Local business and community leaders are teaming up with the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy to raise money for the Reach a Reader campaign.
Now in it’s fourth year, the campaign, which occurs in communities across the Basin, is designed to raise money for for literacy programs. All money raised in Cranbrook will stay in the community.
Improving literacy rates improves quality of life, according to Katherine Hough, community literacy coordinator for CBAL.
“Literacy is not just reading and writing and numeracy, but they cover all aspects of life,” said Hough. “We know that people with improved literacy skills get more involved in the community, they’re more likely to volunteer, they’re more active with their children.
“They become their child’s best teacher, because they have the skills to support their children in school.”
People from all backgrounds and walks of life can benefit from improving their literacy, Hough added.
“Here, we see in Cranbrook, so many people who have missed learning opportunities, whether they’re 19-year-old single moms who are wanting to finish their Grade 12 or seniors who are coming back to learn computer skills, their lives are improved through that reconnection with their education,” she said.
Though for a good cause, the campaign is competitive in nature as local business and community leaders attempt to out raise those from other communities across the Basin. Cranbrook holds the title as the top fundraising community in the Kootenay region.
“This is an annual initiative for Black Press and CBAL and it has been very successful,” said Chuck Bennett, Group Publisher for Black Press, Kootenays. “We think working with literacy in our local communities across the region is an important project for us at Black Press. We think it is critical that we support literacy and can’t think of a better place for us to put our energies behind.”
Mayor Stetski and councillor Sharon Cross, along with Jason Wheeldon and members of the College of the Rockies Avalanche volleyball team, will be out and about in Cranbrook. All will be easily recognizable (except for Wheeldon—who knows what his costume will be this year?) by their enthusiastic sales pitches and their Black Press newspaper carrier bags. Through a donation to the campaign, anyone can pick up a copy of the Daily Townsman or the Kootenay Advertiser.
Max’s Place will be donating a portion of their coffee sales to the campaign, while the Heidout will be doing the same, along with proceeds from a lunch special. Volunteers will be stationed at the Cranbrook Public Library and the Tamarack Centre as well.
“This is a campaign that hits close to home,” said Karen Johnston, Daily Townsman publisher. “As a child, I overcame reading challenges because I had a great teacher who helped me discover the value of literacy and the knowledge it brings. I am very excited to see the community come together to raise money and awareness for such an important program.”