History of DALA

Jerri Costa

DALA was born because of the passionate conviction of one person, Jerri Costa, who believed that economic renewal for Digby and its surrounding area could only come if people could obtain increased levels of education and additional preparation for employment. Through hard work and determination, Jerri attracted a large group of like-minded people who, at first, formed a loosely knit coalition to address the challenges facing Digby County. 

Originally established as the Digby District Learning Network in 1991, the organization, represented by Literacy Coordinator, Helen Mildon, proposed an Adult Learning Centre to facilitate and oversee a variety of services, in partnership with other organizations and agencies. The centre would provide services in education, counselling, upgrading, on-the-job training, life skills, and technical training in the curriculum. With the attention, collaboration and partnerships of The Southwest Regional School Board, Nova Scotia Department of Education, Human Resources Development Canada and the Nova Scotia Community College, DALA grew in sophistication and experience; and became incorporated on November 24, 1998. 

Since then, DALA has grown and has provided many programs and services in Digby such as the Career Resource Centre, Southwest Nova Practice Firm, the Get Dressed program, Job Coaching, Bridging the Gap, Older Age Advantage, Youth Worx, Youth Engagement Support (YES), Labour Essentials, and Ready to Work. 

In December 2003, DALA began operating the Learning Grove Childcare Centre in response to the community's need for full-time, year-round childcare in the area. The Centre is licensed as an early childhood education centre offering programs for toddlers, preschool children, and school-aged children. 

In 2023, DALA consolidated some of its operations and relocated to a new location at 207A Highway 303 in Conway to offer the community a wide variety of educational and training opportunities.