Can you remember the first time you enjoyed a book? The first time a book moved you, or kicked started you?
Whether at home, in the classroom or on the job, reading is an integral part of everyday life.
For this reason, Black Press Publishing — the parent company of the Nelson Star — in conjunction with Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL) has launched the Reach a Reader program. The project which spans the East and West Kootenay aims to raise awareness and funds for literacy by asking Black Press readers for one day only to buy their local newspaper by making a donation.
“Literacy is critical to a healthy community,” said Nelson Star publisher Chuck Bennett when asked why he felt project was important.
This is a sentiment echoed by CBAL co-coordinator Joan Exley who believes literacy entails more than just the ability to read and write.
“When I talk about literacy I talk about having the skills that you need to do what you want to do in your life,” said Exley.
Many are unaware that computer literacy also falls into the general literacy spectrum. In today’s ever changing technological society, computer comprehension and competency is a mistaken certainty.
“More and more we need to be able to access technology in order to keep our jobs and understand and do things in society,” said Exley. “When doctors tell seniors to go look up a prescription on the computer, they assume they know how to do it.”
According to Exley, the demographic for people who access CBAL’s services are expansive.
“The people who access our program are people who are new to Canada, who might be developing their language skills, an adult who is stepping forward after years of not being able to read or write and somebody who maybe doesn’t have the skills to keep their job or move up,” she said.
Those are just some of the stories of people in Nelson.
Reach a Reader has been highly successful in other areas of the province that Black Press publishes. The program is in its inaugural year in the Kootenays and Bennett hopes it’s not the last.
“I could see us doing it every year, hopefully it goes well,” he said.
Playing the role of newsies next Wednesday will be members of city council, Kootenay Lake School District staff, the Nelson Police Department, Nelson Fire Department, Nelson Junior Leafs players, local business people, Lucas Myers and the Nelson Star team.
Those who want to participate in Black Press/CBAL Reach a Reader event can do so by simply buying the Star on October 5 at six key locations — Ward and Baker, Save-On Foods, Safeway, Oso Negro and the Nelson and District Community Complex.
Other Black Press publications in the Kootenays will participate in the event on their publishing days the first week of October.
Proceeds from the sale will be donated to community literacy programs.