Val Francis and son

Community abounds with literacy programs

Get a paper …. Reach a Reader! The Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy is excited to be partnering with local papers in a new fundraising event. Today, community volunteers will be out on the street and around Revelstoke with the Revelstoke Times Review asking for donations to help support literacy initiatives in the community.

By Tracy Spannier

Community Literacy Coordinator

Get a paper …. Reach a Reader!  The Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy is excited to be partnering with local papers in a new fundraising event. Today, community volunteers will be out on the street and around Revelstoke with the Revelstoke Times Review asking for donations to help support literacy initiatives in the community.

The Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL) is a non-profit charitable organization supporting literacy development in the communities of the Columbia Basin and Boundary region. CBAL’s  purpose is to promote literacy and lifelong learning throughout the Columbia Basin by educating the public about the importance of literacy and by supporting local community actions related to literacy.

Locally, CBAL Revelstoke has been offering free programs, events and undertaking literacy projects since 2001. As an active member of the Revelstoke Literacy Action Committee, CBAL staff support the development and implementation of the Community/District Literacy Plan. The planning process brings individuals and organizations together to identify community assets and to determine the literacy needs of the community and ways to address those needs.

CBAL provides free literacy programs for early childhood, school age and families. Annually, the organization provides programs for more than 300 local adults and more than 250 children. This year, some early childhood programs that will be offered include Mother Goose, Little Goslings Activity Time, and Books for Babies. School aged programs that are continuing this year include the One to One Children’s Literacy program (supported by committed local volunteers), Parents and Literacy Supporters (PALS) and Parents of Primary Students (POPS) and new summer program, Rockin’ Readers. In addition, the Family Night Out program is offered for families with children of all ages to come together for weekly activities and learning together.

The “More Books in Our Community” initiative has resulted in a number of projects to increase reading opportunities. The Share the Word book exchange is offers free books in eight locations including the community centre, Family Laundry and Queen Victoria Hospital. Donations of books to the “Building Family Libraries” project and to the aquatic centre help share the love of reading. The Story Adventure Kit lending library shows families how to extend stories into great learning opportunities.

The organization also works on a number of projects to raise awareness about the importance of literacy and learning. Events such as Family Literacy Day, the community literacy award and local presentations offer the opportunity to talk about the impact of literacy in our lives. When we increase skills and our ability to understand information we increase our health, our opportunities, our parenting and our well-being.

CBAL programs are supported by generous contributions from the Columbia Basin Trust, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Advanced Education, Revelstoke Community Foundation, Revelstoke Credit Union, Legacies 2010, and Gaming Commission. In addition, strong partnerships with local organizations including the Revelstoke Child Care Society, School District 19, and Interior Health support the delivery of CBAL programs.

All donations will directly support programs in Revelstoke, so watch for volunteers or drop by the Revelstoke Times Review office or CBAL office (Room 106 1401 First St. West) on Oct. 5.

CBAL’s awards include the 2005 Council of the Federation award, the 2002 Exemplary Practices in Rural Community Development from the Association of Canadian Community Colleges and a 2008 Award for Recognition from the British Columbia School Superintendents Association.

Anyone who would like to volunteer or find our more information about local literacy programs can contact Community Literacy Coordinator, Tracy Spannier at 250-837-6669.