Prince Edward Learning Centre classroom instructor Lori Farrington, along with students Ashley McInnis and Taylor Lott, pitched their idea at Awesome PEC‘s Pitch Party! The competition for the $1000 prize was fierce, but they walked away with the prize!
PELC Pops! is a small-scale, portable and self-sustaining training site; a place where students receive significant mentoring, job coaching, and support in order to learn the skills necessary to attend school and find meaningful employment. Lori explains, “it’s a popcorn cart, yes, but we’re not trying to be the next Orville Redenbacher. It’s a vehicle to engage the unengaged, in a safe and nurturing way, as they work for change. We know that Ashley, Taylor, and other adult learners need opportunities to develop confidence, learn skills in real world situations, and to feel a part of, and contribute to, our awesome community.”
In 2013, Vital Signs reported that within The County, the rate of people with no certificate, degree, or diploma, ages 25-64 is 40% higher than Ontario as a whole. In addition the culture of participation in community events is not happening and the Prince Edward Learning Centre knows that when people do attend, great things happen. Since last fall, Prince Edward Learning Centre supported students to attend and volunteer in some way for Sandbanks: New Waves Festival, Pecha Kucha, The Drawer Boy, The Lantern Festival, as well as other businesses and agencies. Students have found that these experiences were transformative and really contributed to a positive connection to the community. This has led to more volunteering, co-op placements, and successful employment. These experiences were the proverbial “toe in the water” and now PELC is ready to jump in.
With the awesome grant of $1000.00 they are now able to purchase a commercial popcorn machine, vintage style uniforms, and packaging supplies. Students will develop a PELC Pops! logo, solve business problems as literacy exercises, and gain exposure to the great events and festivals across the county, like the fall fairs, TASTE Community Grown, Pumpkinfest, The Lantern Festival…the list goes on and on. They will be selling popcorn, year-round, at these events. This social enterprise will promote adult education opportunities and re-invest all profits back into adult learning.
“We’ve secured community partners to help us provide a gourmet popcorn experience. Sunnydale Farms in Waupoos, grows pesticide free, non-GMO popping corn and will be our supplier. Vicki’s Veggies in Black Creek is an organic farm, producing a multitude of products. We’ve begun creating a Vicki’s Veggies Popcorn Seasoning” notes Lori.
Look for PELC Pops! popcorn cart at a festival this summer!
Prince Edward Learning Centre is an adult learning and training centre; a free service to youth and adults in PEC. We help people move past a variety of barriers to education and employment. We work with over 100 adults every year. We have always been innovative in our approach to learning and feel that a popcorn cart would be a fun and dynamic way of learning and engaging with our community, while learning valuable small business skills.
For more information contact:
Lori Farrington, Instructor
(Adult Literacy and Basic Skills)
Prince Edward Learning Centre
7B-206 Main Street, Picton, Ontario, K0K 2T0