The Reach-a-Reader campaign will step into high gear next week. The campaign, a joint effort between Black Press and Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy, will help to raise funds for literacy programs in local communities.
Next Thursday, Black Press and Literacy Alliance staff will be out on the street in Rossland and other parts of the Columbia Basin selling the paper.
For a free paper like the Rossland News, there will also be an extra incentive of a free classified ad.
The Alliance operates in 16 communities in the Columbia Basin, and all the Black Press papers are participating in that event on those two days, Oct. 5 and 6.
“This is the very first year. We’ve never done it before,” said Desneiges Profili, community literacy co-ordinator.
Rossland is part of the Greater Trail area and so can access services that the Alliance provides all over the area.
“So with that, people who come attend our adult computer classes in Trail or English as a Second Language classes. We have people from Rossland that attend those as well,” Profili said. “When we say our community is Greater Trail, we’re hitting all the main communities.”
In Rossland specifically, the Literacy Alliance offers Mother Goose at the MacLean StrongStart Centre. They also coordinate the programming, which is five days a week.
The StrongStart program is for parents and children to attend, as well as caregivers, and is for 0-5 year olds.
“The StrongStart centres were originally created to help connect parents and children to schools even before children start school,” Profili added. “So the idea is getting them into the space, seeing the teacher, seeing the school. A lot of it too is to help parents and connect them with community services in the area. So having Interior Health come to the centre, or having people from different organizations and the schools and other community organizations as well.”
The Alliance is contracted to run the StrongStart centre at MacLean school.
“We support it in that we have other programs that we try to run within the centre, like the parent-child Mother Goose we offer on Thursday mornings,” she said. “We’re hoping that anything we can raise within this campaign will help to support our programs. We used to do a number of programs at the centres and in the communities, but now, with funding being cut we’re not able to do as many as we used to.”
Profili uses the example of the parent-child Mother Goose program, which will likely go just the fall session.
She said they hope to raise more funds so they can get another program added for another day.
The Alliance provides literacy programs for early childhood, school age and young people as well as adults who would like to improve their literacy skills.
“[The Alliance] is a non-profit organization, so most of their funding comes from the government, Decoda Literacy Solutions (formerly Literacy BC), the school district and the Greater Trail community,” Profili said, adding that specifically, the three biggest funders in our community are, the Columbia Basin Trust, School District 20 and Selkirk College.
Profili said this is the first year they’ve done a broad organization wide campaign to raise funds.
The other programs, such as the computer programs, are open to anyone in the Greater Trail community, which includes everything from Fruitvale to Rossland.