October kicks off CBAL’s 10th annual Books for Kids campaign. Submitted photo

Books for Kids celebrates 10 years in the Kootenays

Fundraiser supported by Black Press, Blue Sky, Castlegar News, and other local businesses

The Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy’s (CBAL) annual fundraising campaign, Reach a Reader – Books for Kids, will hit a milestone anniversary this fall.

October kicks off the CBAL’s 10th annual Books for Kids campaign supported by Black Press Media, Blue Sky Clothing Company, the Castlegar News newspaper, credit unions and other local businesses.

“This campaign is one of the most effective ways to shine a spotlight on the importance of literacy and on the community-based programs and services we provide,” said Desneiges Profili, Executive Director of CBAL.

Since Black Press and CBAL joined forces in 2010, the Kootenay and Boundary-wide campaign has raised more than $100,000 to support family literacy programs and to buy thousands of children’s books.

“Partnering with Black Press was a natural fit for the Books for Kids campaign,” said Profili of how the campaign got started. “Newspapers share important local, national and international information and your literacy skills help you to be able to read this information. Literacy skills are the foundation for lifelong learning, interpreting the world, communicating through different mediums and forming opinions and ideas. Literacy skills are powerful!”

This year’s campaign will look a bit different due to COVID-19.

CBAL will still be selling Blue Sky socks through their offices and at local businesses.

They will be raising donations online at www.cbal.org, but there won’t be any face-to-face or on-the-street events.

“We have seen the impact of physical isolation and limited access to programs and services due to COVID-19,” said Profili. “At CBAL, even though we may not be able to deliver all of our services in the same way that we have in the past, we will continue to support families to have access to quality books, learning activities and resources.

“Our staff are focused on creating unique opportunities to reach the people in their communities during this unusual time. We want to make sure that learning can happen for anyone – no matter where they are!”

More than 700,000 British Columbians have significant challenges with literacy according to the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) survey.

Those challenges affect 45 per cent of British Columbians between 16 and 65 who have difficulties understanding newspapers, following instruction manuals or reading health information.

Basic math like calculating interest on a car loan, or a medical dosage is difficult for 52 per cent of British Columbians of the same age group.

CBAL is a not-for-profit literacy organization that develops and delivers literacy programs and services for families, school-aged children, youth, adults and seniors.

In the 2019-20 program year, 5,972 adults and 6,855 children and youth accessed CBAL’s free services and programs throughout the region.

The money raised through this year’s Books for Kids campaign will help local CBAL teams deliver COVID-friendly programs and services.

Donations can be made anytime online at cbal.org.

Blue Sky Clothing socks are available from Carolyn Amantea, Community Literacy Coordinator at trailcoordinator@cbal.org or 250-368-6770.

Help us reach a reader! To learn more, visit cbal.org.

About the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL):

CBAL is a not-for-profit organization that develops, promotes and delivers literacy and essential skills services for people of all ages in the Columbia Basin and Boundary regions of British Columbia. CBAL’s 16 Community Literacy Coordinators provide services in 77 communities, working with local literacy planning committees to develop effective literacy programs and resources.

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