First off, if you got a copy of this week’s Valley Echo after making a donation to the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy, thank you for your support.
Like many volunteer groups, CBAL (as it’s more commonly known) often works quietly in the background of our community, but its effects are long felt.
If you’re the parent of a young child, you may take your kid to one of the group’s family programs, which foster early language skills through songs and stories.
If you’re getting email from formerly computer-phobic grandparents, it may be the work of the group’s Cyber Seniors computer skills classes.
There are also programs that fall outside of what we might traditionally thing of as “literacy.” While reading and conversation skills make up a big part of the work CBAL does, the group’s co-ordinators are quick to point out there’s more to being literate than being able to, say, read your local paper.
As mentioned above, literacy can mean navigating the internet in an increasingly technological world. It can mean dealing comfortably with numbers, from personal finance to counting out change. In the case of one CBAL program due to return to the valley in the next year, it can simply mean finding your inner writer and learning how to put your most memorable tales and thoughts on paper.
Literacy is a pretty big idea, and it affects more of us than might be expected.
In the Windermere Valley zone, there’s a call out for “champions of literacy” to get involved in two programs: The ESL and Settlement Assistance Program discussed in our page 1 story, and a One to One Children’s Reading Program which will support local school children a few hours each week.
Both programs come with training and support, and can make a big impact in our community. If your CBAL donation has you inspired, we encourage you to check it out.
—The Valley Echo