Castlegar News staff, with files from Bryony Fortune, Nelson Star
For reasons almost as numerous as the sections in a library, reading is an important skill. For personal enjoyment and enrichment the ability to read is indispensable, for personal safety and educational advancement, as critical, and perhaps even more so.
For these reasons, Black Press Publishing — the parent company of the Castlegar News — in conjunction with Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL) has launched the Reach a Reader program.
The project which spans the East and West Kootenay aims to raise awareness and funds for literacy by asking Black Press readers for one day only to buy their local newspaper by making a donation.
“Literacy is a cornerstone of any healthy community,” says Castlegar News publisher Chris Hopkyns, who will back up his words with action this Thursday on the streets of Castlegar.Hopkyns, along with editor Jim Sinclair will offer copies of The News for donations toward the CBAL program
Joan Exley, CBAL coordinator, believes literacy entails more than just the ability to read and write.“When I talk about literacy I talk about having the skills that you need to do what you want to do in your life,” said Exley.
Many are unaware that computer literacy also falls into the general literacy spectrum. In today’s ever changing technological society, computer comprehension and competency is a mistaken certainty.“More and more we need to be able to access technology in order to keep our jobs and understand and do things in society,” said Exley.
“When doctors tell seniors to go look up a prescription on the computer, they assume they know how to do it.”According to Exley, the demographic for people who access CBAL’s services is expansive.
“The people who access our program are people who are new to Canada, who might be developing their language skills, an adult who is stepping forward after years of not being able to read or write and somebody who maybe doesn’t have the skills to keep their job or move up,” she said.
The Reach a Reader program has been highly successful in other areas of the province that Black Press publishes. The inaugural Kootenay effort illustrates the hope it will have just such a responsePlaying the role of newsies on Oct.6 will be members of city council and other prominent citizens: Castlegar Rebels players, local business people and the Castlegar News team.
Locations where they’ll be “spreading the news” will include Safeway, Canadian Tire, the Castlegar Community Complex, Tim Horton’s, Kootenay Market and the downtown core.
Those who want to participate in Black Press/CBAL Reach a Reader event can do so by simply buying a copy of the Castelgar News at one of those locations.Other Black Press publications in the Kootenays will participate in the event on their publishing days the first week of October.
Proceeds from the sale will be donated to community literacy programs.