ESL Conversation Club offered at Kootenay Family Place in Castlegar.

Buy a newspaper, help Reach a Reader campaign

On October 9, if you buy the Nelson Star from a volunteer on the street, your donation goes directly to local literacy programs

On October 9, if you buy the Nelson Star from a volunteer on the street, your donation goes directly to a literacy program in your community. Join the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy and Black Press to promote, celebrate and support literacy initiatives in your community.

The Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy is the Columbia Basin and Boundary region not-for-profit literacy organization. Their vision is that local communities across the Columbia Basin and Boundary region will be healthy, inclusive, and committed to literacy and learning as lifelong and lifewide activities.

The Alliance works closely with libraries, schools, colleges and other community partners in your community to offer a variety of paths to learning. Schools and colleges provide formal learning opportunities that follow a curriculum and result in formal recognition of learning by awarding diplomas or degrees.

Both Alliance community-based programming and college continuing education courses provide opportunities to learn in non-formal ways. That is, although there are recognized learning outcomes, the learning process is generally more relaxed and does not result in a diploma or degree. A silversmithing course at the local college or a seniors computer program offered by the Alliance are both examples of non-formal learning. The Alliance’s informal learning programs provide experiential learning opportunities and are designed to be responsive to the needs of those who participate. They do not result in formal credits and are led by someone who is acting as a facilitator of learning. These kinds of programs include Autobiographical Writing, Making Connections: Learning and Reading Partners, ESL conversation groups, and various parent and child early learning programs.

The Alliance’s staff recognize the uniqueness of each community we serve and offer non-formal and informal literacy and learning programs to meet specific, local needs.

The staff helps adults develop the functional skills in reading, writing, numeracy, English language, essential workplace skills and computer skills they need to be successful lifelong learners. They also help families with resources and information about how to support the learning development of their children beginning at birth. Improved skills increase confidence and participation in the economic, political and cultural life of the community.

You can make a difference in your local community. Participate in the Reach a Reader campaign by purchasing a paper on October 9, volunteering to sell papers, or simply spreading the word as a campaign champion.

To get involved, contact the Nelson Star or the community literacy coordinator in your community. Nelson: Joan Exley at jexley@cbal.org 250-352-3218. Balfour/Kaslo: Barb Szuta at bszuta@cbal.org 250-353-2289. Salmo: Laurie Macdonald at lmacdonald@cbal.org 250-357-2874. Slocan Valley: Alison Salo at asalo@cbal.org 250-359-6887.