keys that one cannot see, these keys open doors that no one can really see. Those are the doors of life. It took me many years to understand these keys. The keys I am referring to are literacy. it can change your vvorld if you want it to. As I gaze out my window I see all that I am missing. Watching the cars rush by seeing the world continue on vvith me locked in this prison. I have been locked away from the world not just because the judge said guilty. More so do to my lifestyle I had been living. That lifestyle was focused on only a few ideas; drugs and crime. Needless to say I have spend almost half my life in prison. A couple of years ago I could have never even imagined sitting here writing for a contest. Yet today people have faith in me and are inspired in my desire to better my life. VVhen I looked at the contest poster, I was touched almost to tears for that is I. That is the path my life took. I walked into prison a smarty pants who thought he knew everything about life and really knew nothing. Today I strive to learn all I can. I look for answers instead of trying to make them up to sound intelligent to others. To answer how this miracle took place is very simple, I for the first time in my life started to use the brain God gave me for good not just to soak up illegal substances. In prison a few years ago I needed a job for the winter months as I did not wish to shovel snow in the cold. I was given the opportunity to attend classes in the prison school. In my past I had no use for school, my peers thought that it was not cool. Most of my peers I had as a child have suffered painful deaths from violence, AIDS or overdoses. As the first months passed by. I attended school and even began to complete grades I had failed as a child. With each milestone I achieved I noticed that I started to mature mentally and my self-esteem rose. My teachers pushed me forward and I wish I could say I went peacefully. It was a rocky road the first year but as the saying goes vvhat does not kill you only makes you stronger. VVhat started as a way to stay warm did ignite a flame inside me. I stayed in school that summer and to this day I still attend classes as much as possible. I now have the power to push myself, to learn on my own and I strive to learn a.ii I can. The truth is I do not think I only received an education but something even better my life back. I now see doors opening up for me. My life is full of opportunities and I believe I have the power today to choose the direction I take in life. I have only one regret I wish I could have seen this light when I was a teenager not a thirty-year-old student. I used to think my life was lost but I know now that I am just a little behind and have to work twice as hard to catchup. I was only lost in my thinking and it is explained in simple terms. If I think like a drug addict, I will be a drug addict. If I think like a convict, I vvill be an convict. I like to think of myself today as a student majoring in life. I see a bright future ahead of me and I do owe it all to the school system within the prisons. 76

89 I now tell a number of the new convicts to go to school and try and upgrade their education. I see this as a way of passing the knowledge I have received through education down to others. If I could reach the younger kids before the arrive into this system I would tell them too, for now I do think school is cool. To reintegrate into the world I found that one needs to leave that old thinking behind him or her. Anyone can achieve this if they want to. You can read books that take you outside these walls. I have done this many times and have had many wonderful journeys right in my cell. I have found that the key to my freedom is not just a release paper. No, it is much more than that for me. I could have done my sentence and been free again. The key I have now is the key that opened the prison I lived for many years and that was the lifestyle I was living. This key will not just open my cell door, and it will also open many doors in the world for me. I now have a chance to live my life positively and to become a productive member of society. I received this key the moment I started to learn. The main thing I learned was to think positively and to make good choices for my new life. I am now ready to begin my new lifestyle. If I could leave the readers with one thought, "one is never to old to learn." Make that commitment to yourself and strive to achieve all your dreams. To all my fellow convicts there is a key waiting for you too, find yours. Ronald Sallenbach 77

90 A HOLISTIC VIEW OF LITERACY In the outlook of the new millennium, many different visions of literacy are inspired in me. I think literacy comes in various forms, ranging anywhere from education to cognition or even to freedom of mind. Each fcirm spawns a diverse array of consequences and benefits. To me the contest poster is an effective symbolic model of the interface between literacy and quality of life. Looking at the illustration, I would interpret the book as representing literacy as a whole. There is a path which leads into the book and a path which exits the book. Throughout this essay I will refer to these paths as "the path to literacy" and "the path from literacy" respectively. The path to literacy is in the barren, desolate world of a man without education.. The doorway to literacy appears before him like the entrance to a prison. Once he makes the commitment to himself to seek literacy, freedom will be lost for this man who is accustomed to doing whatever he wants, whenever he wants to do it. this man firmly believes that he is happy in his "free" world, but he does not yet know the meaning of true freedom. What he cannot admit to himself is that he is trapped in a depressing, restricted lifestyle. It even manifests itself in his body language. He thinks he is a tough guy because he doesn't need education. He is "street smart." He thinks he knows everything. Deep down, however, he knows he is not omniscient, he is merely scared of giving up his independence and walking down the path to literacy, opening the door at the end, and accepting head on the challenge which lies beyond it. If he will only rise to thé challenge and grin and bear the agony of living in that prison of commitment, he can reap the rewards in the end. With literacy on his side doors will open for him and his life will blossom into a beautiful, healthy existence. Not only will he have credentials and a plethora of career opportunities at his disposal, he will have much more. His new-found literacy will prepare him to walk down the path from literacy, but exactly where does that path lead? To answer that question, first I must offer my definition of literacy. To me literacy is not simply about attending school, acquiring knowledge on given subjects, and then venturing out into the world hoping that the specific skills you have learned will somehow make your lifè easier. Literacy encompasses much more than that. I don't think it's so much about utilizing what you have learned, but rather about reaching inside yourself throughout the learning process and discovering how to think for yourself. It is a method of developing your intuitive mind as Well as your intellect. Through literacy I believe you expand your ability to improvise, adapt and overcome in all challenges you face in life. This equates to aptitude. For example, instead of merely striving to be able to read and comprehend the writing of some of our world's great minds, such as Nietzche, Confucius, Mills, or Edison, perhaps one should strive for the ability to think like them. Knowledge, intelligence and aptitude amalgamate to form a truly adept mind form which will emerge a new man who has an enhanced perspective on the world around him. This multiform wisdom is what I mean when I speak of literacy. 78

91 The path from literacy leads to heightened consciousness and pronounced internal contentment. It leads to a life in which a person can confidently accept any challenges or confront any problems which come their way and have the ability to proficiently adapt and prevail over the situation. It leads to a world where each challenge overcome and each obstacle hurdled is merely a learning experience and only serves to make the person stronger. The challenge could be anything from climbing the corporate ladder to finding inner peace; scaling Mount Everest to discovering true love. Whatever the challenge may be, the tools for success lie in literacy and the further one travels down the path from literacy, the wider the path gets; or in other words, the more capable one becomes. These attributes will be particularly essential in the new millennium. We are no longer a community of hunter-gathers, we have evolved into a very complex, technologically advanced society. In the new millennium we face the promise of a rapidly increasing dependency upon computers and technology. Some great literate minds have brought technological advancements to the point we are presently at, and even more adept minds will be required in order to proceed vvith future developments in this increasingly ubiquitous field. In the near future, a person who is compute illiterate may encounter daily obstacles which will disrupt their regular routine. This is not to say one will be unable to live a simple rural or country lifestyle in the new millennium, however, it will definitely be beneficial to have some computer knowledge in such a situation in case one does travel to more populated urban areas for any reason. An incarcerated individual also will greatly benefit from computer education as it will facilitate reintegration upon release. It will open up a myriad of employment opportunities for him or her as well. The contest poster inspires a resolution in me for the new millennium. That resolution is to continue working hard toward achieving my educational goals, and to keep reaching inside myself in search of literacy and the meaning of true freedom. My main vision for the new millennium is to see myself walking down the path from literacy and knowing that the path widens ahead of me, I am growing wiser with each passing day. Andrew Klassen 79

92 LEARNING TO LEARN The twentieth century was a powerful era of learning, making deçisions and conquering ignorance. The tools developed for those with learning disabilities have been enormously effective, and the fight against illiteracy is succeeding. With the rapidly growing technology of the world upon us, ideas are becoming more widespread, and opinions universally known. Making learning a primary quality of all its citizens, nearly any country can guarantee its own profitable future just by knowing that its efforts toward the education if its people have been fulfilled. In this new millennium, as long as learning needs are primary factors in a country's list of expenses, positive economical changes are imminent. Learning enlightens the minds. Everyone at some point in their lives has seen a person who seemed confused or drawn aloof by barriers. The unseen barrier, more powerful than any steel wall, can only be penetrated from the inside. Until that person gains perspective on breaking free, he or she walks in a darker world, where only frowns and torn images of dead ideas exist. The idea of a detached soul from one's body is comparable to a mind which has not been accepting knowledge or education. On he or she will continue, in a smaller world of displeasure, dissatisfaction and inferior self-image unless the "idea" can be implanted. the "idea", or any striking and personal revelation, will alter a person's thought patterns giving perspective change and a new world view. Changes of ideas and convictions are imminent. Overcoming this inner plague of turmoil and self-reluctance is only the first step in learning and the pursuit of the mind's enlightenment. the encouraging part is, it's the only step necessary. Pinpointing the root of someone's obstinacy and helping him or her identify it, could make this learning journey less obstructed. Teachers are the enlivening comfort for those who struggle making connections and following through. In connecting learning with life, one must start making mental connections through communication. Focusing on these connections brings one closer to his or her friends and associates, as well as his or her intimate course of enlightenment. In sharing our inspirations and dismissing so many unnecessary formalities, changing the vacancy of desire is imminent. VVhat is an enlightened mind? Knowledge may be power, but the expulsion of fear of rejection; fear of individuality; and fear of failure is even mor powerful. Once a mind can free itself of these hindrances, then it can begin to fly. Once the weight of personal oppression is lifted, giving confidence to the newly freed mind, it then can begin to soar in any direction it chooses, allowing the uniqueneas of ideas to become ever-present and flowing. An enlightened mind has experienced the basic principles of education and has now involved itself in the search for the terra-incognita: "an unexplored area or region" of, say, the mind-field through investigation of various forms of knowledge. Once new knowledge is sought and assimilated, further change is imminent. 80

93 One cannot sevv unless one knows how to sew. One cannot build unless one knows how to build. One cannot learn unless one knows hovv to learn. Learning: "to gain knowledge of or skill in by study, experience of being taught" is the simple instruction our dictionaries provide but as easy as that sounds, it isn't. Learning appears lucid to some, is elusive to others, but is for everyone, our most arduous of accomplishments. You've got to want a knowledge, any knovvledge, bad enough to say, "Can you help me? I want to know something, to experience it. I want the skill it provides so I can master it. Could you please guide me?" It may even take learned skill to ask simple questions as those above. VVhat is needed, though, is an inspirational influence drawing people's curiosity closer to school and books. Scientific proof or not, reading fifteen minutes every day can change a person's life forever. Change of life as the air one breathes, is imminent. Literaby, or the ability to read and write, is the primary skill of most forms of education. Without it, we would not be able to attend Shakespeare's works, nor to comprehend with the use of footnotes. To experience Shakespeare, or any other playwright or poet, is to live, momentarily, in another vvorld. It is to vvalk about in someone else's dream; to be able to study a writer's passions, perversities and perception. After absorbing multiple works we come to know that for every person born, either a new opinion or a new brilliance has risen. Brilliance is not always about new ideas, more often than not, brilliance is an old idea revvritten with a modern finesse. With this in mind, nothing ever can be trite and tiresome when looked upon vvith fresh eyes. To be fully understood, let us say that for every question ever asked, there is no one solid answer. Calculus has proven if you can believe, that tvvo plus tvvo does not always equal four. For those who must depend on one solution they can trust to be the same the next day, that kind of security cannot be found in this ever-changing vvorld. Theories, judgements, norms and sanctions; all are fluctuating, because as we knovv from past experience, change is imminent.vvhether it is è conscious effort to inhibit one's own ability to read and write or not, it must be made understood that literacy is accessible and achievable to everyone, at any age, and hopefully without cost. The idea of literacy and expanding all types of literary skills is for everyone vvho has notions, feelings or convictions to share. "The power of one" has made its mark, and the more singular people vvho believe their own sentiments have value, the higher vvill be the exchange rate of knowledge leading to the advancement of technology and on to the evolution of the mind's enlightenment. The key to all mankind's' health and happiness could sprout from elementary literacy skills. Changing the world for the better begins with mere suggestions; from there those suggestions are molded by the ideas of all those who come across them. Mold this: Enlightenment is the honesty of one's heart, proposing the search for peace of mind through the acceptance of change. Change, my friends, is imminent. James Ball 81

94 FREEDOM FROM BEING ILLITERATE I would like to start this essay by expressing my amazement at the amount of progress that I have achieved here at Stony Mountain Institution. These last three years of my life have proved to be very beneficial for me. I remember coming in here feeling totally bankrupt and hopeless. I firmly believe today that I've been incarcerated for most of my life because of my being illiterate. If you could take a few moments I would like to share with you how my transformation came about by literally painting a picture of how I was, what I became, and how I have completely turned around because of my educational investments. My earliest memories consisted of a poverty stricken and very violent upbringing surrounded by alcoholism. School for me was simply a means of escaping the constant turmoil I was in. While everyone in my classes seemed to evolve into new dimensions of understanding, I was suffering from hunger pangs, constantly falling asleep, or day dreaming. I felt paralyzed with fear knowing that the bell would soon subject me to the non-ending cycle of abuse. I did not contribute anything positive in my class because I did not have the skills needed to relate properly with others and I spent most of my time making a spectacle of myself in order to find attention or acceptance. From what I gathered at home, good deeds never achieved any acknowledgments. Attention was only received if I were to do something atrocious that affected the security of others. I believe now that my needs were no different than any other of my classmates. I just did not know how to properly express them. I was not encouraged to express myself at home. I was told that this attitude was very disrespectful, and I was severely punished for it. This is probably why I picked up traits of being overly passive and also a people pleaser. Because of my condition I was often ridiculed in school. This in turn brought on additional defense mechanisms. I grew to be very resentful and rebellious. I remember the bouts of depression I suffered over my illiterate condition. I felt very inadequate and rejected. I was plagued with loneliness and I wallowed in self-pity. I started to project blame on every one around me for my condition and assume the role of the victim in order to get my needs met. For a time I intimidated other classmates to do my homework; however, this only resulted in my being expelled from school and severely punished by my parents. 82

95 During this time of my life I gave up on myself. I went from one labor job to another. I heavily used drugs and alcohol to alleviate my stress and cope with my situation. Being illiterate affected my decisions severely. Because I could not read any of the material presented to me, I was committed to deals I couldn't possibly deliver on at the time. I was always pretending to knovv what I was reading in order to save face and look intelligent. I was only fooling myself. I was always making up excuses for not writing anyone that was dear to me. I surrounded myself with material gains in order to project what I thought at the time was successful and normal. I remember feeling so empty. I kept trying to fill that emptiness with anything I could grasp. These methods of coping eventually evolved into criminal activity. This criminal activity only escalated into much more violent criminal activity. I was deteriorating very rapidly over my dilemma. I no longer cared for myself or others. I was riddled with shame and guilt from my past. My primary concern at the time was only to numb out my emotional pain and I stopped at nothing in order to achieve my selfish and self-centered goal. I was quickly heading towards death, insanity or jail. Finally my negative coping strategies caught up to me and landed me three and a half years in a penitentiary. This predicament that I at first looked upon as my most devastating moment has proven to be the actual point of my life. As I recall I had to reach my emotional bottom before I could make any headway towards any positive developments. I was really amazed at how my thinking had drastically changed after I did all the programs my case management team suggested. I had to make my start by identifying what roles I adopted in life that led to my eventual state of hopelessness. I also had to question and re-assess my whole value and belief system. I now have a new understanding of myself as well as others. I am in possession of new positive coping mechanisms that I now constantly use to properly deal with my most relevant issues. I have accumulated a few years of sobriety. I have adopted thought-stopping techniques, avoidance strategies, and communication and listening skills. I now know how to challenge the thoughts that plague my mind with self-destructive messages. I am now in the understanding that no one else is responsible for the way I feel. I make the choices. I now use my anger to determine what it is in me that is hurt and what I need to focus more attention on. I have finally laid my past to rest and I no longer play mind games in order to have my needs met. In school my grades started to soar. Lights I never knew existed started to go on in my mind. I gradually developed an insatiable appetite for knowledge. I now have a very firm belief that there is nothing I can not accomplish if I put my mind to it. 83

96 In conclusion, when I look back I can see now that I've made my time work for me rather than just doing time. Through determination, hard work and application I have accumulated my High School Equivalency Diploma this past November. I have general knovvledge of computers. I have been able, through escorted temporary absences and my teachers' recommendations, to procure myself a position at the Technical Community College on my upcoming statutory release date. I am so grateful for all of the help I have received. With my teachers' persistence toward my rehabilitation I have been able to hurdle through obstacles I would not have ever dreamed possible in the past. For once in my life I feel free. Free from the illiteracy that bound me into low-self esteem, menial jobs, negative influences and negative coping mechanisms. It feels so great now to be able to honestly express and explain myself positively as well as to be understood. I no longer need to resort to the prehistoric means of communication I relied on in the past that only led to further frustrations and confusions. I feel very confident that with all this new found knowledge that I have worked very hard to achieve, I will finally progress in a positive fashion. I will be able to make positive decisions, weigh the pros and cons, ask the right questions, and lead a very resourceful, successful and law abiding lifestyle. I thank you for the time you have allotted me in order to share my experiences with you. I hope that my message also reaches a lost soul who is faced with the same difficulties I was once up against only a few years ago. Only by surrendering have I been able to soar towards a new destination of understanding. What once started as a mere trickle has now progressed into a flood of knowledge. I now am gifted with a powerful new confidence and belief that the road ahead of me is indeed a lot brighter than I could have ever imagined it to be. Richard Schryer 84

97 LITERACY IN THE MILLENNIUM The poster contest poses the question: In the outlook of the new millennium, what views of literacy does the poster inspire in myself? I believe as we enter a new millennium, literacy is the buried treasure that most people seek. More and more people need to grab this gift before their boat sinks. Lack of enlightenment towards informative knowledge needs to be addressed around the planet. The problem is still growing at a pace when technical skilfulness is escalating throughout the working class. There are many people who are not computer-literate. They need to know the basics of the power that later will superintend humankind. The younger generations need to learn their literacy diction, so their futures are full of lustrous shine not melancholy sadness. People with low literacy skills have much higher rates of unemployment. They are more likely to lose their jobs. Many individuals don't have the skills to cope if their current job vanishes. Many of these people are all the more vulnerable because they don't realize the extent to which their employability and earning potential is at risk. Many of the unskilled jobs are disappearing (e.g. fishing, mining, forestry), and the demand for literacy skills is rising in the workplace. VVell-paying, secure jobs require high levels of skills and credentials. People without strong literacy skills may have trouble improving their work skills to meet the technological demands of new jobs. The gap between the level of literacy skills required by growth industries and the present skills of our workplace is growing. It is a sad fact that many more people will be replaced by machines in the future. I can still recall the very first time I was stationed at a computer. It was a Commodore 64, and I was in grade 4. I had never seen anything like it. It was very large in size and had a black and yellow screen. You had to make a turtle do everything. In the last ten years they have changed so drastically. Even fifteen years ago there was no such word as Internet. Computers have written their own dictionary on computer generated words alone. Today's society has all sorts of different computers that are new everyday. Look at the bar code detector in shopping malls, or paying your bills on the Internet. You can do anything from purchasing products to letting millions of people see your picture. When the millennium was close to an end, the world panicked like never before. Y2K vvas the evil that could do and did much damage to the world. Billions of dollars were spent on this event. Computers are everyvvhere in every day life. We cannot live without them now. Therefore it is very important that people keep up with the times. Computer literacy is just as if not more important than actual reading. Literacy must be achieved before beginning to understand computers themselves. You have to know how to read in the 21' century. The rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer. Illiterate people will fall into the poor category more and more as technology takes over the planet. There will be men who no longer think they are men because they can't take care of their families. 85

98 The problem will only grow and grow as the future nears every second. When you go out to buy a computer, there is already one better to be sold the next week. There are many advantages of what the future holds. Now is the time, the time is now to get with the program and help the less fortunate. Learning is the key to happiness. The facts hurt, they hurt badly. 48% of Canadians have low literacy skills. That is almost half of our Canadian population. 20% of recent high school students have literacy skills to low for entry-level jobs. 22% of Canadians have trouble comprehending every day reading material and numbers. There must be something going drastically wrong in our school system. 80% of Canadians 65 years of age and older have low literacy skills. That goes to show how much more and more literacy skills have vvorked their way into our economy. Literacy problems cost Canadian employers $4 billion per year and the country 10 billion. These are merely a few of the statistics that come from one of the most literate countries in the world. \Ne need to have all literacy problems looked into. Third world countries will fall further back as time moves on. They need help, every one who doesn't know how to read must learn. Most people have serious difficulty dealing with printed materials. Low literacy also has a major negative impact on health. This is because even their basic skills are very low. These people would have trouble giving even a simple dose of aspirin to their child. People with low literacy skills have problems understanding health information unless it is clearly presented and linked to their realities. There are so many positives you can get out of literacy. Jobs become plentiful, life becomes easier, health and self esteem rises. When I now look at the poster in my classroom, I only see the shiny bright side. I don't like looking at the darker, gloomy side but it shows how people can change. Humans can change for the better. That is why we are the superior beings on this planet. As a society, we need to do a few small things that can help the change. By increasing our understanding of the links between literacy and health, people can live a longer more fulfilling life. VVe need to advertise and develop more partnerships between society and literacy organizations. Also to support children and adults to develop and improve their literacy skills. To empower people by using clear language and participatory approaches to help in learning. To also take action on structural factors, such as poverty, that adversely affects both literacy and the health of people. The world does indeed need a helpful hand when dealing with these issues. I don't know what it would be like not knowing how to read. It has to be one of the most difficult disabilities to live with. Someday, hopefully the world will be cured of this and people can live more peacefully with each other and themselves Keith Tracey

99 LITERACY 2000 CONTEST When people ask me to sit down and write an essay I usually look at them and my usual sacrilegious response is "Yeah right!!", but vvhen my teacher asked the class to write an essay about the Literacy 2000 poster, I thought "Well, why not?" seeing as how there isn't anything better to do in view of the fact that all I do around here is sit around. When I first saw the poster I wasn't sure of what to write, but as time ran on and the more that I looked at the poster, ail these contrasting images kept on going off in my head. The first one that I thought of was that I couldn't stop thinking about how, over the past couple of years since I dropped out of school, my life has taken a completely different road. I lost all interest in reading or anything that had to do with educational material. I went from a good student to one that just completely hated school. Looking back on all of this I can't help but laugh at myself for being so stupid. Today, four years later, I've gotten my GEO and I read again, instead of looking at life through dark colorless eyes, I look at life like it was intended to be, like one big painting with watercolors everyvvhere. I'm happy to be me instead of walking with my head down! The other thing that I saw when I looked into this poster was the fact that one side was dark and one side was color. I like that!! Just like the world that the younger and the older generations are living in today, the good and then there is the bad. I look at this world that we have to live in and the changes that the older generations are going through. I remember how when I went to school, we didn't learn things through a computer, but we learned through what most people have forgotten, BOOKS!! Now days, our society is learning everything through the computer. Everyday they are putting something new on the Internet, which leaves the older generation wondering where the good old days went, leaving them in the dark not really knowing where to run, lets say a computer operated combine or mill. The younger people, as my gramps used to say, "Don't know how lucky they are!!" But the big question that many people forget to ask is "Old the younger generations really have everything that easy?" To answer this question all that I really have to say is that as a younger person, I do not think that we really have everything all that easy. Some of us still have a hard time reading due to the fact that we had to go to work to help bring home enough of the green to help with the family, but at the same time go to school!! Or some of us had to work hard in the fields at spring thaw out and again at harvest, or help to look after cattle, that is if you live on a farm. For myself, I left out on my own to support myself so that my parents could support my younger siblings. Yeah, yeah I know, I shouldn't be using this as an excuse. But like I said, with all the new technology coming out on the market these days, how can a person actually stay caught up with the latest models? 87

100 Then there is always the money! Now days money is always in the picture, whether a person likes to admit it or not. "It takes money to make money." For myself in order to have money I stole and it wound me up in places like where I'm at today. Being in here I have acquired my GED, and now I can hopefully go on to further my education so that I can do something with my life. When a person actually looks at it, the money that is used on experiments or that is spent to buy the pope a new car could be used on something better than something that can be used to pollute the air. Things like writing pads, pens, pencils, books for learning, to teach the less fortunate kids and adults how to spell their names and do mathematical equations. The questions that have always been on my mind since grade school was "If they are so worried about starvation and drought, why not send over the old equipment that they throw away into scrap heaps, send them overseas and teach them how to drive them and teach them how to harvest to make a living for themselves? VVhy spend money to make shuttles and spaceships to send guys into space, when we got enough problems as it stands on this planet. With the lack of education, teach illiterate people to read and write and make this planet a livable place, instead of just going out to cause problems with who knows what? All the questions that I have asked in this letter are all questions that came up when I looked at the poster for this years literacy contest. But vvhen a person gets there education and can look back at there lives and see for themselves how far they have come then they can say that they can be like the guy on the colored side of the poster, hands up in the air thanking God for the chance to make something of there lives, and being able to help the next guy that they see so that maybe the next guy can help somebody else and so on and so forth. But in order to be as happy as that guy what should you do? Well to some it up in as few letters as possible, go to your nearest school and register, and finish your schooling. Then if you so desire go to College or a University. But the key to all of this is stay in and don't be a loser like me and think about it later on in life and regret what you did, by then it just might be too late. Tell your children, nieces, nephews, brothers, or sisters that school is cool. Dropping out isn't, regardless who you are, and in the long run, years from now, you'll remember these little words of advice as you sit behind a nice big desk. Or are you gonna be the one that reads this while sleeping in a back alley? Steven Wolfe 88

101 ODE TO THE POSTER Our nation of Canada, has produced a poster in order to encourage, stimulate and/or, perhaps threaten personal education. One might think that from this poster, great and mighty deeds of mental prowess could possibly take place. The poster, in and of itself, is so none committal to anything, save for it's vague gender suggestions that the vast majority of today's human type beings, would find this papyrus insulting to the grey matter. In this day and age, when man as a species has set foot upon the very surface of the moon, how can any of even the smallest of intelligence, cast an eye upon this ghastly abomination and not wince visibly, thereby providing a physical testament to the embarrassment? Has this sterile approach been genuinely approved? Is there some dark force at work here? Should we not immediately arm ourselves to the teeth with some variety of this earth's vast arsenal? Let us glance at this poster and see what it does present. I have looked. Yes, I have dared lay sober eyes on yon paper vixen. It is not a vixen. It is sterile. It gives me no great desire for nothing. I am not impassioned to venture forth and compile many know ledges. I am bored by this visage. I am saddened that this country would actually spent money on this. VVhen I think of all the insanity that has been presented to me with the grand sum being my federal incarceration, I've no recourse but to literally shutter. I look to this poster and my mind says " O.K., so the courts insisted that it was not a little gun but rather one that was relatively large and now, merely sawed-off.". I look at this poster and my mind can admit that there just may very well have been a very few and slight, if not quaint, discrepancies between my personal enjoyments and some local law enforcements. On this note, one may draw the conclusion that this is merely a method in which this government wishes to discreetly express it's "not so groovatron" abstract attitude toward my past behavior... unless they have me confused with someone else. I should let them know of this gross error. I am certain they will remove this monstrous monument to nothing once they know of whomever's clerical error. Why, they may even hang the poor devil for it... I wonder if I can get good seats to that? If I was to put myself in the shoes of the creator of the poster, what would have to happen in order that I make something of this nature? VVell, first off, Id suppose that I might have to have been and remained a virgin until some very late point in life. This incredible condition may very well have been compounded by a modestly proportioned phallic ailment. I would have to have had a great many unwarranted haircuts to assist in this personality disorder. My paternal figures must have named me Simon, Philip, Stanley or some monstrous moniker that got my ass kicked all through my academic campaign. Now I would have desperately 89

102 wanted to succeed as the past would dictate. I would need to overcome my lack of feminine conquest, athletics, mechanical skills, interactive abilities and so on and so forth. Dear god, why did this poor creature continue with existence? The hell it must have been for this loser?! VVas this poster his final counter attack upon the very society that scorned him ( or perhaps her ] from youth? There are "depths" here that should, for the good of mankind, be let unaddressed.literacy 2000/ towards reintegration... a hope a threat... a plan... a lie... a shinny bauble to conceal some fiendish plot? You can look for yourself, those words will be found on this cadaver of thought. Literacy 2000/ towards reintegration, let us ponder the possibility that this is an actual intention. We must now ask ourselves "To what end?". VVe must confront the motive behind this endeavor. Who is it that, perhaps even now, that would strive to plot for our tomorrow? The fiend must have allies and/or cohorts who aid, help and assist as they are in cahoots with this ner' do well. Do we defend ourselves? The mind reels with enormity of it all. This is truly a ghastly plan made to undo all our doings! You must flee good people. You must run average citizen. You must not lay about. Do not worry, everything is just fine oh fair politician ergo, remain right there. VVe should'head for the hills and not tell anyone. It is already agreed that we will invariably get there at very different times but please remember, we all go and we tell no one. This alone can save us from that which waits in the dark. VVe must all join hands in silent prayer and forget about all lining up on the British Columbian coast and stampeding all the fat people into the Saint Lawrence River for our amusement. There is contained within the boundaries of this poster, a large book/building. If you look at the poster carefully, you can see the very chemists themselves, hard at work employing their secret mind altering drugs to the masses. To this end, we may take time to query these men who would work so hard and commit themselves so unselfishly that the rest of us may become mindless robots of our own free will. To these dedicated men and women who have sold out their fellow human beings for mere and petty financial gain, we say a hearty "Good show!". Yes, thanks to these individuals who would not do so much as to write even a modest suicide note for their own kind, we may all hail the new day as the drones we are all soon to be. Heed happily my words while you can for the day of the wild imbecile is over. The rampant idiot is to be domesticized enmass. I vaguely recall how my very IQ seemed to drop as I read the short note. The glory of numbness shall be ours. It has been ordained by those not quite as skilled in the finer arts of lazing about, sun tanning, alcoholism etc, etc, etc. No longer shall man and woman have to domineer their limited mental capabilities with things like politics, human rights, fish and chalk. VVe, as a people shall be free to be nothing and do as we are told... haircuts aren't so bad... mmm...i'm sleepy. Nighty night. Virgil Big Eagle 90

103 UNTITLED light (literacy). The poster, Literacy 2000, brings a certain theme to mind ie. A journey from darkness (illiteracy) to For someone who cannot read or write, it could be compared to living in a state of darkness, as opposed to a passage or journey into light or literacy. The wealth of knowledge available in books can, through literacy be accessed by someone with a desire and ability to learn to read and write. The doors of self-expression through which one passes as one learns to read and write open unto a world not yet experienced by an illiterate person. At any age, learning to read and write can yield unending joy and a wealth of knowledge, as light illuminates the darkness. What bliss awaits someone who previously could not read nor write! As an adult whose world of experience thus far had been limited to what he/she had seen, yet lacking the ability to be heard or touched - unwraps the "layers of the onion" as it were, ie. To discover through reading the variety of human endeavor e.g. science, history, architecture, literature, etc, what wonders indeed await the person learning to read and write. From basic literacy through to advanced education, the rewards of this journey as one learns are almost limitless. It is through such darkness [illiteracy) that one journeys as one learns at first the most basic literacy skills, and then, over a period of time, the deeper, more meaningful wealth of knowledge which one acquires as one advances in literacy skills. Literacy opens the doors even more widely to the realm of future human experience e.g. The world of commerce, law, medicine, etc. or whatever field of endeavor, one chooses to pursue. Imagine if you will, what darkness a person is confined within, when the bonds of illiteracy restrain one's movement from entering the light (literacy). No matter what one's age or position in life, the ability to read and write, opens the doors and windows of knowledge and literacy experience ever wider. The journey itself, once started, brings one face to face with yet unrevealed companions. In the year 2000, as we enter a new millennium, it is only natural to reflect upon the level of literacy in our society. 91

104 The real challenge which confronts us is what we do, as inhabitants of this society as it relates to the need for a significant increase in the level of literacy in Canada. Our heritage as compassionate, peace-loving people helps us to focus on the ever-increasing demands of our society, especially concerning the need for increased literacy in this ever-changing, complex world. The Canada-Arm; years of wonder-reowned statesmen, scientists, doctors, etc; are symbols of our national accomplishments yet we currently are reminded of the ever-vvidening gap between the "haves" and the "have-nots". Homelessness, hunger, drug abuse, and violent crime, are constant reminders of the ills of modern society. At the very basis of possible solutions to these complex problems lies the wealth of knowledge and technological capabilities which must be accessed first and foremost through literacy. \A/ithout the basic skills of literacy and communication, an ever-increasing number of Canadians are lockedout of a future for an improved quality of life. As was experienced by many early settlers in this vast country which today, we proudly call Canada, the darkness of illiteracy is indeed being changed, by the ever-widely path of light, illuminated by the increase in our levels of literacy. When darkness shrouds the ability to see clearly what opportunities exist, we as a people must concern ourselves with lighting the path to a better, brighter tomorrow. Education as we know it today, has advanced continuously over the past decades. Yet the level of literacy in this country needs to be increased in order to meet the ever-changing demands of our complex society. Do we dare not heed this call? Can we afford to turn our eyes away from the need for this basic set of skills called literacy, without which greater numbers of our citizens are kept in darkness? What role will each of us play in meeting this tremendous demand to bring greater light to our fellow Canadians? Which do you prefer to do, shine light into the darkness, or let the darkness become more pervasive? The choice to become involved with increasing the levels of literacy in our modern society, on an individual or group basis is one which each of us must make. What will your choice be? Dennis Pettigrew 92

105 LITERACY When I look into the picture I see a lot of different feelings and emotions, not only from the individual but also from the scenery. I believe the ideal way for me to express what I see in the picture is to explain what I see on one half of the poster and compare it to what I see on the other side. I will try to express what I believe this individual is feeling. On one hand I believe he is in turmoil and utter despair, while on the other hand he is also feeling great joy. I shall start with the side that which I believe is the start of this individuals problems. On this half of the picture I think the individual is actually seeing and feeling all of these negative images of his own free will. I feel that a lot of illiterate people may at some point in their life be at this stage of depression. Literacy is part of everyday life for almost all people. Many people who havent had the opportunity to learn to read and write may feel a lot of anguish daily as words and writing are almost everywhere in the world today. As I look into the picture I see a lot of misery and shame as this individuals perception of the world is not a very happy place to live. The picture portrays a lot of harsh details such as the leafless trees, and the gloomy sky. The sun is not shining, and the building he is entering looks run down and not very inviting. Now I shall share with you what I perceive on the other side of the picture which is almost totally different to the person in scenery and feeling. The sun is shining, there are birds in the sky, the trees are filled with leaves, the building is well maintained and a very inviting place it seems. A lot of the feelings the individual had are gone as he is almost jumping for joy. The way he is feeling may be because the person has learned to read and write and feels there is a whole new world opening up for him, a world where he does not feel inadequate or looked upon. He can now go into a restaurant and read the menu, read the signs on the street, or he may just want to go home and read a book. The place he sees himself in now is not one of self pity he now feels good about himself. That is what I see when I look into this picture. Literacy is not a prize or a punishment is the basics of all life. Literacy has been around longer than both you and I it will also be around when you and I are gone. There are a lot of individuals in all walks of life who are unable to learn literacy whether it is because of disabilities or no schools. But I believe all people need the chance to learn as literacy is still going to be one of the basic tools in all life now and in the future. Thank you. Byron Genaille 93

106 A DREAM FOR THE FUTURE Throughout history, our most priced achievements have been based on peoples dreams. Our race has had some of the same dreams for thousands of years, which in the last century have only now begun to become reality. Since the dawn of time man has dreamed of flying through the air, the Wright Brothers made that a reality in 1903, in the modern world that dream is achieved daily. We dreamed of going to the moon, Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon in 1969, his words became legendary: "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind".before that we dreamed of crossing the ocean, Christopher Columbus left Spain and discovered North America in Some dreams though have taken the efforts of many famous historian's to fulfill. Abraham Lincoln brought his country to civil war, it was to be the last stage in the great American revolution, to end slavery, to in fact make all men equal as in 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote in The Decoration of Independence. In 1865, the northern states won and slaves were freed. However, the fight would go on. A hundred years later leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm 'X', and Rosa Parks, amongst many others contributed to gaining equal rights for black people. Yet we still dream, we dream of world peace, ending hunger, curing decease, stopping global pollution, walking on Mars, ending prejudice, and amongst many others, to forever eliminate global illiteracy. Literacy 2000 is based on a dream, a dream that hopefully will soon become reality. The dream is that everybody, regardless of all discriminations, will one day be able to read and write. This is in part demonstrated by the picture poster Literacy 2000 has chosen for its mission. The picture is of a school, which in appearance is like any other, however it is actually a book. There is a division of impressions which runs straight through the poster. One side of the picture is well lite and inviting in appearance, where as the other is gloomy, expressing sadness, hopelessness, and difficulty. On the left side (the gloomy side), there is a man approaching the school, his head is down and appears to be walking slow. The world around him is dark, the trees have no leaves, and grass is no longer bright, even the sky is grey. This represents the symbolic struggle of any illiterate person who is attempting to overcome his/her weakness or fear. On the other side of the poster the sun is shining, trees are full, and grass is green. The same man is now running out of the school hands in the air, appearing to be quite enthusiastic at what he has just achieved. VVith this difficult task now behind him, he knows he has succeeded. It is a new day, and he has the world to conquer. Spring has brought everything anew once more. It has been said that you can not judge a book by its cover, even when the cover has a picture on it. However, the difficult struggle any illiterate person is attempting to overcome, in learning how to read and write is quite obvious. It is their dream, and like all dreams worthwhile, it must be wanted and strived for. 94

107 The written language is amongst mankind's best inventions, without it we would all be lost. It was second only to speech, and is still perhaps our best form of self-expression. It has brought us closer to one another through the hearts of great poets, and into the minds and souls of outstanding authors of our time. Even wars have come to a sudden end by the simple delivery of a letter signed by the Queen, President, or significant other. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, the ability to read is amongst the most important and priceless gifts you will ever receive. Most of us don't remember how hard it was to learn, particularly in a language where rules seem to have no application or influence. However, it is most certain that none of us would give up now, especially not now that we know just what we are capable of by using such an awesome ability. Think of all you've ever learnt by reading. The lesson taught to you through literacy arts, the morals you have learnt from amazing authors who you now most certainly admire, how they've touched you, and possibly even changed you. What if you had never had the opportunity to read such works? Imagine we lived in a time when the government controlled what we could of could not read. Personal opinions and controversial information would be banned from being expressed with other people who such matters concerned. The people's voice would no longer be heard and the media would not be free. We could no longer openly criticize the people that represent us, our views and this country. This is what literature is about, expression. How would you explain to someone who is unable to read what it is all about? Well, it is about learning, and escaping. It makes you love, cry, laugh or hate, and some authors make you do all that at once. You read to really listen, because you want to and are able to. And what makes these authors write? They write to teach, and offer comfort and support, to help heal, to tell a story and share a gift, to love, and to leave something of themselves behind for the rest of the world. Literature is a beautiful thing that must be shared yet treasured. At birth we were all blessed with the gift of an imagination, this was not given to us without purpose. It is there to have fun and be creative with, and remains one of the human race's most powerful qualities. It is not censored and obviously should not be. Literature comes from the imagination, literature is creativity, literature is truly about life. 95

108 Yet there are still millions of people in the world who don't even know the alphabet, let alone being able to enjoy reading a great novel. So the question must be asked, why? Why in the world have these millions of men, women, and children not learnt the gift that we now all take for granted? This question asked generally maybe responded to as "Well, people in third world countries haven't the resources to be able to teach every single individual how to read and write." Being the case it is extremely unfortunate, however it is probably a simple excusable reality to deny the truth. That most of us, generally speaking, do not care enough for one another's physical/psychological well-being to grant them such a beautiful gift that in turn would cost us all so little. A gift/their wish that could in turn potentially aid our world, and help us all. Throughout history there have been very few great leaders who were able to change our perception of things for the better, but were unable to read or write. It is certain that there are children out there in third world countries who are illiterate, but who still have dreams. And it is their dreams, and the dreams of all children alike, that will build our world's future empires and further global progress. Yet, even in our own countries, so called "First Nations", we have hundreds of thousands of people who are unable to read or write. What is the problem? Is it really that we don't spend enough money to maintain a good form of health care and education? That the people we elect to further our country's progress are insufficient for the job, and unfortunately remain more occupied with their concern of national protection and resources than we are with our children and our neighbors children, their future's and well-being's? Or is it more in the individual homes, the lack of support, and means for a good education that cause this downfall of great nations? Perhaps it is in the school system itself, like all systems time passes and things must change. Is one teacher to thirty students really adequate? Do we really allow our children to express themselves as well as we should? And what is the point of striving for post secondary education when you get there just to find out that the professors are people too, and have problems of their own, and if forced to strike, they will. Such in fact seems to be happening more and more frequently now in our world, than it did in our parents or grandparents world. So here we are, only months away from stepping into a new millennium through a symbolic and metaphoric moment in time known as the twenty first century. Unfortunately we still have one of our feet stuck in a hole filled with all our old problems. If we expect too much from this new era my friends, it is bound that we shall trip and fall. 96

109 So much needed information is sent to the public through the form of vvritten language. For someone who is unable to read such information, it vvould be extremely difficult to function as well as anybody else in their society. Being unable to read the directions on a bottle of medication, sings on the road, or important legal documents one must sign during the course of one's life creates difficulty. Illiteracy must be a terribly embarrassing thing for anyone to live with, especially in our society vvhen literacy is so needed and expected. The unexpected is not expected. Yet, there are still millions world vvide who are unable to read or write. One illiterate person is an unfortunate thing, but millions is globally devastating. Because of the above, the numbers, the lack of resources and lack of caring, it can not be a date or time that everything vvill change global literacy can not come overnight. Like anything worthwhile it must be vvanted and strived for. It's a battle, and vvith that said it's a battle vve must vvin, regardless of time, energy or money. VVe must conquer what holds us back so that we can move on, and evolve as a people into something greater. VVe are about to enter the twenty first century, the dawn of a nevv era and millennium, but there are still many things that must be done to humanize our people. \Ne must learn to really care for one another, to see ourselves and everyone else as equals. It is time to see our faults so we can fix them. VVe must save our children for they are the future. We must set our goals high and keep our heads at the same height. VVe still have many dreams to fulfill before we have conquered all the injustices of the world. VVe have a lot to do, let's continue doing it. I once had a dream... I dreamt I had been to the mountain top, and looked over, I saw the promised land. It will be a hard struggle for us to get there, I may not get there with you, but I know as a people we will one day make it (based on a quotation Martin Luther King, Jr., once said). And from that day on we shall forever live in true happiness and contentment, in an era of peace, without decease, corruption, hunger, crime or greed. A time that has taken two thousand some years to come, and it will come. Because I, like all other children of the world, I too have a dream... Keith Darlington 97

110 LITERACY IN THE NEW MILLENNIUM What is literacy? It means that without it people today would not know how to read or write or do sign language. VVithout literacy one would not know how to deal with everyday life or be able to deal with problems. It would also mean not knowing how to do this essay. It would be good to know this because you would know how to write, use the computer, and organize your work to get you somewhere in life. In the poster I see a man, on the left side, entering a world of life that really does not have any meaning. It might mean that he is in jail with few or no literacy skills. Everything around him looks bare-trees with no color and the sun is not shining. He is entering this world with little or no meaning to life. Secondly the "open book" is significant to me. It means everyone in the world should know that books are "open" or available to them. Everybody should know how to read. People can enhance these skills by going to the library, reading to their kids, reading the paper, or taking a course. So take advantage of it so that you can get somewhere in life. Thirdly, the other half of the poster represents a man who is jumping for joy. The sun is shining brightly, the grass is green, and everything looks alive! The man is jumping for happiness because he is released from the dark world of no knowledge. He is literate. In conclusion, the written language is among one of the greatest of mankind's invention. VVithout it, people would be lost. It is a necessity to know, because it will get you somewhere in life. Most of all, it will keep you out of jail! Corey Broney 98

111 LITERACY IN THE NEW MILLENNIUM Many of us may look upon our posters and come up with a blank expression. What is it they ( the teachers and correctional services ) want me to see when I view dark then bright piece of art? Do others see myself in this sort of light, do I? VVhat is it that makes me different, how can I relate? This paper is about trying to understand the ups and downs one may face to become literate. Our journey to understanding begins... If you were to take our posters and cut them down the middle ( simply put ) a negative and positive view of literacy stands out. The negative side of the poster being the left with the right side being positive. We all understand this because we are to be interpreted as bad, some may say, the evil of life, or scared of the unknown. First lets discuss what the person in the poster may be feeling on the negative side of the picture. Walking slowly with slumped shoulders towards literacy which is dark, unknown and feels like a hard uphill battle, not knowing if he or she will make it. Everything around them is morbid, and it is terrifying to think of going through the door alone, not knowing what to expect. VVhat could the person be thinking; I'm not good enough or smart enough to succeed, reading is too hard, I'm to old to start now, I don't care, nobody believes in me. Well my friend, I only have this to say about negativity. Storm clouds pass, where old trees die, new ones take their place and rocks blocking your path can be turned to dust. Your will is stronger, why look, you are at the door of literacy beginning the first step in changing your direction of life forever, you beat your fears, now onward to literacy and success! "Positive." Even the world sounds refreshing, as it allows us to cast aside anger, guilt, and blame. Now we begin to understand through reading, writing that the more we learn and comprehend, the easier learning becomes. VVe no longer blame others for our downfalls (such as teachers that told us we would not amount to much). Wow I can learn, everyone was wrong, I can do it! For the person in the poster, becoming literate has changed everything, their understanding of the world has become a joyful experience and being able to read is one of the greatest tools they now possess. So many avenues of life have opened up, I can be anything I want to be, for once I feel alive, the world has so much to offer! WA understand this is the way the person feels because on the right side of the poster there are a lot of changes. The book (a symbol of education) has become a bright place of learning, no longer to be feared but instead embraced! The bright colors and the beauty of new life suggest a new start. The path no longer is an uphill battle, just an easy stroll taking you anywhere you wish to go. Gone are the slumped shoulders, instead replaced with uplifted arms of joy and a run that cries "Here I am, I have won, I am literate!". The person is free to pursue dreams that may been thought impossible but now have been and are attainable. 99

112 Even though we have divided the poster in two sections (negative and positive) one important part still remains to be addressed. The top of the poster is blue which tells me that there is always hope for everyone no matter race or their differences. Where the pages of the book go from dark to light, I believe this is only to show that as we learn it becomes easier to understand what it is exactly we are learning, no longer are they just "words" but instead ideas corresponding with our imagination allowing us to vision what an author may be trying to create through their use of literacy. It is a wonderful thing indeed to be able to read and write. Literacy allows even the most shy person to express themselves in ways never thought of. To some literacy brings an inner peace which is indescribable. VVe only have to try and reach out for our goals and we will attain them. The book I believe represents a multi-model theory of intelligence. Also it may represent a multitude range of literacy such as, school grades 1 through12, a trade school, university. They all have one thing in common, to help all of us in correctional programs to believe in ourselves. We can do it and we are being given that chance, embrace it, don't be scared of the unknown. Think of the unknown as exciting! I truly enjoyed the Munsell color system. I believe this helps all of us understand better what is really going on in the poster and because of this visual stimulation we are able to use our imagination to write our ideas down on paper for all to understand, like I am now. With technology advancing so rapidly we are going to see great changes in literacy throughout the world and correctional services. Mankind in the next one hundred years will be subject to reprogramming in order to fix genetic problems which cause some crimes. Crimes will be preventative before people are even aware that they are capable of committing them. I look forward to the future and an end of literacy, learning I believe will be a matter of loading a program and down loading it directly into a persons brain. All I know is that for the past few hundred years because we are able to advance our technology and adjust to its applications there is no limit to what we can do, there will be an end to illiteracy! Nicholas Dmyterko 100

113 DEFINING THE THREE R'S A person entering the front gate of any prison for the first time as an offender, does not actually know the severity of the situation that they have put themselves in, much less the meaning and value of the three R's. The prisons are being flooded with a new young breed of brash inmate that has a lack of respect for anyone and anything, much less having respect for themselves. The days of the older con are quite similar to that of the dinosaur. They are on the endangered species list heading for extinction. They care not to teach the new lot the error of their ways, to spare the youngsters the misery, strife, and turmoil that they have had to endure due to taking the wrong turns in the roller-coaster called life. Sure the greenhorns have made a bad decision or choice to land them in lock-up. There are many tough choices and decisions to make though, before the front gate shines on them again from the outside, if in fact it ever will. The first choice is do I want to be an individual or a follower. Am I going to learn from my mistake and grow to be a better, wiser person, or am I going to play pied piper and follow the larger percentage of inmates who are playing wanna-be gangsters with pipe dreams of that one big score that will put them on easy street for the rest of their days. That first choice will be the map that will show where their life will be ten, twenty, or even fifty years from now. The person who chooses to be a Clyde Barrow or a Lucky Luciano cannot even begin to acknowledge their own ignorance. Yes, you can run with the pack and be buzzed on home brew, or get stupid on drugs. You could even mule in drugs or make and carry a weapon. VVhen the chips are down though, you may be expected to shank or pipe someone, or even extinguish another person's life. You may even be tested by having to hold down some girlish looking young boy while the click pulls the train on him. Then again it may even be you that the boys pull the train on you. You could even end up working at the oldest profession known to man, selling your body to pay for some dope-dummy's habit. \Norse yet, that dope-dummy could even be you. You quite possibly may be challenged to be a stand-up guy and have to partake of a hostage taking or riot, screaming out for better food or the right to more privileges. Then again, you may end up in a body bag at the morgue because someone thinks you know to much and feel you cannot be trusted so you need to be permanently muzzled. You may even reach the point where you just cannot handle any more so you pull the pin and self-destruct, taking your own life. The person who decides to be an individual will work on getting their schooling up to par so that they may have the choice of college or university if so desired. They may even decide to get a trade so that they will have employable work skills to earn their keep upon release. They may even get honest with themselves and take programming for an addiction or anger and behavioral problem. Or get counseling for deep rooted problems that may be the stumbling blocks in their lives. Even basic living skills or decision making and 101

114 assertiveness training will help the person wanting to change. Quite possibly you could be totally baffled be the test of persevering prison life and look to divine guidance from various spiritual advisors afforded you. You may seek direction through the various outreach programs that caring volunteers offer; as well as their time, energy and hard work; with not as much as a thank you expected in return. There are numerous avenues to take to help scope and change the past mistakes and help you to reinforce that life has more to offer you, and that you have more to offer life. The three R's can have two meanings for any incarcerated person. It can be defined as robbery, rape, and riot, which may never allow you the opportunity to know that there is a big, beautiful world waiting to be explored and conquered by you. Or it can mean reading, writing, and arithmetic that will just be the start of a priceless pilgrimage in life that holds no boundary of possibility's. How will you define the three R's. Ernie Jensen 102

115 OUR PAST VERSUS OUR FUTURE In my eyes the picture in front of me says several things. It speaks of our past, present as well as our possible future on the subject of literacy, as well as the benefits of it, not just in our country but all around the world. I see the clear and positive change that can take place when a person is given the tools of reading and writing. I also see the message that we as a world must continue to pursue this goal for the sake of all. I would remind those who read this that these are the views of what I see and another person could see a totally different message. As I look at this picture I see the past when the major part of the world could not read or write and an education of any type was reserved for the rich only. In these times the basic idea was to keep certain classes of people separated and the basic skill of reading and writing was an effective way of doing this. Next is our present day where the scales are tipped and the majority in our country have a basic education or at least this is what we think. It is true these days far more people have at least a basic education and that is a clear improvement from the past. However this is just a start and we must continue to remind ourselves that there are still many people all over the world who can not read or write. There are those among us that would say that those who lack the basic skills have made the decision to not learn these skills and therefore we can do nothing. This is too easy an answer and it falls short of what we are able to do in today's world. An education allows the person to see with a new set of eyes and not just something's, but all things in their lives. This lesson has been learned by the Correctional system and is currently a major part of the process of rehabilitation. These days the idea is to provide a person with the opportunity to earn an education as well as with courses to teach the person a new way of thinking. These days the number of people who leave the Correctional system without some sort of increased education are few. In turn the number of people returning to the courts are less each year. There are those out there who would point out to me that some people choose not to receive an education and that is their right. However I put to you as a society that we have therefore failed in showing these people the value of an education and we should continue to pursue this goal as long as there are people out there who lack the skills the rest of us have. To read and write is the basis of understanding and without these skills a person is blind, it is our duty as a society to help them see. Our rights are clear to us and all we need to realize is that there are some who have fallen between the cracks and they are not lost to us nor is this a burden to us. We should look at the task of seeing to it that all people are given a proper education as a challenge rather then a hardship. No goal is too great and 103

116 the idea of all people in the world seeing their dreams come true is a large step towards the future in a positive way. Just think, with all the people of the world educated we would have far more minds working to their fullest towards solving problems such as starvation and illness, as well as better ways to care for our natural resources. As a whole we would have far less crime and be able to help ourselves in ways we could only dream of today. I truly feel the day will arrive that the world will look at problems such as starvation and illness as a thing of the past. When this day does come we will see each other in a different light and focus on other issues of importance. We have done well so far yet we do have a way to go before we can say that no one in our world lacks the education they seek and everyone can at least read and write. I feel the future is clear and it will come in due time, it's just a question of whether we wish to be part of this task or simple stand and watch. Daniel Wilson 104

117 LIFE WITHOUT AND WITHIN JUSTICE This man named Justice had no education in his life. He didn't know how to write or read. All he knew was how to commit crimes in his life to support his habit of drinking and drugs. He had a hard life of not knowing his family and what to do with his life. Justice had low self-esteem and did not do anything about it. Justice was confused with hate and regrets. He all ways wondered why his parents deserted him. Anger raged inside of him day and night of wondering what to do. The only way Justice could escape from all his hurt and pain was to drink and drug himself up. He escaped from reality to a new world of not caring of what is happening around him. Justice felt good inside every time he escaped. From reality, but sometime later that reality will come back and hunt him down deep inside of him. His emotions got to him and didn't know how to cope with that emotion. Wondering why? Justice had a cycle of rage and criminal activities all his life. He had attitude of hurting others because he himself was hurting inside. This one day Justice was drinking and didn't care. He had an argument with this one guy he had never met in his life. They started to argue for no reason at all. It was because of the drinking that he and this guy had started arguing but they didn't now it. The arguments got to a point where there was hitting Justice and this guy were fighting for no reason at all because they were both intoxicated and didn't care of what's happening around them. All Justice knew at the time was to hurt this guy bad and he succeeded. This guy, Dallas was his name, was down in the ground hurt bad and unconscious and didn't know what had happened to him. The police had arrived at the scene when Dallas was unconscious on the ground. The policeman started asking questions about what had happened here. Eyewitnesses were standing there when the fight had started and they were all pointing at Justice because of what he had done to this guy. The police walked towards Justice while blood on his hand. VVith no questions asked, the police arrested Justice for aggravated assault and ended up in jail. While Justice was in jail, incarcerated waiting court he realized what he had done wrong in his life. He wanted answers. Without answers he will end up where he started, back in the same cycle of hurt and regrets. He realized he had to do something before it got worse than it already has. Knowing that there is something right for himself, he'd started to ask questions to people he had never known people who had done wrong and are in the same situation that he is in. Justice heard that the most important thing in life is to help yourself and understand that there is more to life than hurting yourself and others. Justice realized he let himself lead a dark path and wanted to do something to stop this pain inside. As days passed Justice grew stronger inside and the more he grew stronger the more the faith and hope he had for himself and others around him. Justice's self-esteem was better than before because of what he had realized. He realized what is right and what is wrong. He still had a lot to learn about what to do in his life. "VVhere to start?" He kept on saying to himself. 105

118 The day he went to court was the worst day of his life because the court had found him guilty of aggravated assault and sentenced him to two years incarceration. He thought that the justice system was too harsh on him but that was not going to let him down. He knew that he deserved what was coming the day he went to court. Justice lived an unhappy life and he somewhere in life. Education was new to him. He knew in his heart that he wanted something. Something that he had never experienced was being happy inside, emotionally. Justice had to learn to take everything step by step and one day at a time while being incarcerated. VVhile being incarcerated he knew he had to help himself with his emotions and learning abilities. Justice found that education will get him had made mistakes and learned by his mistakes. Learning from his mistakes he didn't want to make a mistake not knowing educational goals. After a few years of school he graduated and got his diploma as a counselor for young adults who are in trouble with the law. Helping young adults stay out of trouble made him feel good inside because he knew and understood where the young adults were coming from and how they felt inside. Feeling confident inside made him succeed at his goals and wanted to show young adults that education pays off in He did not know one thing about education. All he knew was that it was for better people than what he was. Now knowing that education is for all humanity he wanted in. After months of being incarcerated and trying his best at taking what was needed for him, he learned that there is more to life than being angry inside. He learned how to cope with that anger and low self-esteem to a better, high level of self-esteem. Justice had an experience of a wrong path but he learned that wrong could be a right- a right that would lead him to a better life rather than living with hurt and regrets. Justice was a lonely person all of his life and was not loved and cared for. He would not know how to express himself around others. He kept his head down because he felt comfortable that way but knowing that he had a better life and feeling much better than before, he kept his head up high with pride inside. After so long of being hurt inside and feeling that no one cares for him kept him strong because of the positive outlook he had on himself and being positive because of education and helping others if they are down and out Having all of these bad experiences of being lonely he wanted to help others realize that you can accomplish anything you want to if you put your heart to it and not to give up within. Knowing that education is an experience of knowledge and wisdom, he wanted to be someone with good educational goals and talent to help succeed in a career. Justice new he had made mistakes and learned by his mistakes. Learning from his mistakes he didn't want to make a mistake not knowing educational goals. After a few years of school he graduated and got his diploma as a counselor for young adults who are in trouble with the law. Helping young adults stay out of trouble made him feel good inside because he knew and understood where the young adults were coming from and how they felt inside. Feeling confident inside made him succeed at his goals and wanted to show young adults that education pays off in 106

119 the long run. Feeling that you accomplish something at the end, makes you feel you could accomplish anything in the world if you feel if it's right in your benefit. People make mistakes and learned from them. In the end, those mistakes become what's right for you. Without education what do you have within? Justice found out what was within himself as being number one and helping others as it was there for him when he needed it. There is a bad side but in the long run it pays off what's right around you and others. Being a new person because of how you feel with what's good around you. Justice knew education was the right choice in life. Each day we learn something new- learn to understand others and learn to understand wisdom of what's right in your path. Don't disregard education. Education is knowledge for everyone to learn how to survive for our needs. Without and within Justice learned what's right in his path, as you and I know. Justice lived unhappy to happiness by learning and understanding what was wrong in his life and accepting things that he couldn't accept. Justice learned and lived happily at the end because of hope and faith that he had in himself. Education was right after all, to all that take it to heart. Perry Monias 107


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