The Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy’s annual Books for Kids campaign raised $25,000 last year. This year it is aiming to raise $30,000 for free books and literacy programs for thousands of children and their families in communities across the Columbia Basin and Boundary.
October kicks off the ninth annual Reach-a-Reader–Books for Kids campaign. Black Press, local credit unions and Blue Sky Clothing are all onboard to help with the campaign.
“Books are a vehicle to endless possibilities,” says Desneiges Profili, executive director of CBAL. “They help children to be creative and explore new ways of thinking. Exposing children to new words and imagery through books helps to build early literacy skills. It is not just about skills, it is also about the emotional growth that occurs when a child reads with someone special. For children, books can be magical.”
While the Books for Kids campaign is a regional initiative, all money raised in a community stays in that community, so your dollar has a direct impact on the children and families you see every day.
“Literacy is a pathway to healthy and prosperous communities,” says Profili. “When people think about literacy, they think about reading and writing. The truth is that literacy is about so much more. It is about having the skills needed to be successful in a modern world. For instance, being able to effectively communicate with others, read leases and use technology. By starting early, we can help to make sure children have a good start to a bright future.”
In British Columbia, more than 700,000 adults have significant challenges with literacy according to a Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) survey. Forty-five per cent of British Columbians between 16 and 65 have difficulties understanding newspapers, following instruction manuals or reading health information. Basic math, like calculating interest on a car loan or a medical dosage, is difficult for 52 per cent of British Columbians of the same age group.
CBAL is a not-for-profit literacy organization that develops and delivers literacy programs and services for families, school children, youth, adults and seniors. In the 2018-19 program year, 5,826 adults along with 4,555 children and youth accessed CBAL programs across the region and over 4,000 people attended CBAL literacy events.
A variety of local, regional, provincial and federal grants and local and regional fundraising initiatives support CBAL’s work. The money raised during the Books for Kids campaign will help local CBAL teams to focus on specific needs unique to their communities.
There are many ways you can participate. You can give any time online at cbal.org, or you can donate in person or purchase a pair of Blue Sky socks for literacy at on the street events on Oct. 25.
Nelson: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Oso Negro, Nelson and District Credit Union and on the corner of Ward and Baker streets
Kaslo: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Kootenay Savings Credit Union
Balfour: 2 to 4 p.m. at Balfour Superette
Slocan Valley: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Kootenay Savings Credit Union
Salmo: 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Kootenay Savings Credit Union
To learn more about CBAL’s literacy programs, contact the community literacy coordinator in your area. In Nelson contact Joan Exley, firstname.lastname@example.org, in Salmo contact Lori Dunn, email@example.com, in the Slocan Valley contact Sayre Knight, firstname.lastname@example.org and in Kaslo or Balfour contact Barb Szuta, email@example.com or go to cbal.org.