To celebrate the Board of Directors of QUILL Learning Network have awarded 2 citizens for their involvement in the adult literacy field to celebrate QUILL’s 25th Anniversary. Awards have been named to honour the memory of Cindy Davidson, literacy pioneer and the first Executive Director of the Quality in Lifelong Learning (QUILL) Network. Please read more about Cindy’s life.
Cindy Davidson Award – Recognizing Outstanding Involvement in Lifelong Learning
Lifelong Literacy Champion will be awarded to a person who has dedicated their life to improving and enhancing the adult Literacy and Basic Skills (LBS) field. The nominees are:
- Jim Donald (nominee video)
- Peter Flachs (nominee video)
- Ningwakwe George (nominee video)
- Roger Hannon (nominee video) – Winner
- Heather Robinet (nominee video)
Distinction in Community Service will be awarded to a learner who has participated in an LBS program (past or present) and has in turn given service to their community. The nominees are:
When she believed in something she held on with a passion that allowed her to see not only the here and now but the possibilities of a better tomorrow.
After a career start in journalism Cindy understood the power of the written word and devoted her career to building what we know today as adult learning centres. She became a diplomat for what she perceived was a basic life need — the ability to read. What started out as a volunteer position eventually became a life long commitment to literacy, to improving the lives of those who needed the inspiration and support to achieve this goal.
In the very early stages of literacy network development in Grey and Bruce counties, Cindy had the insight to create the tools desperately needed to start learning programs in our communities and throughout the province. In 1990, the International Year of Literacy, a group of community-based literacy coordinators in Bruce, Grey, Wellington and Waterloo counties came together on a volunteer basis. They called themselves SLICE (Sharing Literacy Initiatives and Common Experiences) and Cindy, one of the founding members was coordinator. This meant working with local colleges, libraries, school boards and neighbouring literacy organizations, to achieve her vision and understanding of what was needed locally and to provide best practices for learners.
QUILL began in 1995 and its mandate was to provide community based literacy efforts to match the workforce needs of the local labour market. Right off the start Cindy had an understanding of what she wanted to achieve, what the labour market demands were, and the innate ability to strive for best practices in meeting literacy needs in our area.
When I asked several people who have worked with Cindy over the years, we shouldn’t be surprised with their answers. Cindy was professional. She was unflappable. Cindy was creative in her thinking. Cindy had a knack for coming back to the table to see things through. Cindy willingly shared her time. She had the ability to work with a very diverse group of people and treated everyone respectively. Cindy believed working with other community groups would always be in the best interest of learners.
Cindy had a real understanding of the real picture — the needs for people struggling and how unfair their life situations were. She had good concepts and saw this as the groundwork, the first steps for the work still ahead.
Cindy had a very full life beyond her advocacy for literacy. She was a wife (Terry Davidson), a mother to four children (Alicia, Jamie, Jake, Scarlett), and a grandmother. She was instrumental in improving her community with her involvement in Walkerton Minor Sports and Wes for Youth Online, as well as being a strong advocate for students on Brant Central School’s parent council.
Cindy didn’t follow any road maps – she blazed the trail and here we are celebrating QUILL’s 25th anniversary. In recognition of her commitment and achievements to improving the lives of others QUILL will present two awards to members of our literacy community to honour Cindy’s memory as a lifelong literacy champion and her distinction in community service.