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A day for literacy

The Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL) is partnering with The Golden Star in a new event to help support literacy in Golden
Golden Rockets players Kyle Garcia and Darren Andre get caught up on some reading on the Kicking Horse Pedestrian Bridge. The Rockets will be out and about in Golden helping raise money for the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy on October 5.

The Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL)  is partnering with The Golden Star in a new event to help support literacy in Golden.  The Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy is a non-profit organization. It was created as a regional network to support literacy development in the communities of the Columbia Basin and Boundary region of southeastern British Columbia.

“CBAL’s goal is to bring organizations together to determine the literacy needs of the community and ways to address those needs. CBAL supports literacy initiatives and provides free programs. It also promotes the importance of literacy and lifelong learning because literacy is important for the economic and social well-being of individuals. Better literacy skills improve employment prospects, income and promote health,” said Community Literacy Co-ordinator for CBAL, Monica De.

De became involved with the group after attending an event with her daughter.

“Six years ago, I took my daughter to Mother Goose and after a year, the literacy co-ordinator, Gena Brygger, asked me to facilitate the program, so I did. A year later, Gena  took me to a literacy conference and I was inspired by the amazing things that other CBAL co-ordinators were doing in their communities to support literacy. As well, I’ve always been interested in education - I’ve been teaching, co-ordinating, and developing programs for over 15 years,” she said.

CBAL provides literacy programs for early childhood, school age and adults who would like to improve their literacy skills. Programs offered are based on the needs of the community. This year, some of the early childhood programs that will be offered are Books for Babies and Parents Reading Children Succeeding. School aged programs that are continuing this year are the Afterschool Shakedown homework help program and One to One Children’s Reading program. Adult literacy programs need to be determined for this year, but in the past, One to One Adult Tutor help, Computer Skills and Skills Upgrading for Parents was offered.

De explained the group focuses on learning at all ages because, “Literacy and learning is important at any stage in life because if you don’t use your skills, you lose them. Because learning begins at birth, it is important that children get a strong start, but it’s also critical for adults to maintain and develop their literacy skills formally or informally. For school aged children, we provide the One to One reading program because students really benefit from the extra reading help and reading is such an important life skill to have.

“We provide homework help for elementary and high school students and when the budget allows, we provide informal learning opportunities such as video production and writing clubs so that kids can learn without the pressure of getting good grades.”

CBAL is also part of the Community Literacy Planning Committee that gets together throughout the year to discuss Golden’s literacy assets, needs and goals. A community literacy plan that outlines the literacy assets, goals and progress is created and sent to the Ministry of Education. It also helps organizations to understand how we can all work together to support literacy.

“CBAL gets funding from a number of sources such as the Columbia Basin Trust, Ministry of Education, Legacies 2010, and Gaming Commission. We used to get Raise a Reader funding from the Vancouver Sun, but we no longer get that, but we are very excited that our local newspaper, the Golden Star and the Golden Rockets hockey team is helping us to raise funds for literacy programs on October 5,” De said.

On October 5 the Golden Rockets will be out on the street and around Golden with The Golden Star asking for donations to help support literacy initiatives in the community. Along with your donation you will get a copy of the newspaper and a free classified advertisement. All funds raised on the day will go towards CBAL so keep an eye out for a Rockets player or drop by The Golden Star office on October 5.

Anyone who would like to volunteer, find out more information about the programs or request literacy programs should call community literacy co-ordinator, Monica De at 250-344-5579.