Editorial: Let us all live the literate life

Join our Reach a Reader campaign to promote literacy in our region.

Readers, use your special powers to find out what’s going on Thursday, as Black Press and the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy team up in the annual Kootenay-wide Reach a Reader campaign to promote literacy in the region.

A team of volunteers are out in force Thursday in Cranbrook and Kimberley. One of the many aims this year is to knock the City of Nelson off its fundraising pedestal. Another is to make sure local realtor Jason Wheeldon, who will be dressed in his 1980s paper carrier garb, gets as much exposure as possible (so keep your eyes peeled for Wheeldon, dressed in rags and a cloth cap — or will that be a mullet? — shouting “extra, extra, read all about it!”).

It will be a busy Thursday in Cranbrook. From 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. City Councillor Gerry Warner will be holding court at the Gelato Bean Cafe in the Prestige Inn, manning a donation box and selling newspapers — the proceeds from which will go to CBAL. Gelato’s is also graciously donating a portion of all coffee sales to the cause.

At the same time, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Councillor Sharon Cross will be raising funds at Baker’s Beanery, by Save-On Foods. Baker’s Beanery is also donating a portion of coffee sales.

From 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., members of the Kootenay Ice will be at Arby’s on the strip, selling papers and encouraging donations.

CBAL volunteers will also be at the Tamarack Centre from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and at the Cranbrook Public Library from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Councillor Diana J. Scott will be at Max’s Place downtown, selling papers and taking donations. And Max’s as well is graciously donating a portion of coffee sales to CBAL.

And the aforementioned Jason Wheeldon will be pounding the pavement from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Remember, Jason grew up in the tough, hard world of the 1980s newspaper carrier, so if he asks you for a donation, better not say no!

In Kimberley on Thursday, Mayor Ron McRae will be joining Kim Roberts from Kimberley CBAL and Bulletin Editor Carolyn Grant to speak to kids and parents about literacy at the StrongStart program at the former Blarchmont School and also visit the CBAL ESL class. Copies of the Daily Bulletin will also be available at the Kimberley Public Library for a small donation to literacy programs. And the Kimberley Dynamiters will support literacy with a road hockey game with kids right after school on Thursday. Come down to the Civic Centre parking lot with your stick, make a donation for literacy and play with the local hockey team.

The Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL) is the Columbia Basin and Boundary region not-for-profit literacy organization. CBAL programs support seniors, adults, families, youth and children of all ages improve English, reading, writing, numeracy, computer and workplace skills.

Key programs include StrongStart Centres at Amy Woodland Elementary School and Steeples Elementary School and the former Blarchmont School in Kimberley, the Young Parents Education Program (YPEP), a number of adult literacy programs, and Seniors and Adult computer lessons.

New programs this year include autobiographical writing for seniors, a series of poetry workshops and financial literacy programs for youth and for the general public. They provide one-to-one literacy tutoring for adults. CBAL also provides English as Another Language instruction and literacy or essential skills tutoring.

Cranbrook and Kimberley are challenging all other Kootenay cities and towns to best us. And remember, all funds raised on Thursday stay in our communities.