CBT bolsters CBAL’s regional literacy services

The Columbia Basin Trust is giving another big funding boost to the non-profit Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL).

The Columbia Basin Trust is giving another big funding boost to the non-profit Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL).

The Trust announced recently that it would be giving CBAL $1 million over the next two years, to help ensure that Basincommunities continue to have access to the literacy programs and related support services.

“This is the same amount as we have had over the past two years. It is funding for (a further) two years, so $500,000 peryear,” CBAL executive director Ali Wassing told The Echo. “We provide a regional approach to literacy services in all of thecommunities in the Columbia Basin and Boundary. Our literacy programs for all ages are free and cover reading, writing,numeracy, computer literacy and more.

“Local planning tables meet to agree on community priorities to address local needs,” Ms. Wassing explained. “We partnerwith schools, libraries, colleges and many other community partners to improve the literacy levels of all our communitymembers, whether it’s parenting, supporting children’s learning, increasing adult skill levels and helping seniors write theirlife stories.”

CBAL delivers literacy programming in 77 communities throughout the Basin region, and this regional network allows eachcommunity to focus on its specific needs.

“This is a unique arrangement in the province. It’s a regional strategy that is driven by community priorities. Nowhere elsein B.C. uses this co-ordinated approach to literacy that also accounts for local support and priorities. It’s a very successfulmethod, and we are happy to continue this partnership with another funding commitment,” said Trust president and chiefexecutive officer Johnny Strilaeff in a press release.

“The Trust’s generous support over the past 16 years has allowed CBAL to build its internal capacity and stability. There isno question in my mind that we would not have had the ability to increase our literacy services over the years and,especially, to provide settlement and language services to newcomers to the basin without the trust’s support,” saidWassing, who will be retiring at the end of April after more than 10 years at the helm of CBAL. Desneiges Profili will takeover the role of executive director on May 1st.

“The Trust’s support for CBAL goes back to 2001. The partnership has grown over that time thanks to the work of the staffand volunteers and in no small part because of Ali Wassing and her commitment to making the alliance a Basin-wideorganization. We offer our congratulations and wish her all the best in her retirement,” said Strilaeff in the release.

The Trust is one of six funders for CBAL.