Last week, The Educational Partnership Foundation (TEPF) team wished a very special person a happy retirement. Joining the organization nearly five years ago in January 2018, Cleo Howe, has been instrumental on the tremendous growth and sustainability of our charity. After celebrating her effort over the years and presenting her with her very own TEPF Apple Award, we took the opportunity to ask her to reflect on her time with us.
Looking back at your time with TEPF, what are you most proud of?
I’m passionate about education, literacy and have a real love of children, therefore helping kids succeed has made my time at TEPF very fulfilling. There have been so many proud moments but developing and bringing the Books for Kids program to life really stands out. Today, seeing this program grow and hearing how much it means to children who really don’t have a book at home gives me a lot of joy.
Do you have a memorable moment that you’d like to share from your time at TEPF?
I was lucky enough to attend a couple of Calgary Flames players visits to schools as part of the ‘Reading… Give it a Shot!’ program prior to the pandemic. This is a gymnasium full of kids screaming and that’s just for Harvey the Hound. These events were so fun!
However, it’s the testimonials that I cherish the most. Hearing, first-hand, how kids had raised their reading levels by several grades or the boy who wouldn’t read had become a nonstop reader is unforgettable. Then there’s the teen who was kicked out of his home and was couch surfing when he started the Trades Careers program. Turns out he has a talent for trade work and he graduates from high school and completely turns his life around. Overall, it’s been an honour to work at this charity and help it expand.
Where do you see TEPF going and what are you most excited to see the organization accomplish?
It’s been a lot of hard work but seeing TEPF literacy and trades programs growing year after year has been worth it. TEPF has become a strong charity during a time when many are struggling. I would love to see the literacy and trades programs offered in other provinces.
What are you looking forward to doing most during retirement?
I have been planning to retire for a few years now and while many say, go travel, I am looking forward to starting some home projects and spending more time with my family. I have a weird bucket list of things like “make home-made bread” which I’ve never done. I’m most looking forward to doing little things that I didn’t make time for in the past. I’m also going to read lots of books while I cuddle with my new fluffy Siberian cat, Teddy.
Cleo, on behalf of the entire team at TEPF, we truly can’t thank you enough for your commitment and dedication to TEPF. Because of your effort, thousands of youth across our province are flourishing as a result of our education programs. We wish you a fulfilling retirement and endless cuddles with Teddy.