United Way support helps Centre for Outreach Education thrive online during COVID-19

Outside the CORE space looking through the window

In the midst of uncertainty and constant change, the United Way of Greater Victoria supported the transition of an exceptional community-based program run through the UVic Faculty of Education.

If there’s one thing that the COVID-19 pandemic has proven to educational communities around the world, it’s that inclusive teaching is an essential service. The Centre for Outreach Education (CORE), which recently received Emergency Community Support funding from the United Way of Greater Victoria and the Government of Canada, is no exception.

CORE supports children in grades K-8 who are struggling with learning challenges such as dyslexia, dysgraphia and autism through individualized learning support. Thanks to the generosity of donors and community funders, all CORE programs are offered free of charge to families. In addition to the support the program provides to children and families, CORE also creates valuable hands-on learning and paid work opportunities for Faculty of Education students who are hired to work one-on-one with CORE learners throughout the school year.


A member of the CORE Book Club Online program
The CORE Online Book Club offers a fun way to connect to literature without the pressure of assignments.

Transitioning online

When COVID-19 put a halt on face-to-face learning in public and post-secondary schools in the spring of 2020, CORE program coordinator Karen Efford was faced with adapting the entire program to a remote format in a short period of time. With help from the United Way and the Government of Canada's Emergency Community Support Fund, she was able to invest in technology and online program development to support this transition. 

“Now, more than ever, children in our community diagnosed with learning challenges are struggling academically and socially,” says Efford. "CORE Online continues to provide important social connections, community building and academic support during a time when children are feeling stress and disconnection."

This year, CORE is able to serve over 100 children with learning challenges in an online setting through a range of programs including the CORE book club, CORE club online, and CORE English language learning (ELL), focused on literacy, numeracy, communication skills and physical literacy.

Increased need for CORE during the pandemic

With donor and community funding, CORE continues to thrive despite the pandemic. In fact, the shift to online services and the educational gaps children are now facing with changes in learning delivery due to COVID-19 have increased the demand for CORE, which is now managing waitlists for its programs.

In order to increase its capacity to match this increased demand, CORE will rely on support from the community. Gifts from donors—big or small—will now go towards increasing enrolment in programs to support more children with diverse learning needs and abilities during these challenging times. 

Beyond the pandemic, there is a real possibility that CORE will continue to offer online learning and literacy support, in addition to the regular face-to-face programming. Gifts from donors now and in the future will help to make CORE accessible to families in the community—wherever and however they need it.

Your gift can go a long way

Make a gift today to support this vital community-based program. Your generosity will help children with learning challenges build the confidence and courage to learn.

"CORE is about making connections, building bridges and providing for struggling students to be successful," says Efford. "By providing important social connections and academic support during a time when children are faced with uncertainty with regard to school and community, CORE offers a safe space.

"Gifts to CORE will ensure that there is a continuity of learning, social inclusion and well-being for our community's vulnerable youth as we navigate through this pandemic together."

Government of Canada and United Way logos