The Council for Lifelong Learning is celebrating 35 years of helping adults in Grande Prairie continue to learn. The council first started in 1984 with the mission of “creating an inspiring experience for learners so that they want to learn for a lifetime.” Executive Director Darrell Wiens says that still rings true today.

“We’re feeling great because we feel like the organization is continuing to do what the organization has set out to do 35 years ago. We’re also moving forward and expanding our services. For us, it’s exciting to know that the vision from 35 years ago is strong even now.”

The organization works out of the Lions Learning Centre across from the Dave Barr Community Centre. It teaches foundational learning and literacy skills to people 18 and older like seniors, people with developmental disabilities and those who have dropped out of high school but most of the students Wiens sees are English as a second language learners.

“Our biggest body of students are in the newcomer community, so these would be people who have moved from somewhere else… a lot of them are learning English so we’re the primary place for learning English in Grande Prairie.”

Wiens says around 200 people take part programs like English language classes, computer skills, family literacy, work skills and GED prep courses each year and some learners have even gone on to become teachers.

“One of our current staff in our Family Literacy Program started in our Family Literacy Program as a learner. Then she took an English class, then she took a computer class… and then she came back and obtained employment with us.”

The council will be hosting a celebration and awards ceremony at the Montrose Cultural Centre on June 14th from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.