Community plays a role in promoting literacy

Today on the streets of Trail and Fruitvale hockey players and politicians are handing out newspapers to raise literacy awareness.

Today on the streets of Trail and Fruitvale hockey players and politicians are handing out  newspapers to raise literacy awareness.

The Trail Daily Times will be free by donation to help fundraise for the “Reach a Reader” program and the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL).

The CBAL is a non-profit organization that offers free workshops in Greater Trail and across the Kootenays. The organization has courses ranging from Books for Babies to Adult Basic Computer Classes.

“Strong literacy skills lay the groundwork for all other learning and our organization believes strongly in life-long learning,” stated Desneiges Profili community literacy coordinator for CBAL. “No one is too old or too young to learn.”

Eight Smoke Eater players, Trail Mayor Dieter Bogs and Councilor Eleanor Gattafoni Robinson are helping distribute papers in Trail. Meanwhile, players from the Beaver Valley Nitehawks will be handing out newspapers by donation along Main Street in Fruitvale.

“We are not taking one penny of the money raised, and everything will go to CBAL,” said Chuck Bennett group publisher for Black Press Kootenays. “We are thrilled to be able to be a partner in this initiative.”

“Reading is a very important aspect of life,” said Smoke Eaters coach Bill Birks. “I think it’s crucial and invaluable that these players give back as much as they can to young kids in the community that have trouble reading or need books.”

The Smokies are doing more than being paperboys to promote literacy.

“Once or twice a week, we get a couple players to go to elementary schools for an hour,” commented Birks. “Sometimes they read to the class, play floor hockey and help with math. It’s just a good way to get out in the community.”

Smokies have gained praise from the school board, teachers and students for their efforts.

The “school is right on board, the teachers love it, the kids really love it and our guys like to do it too,” said Birks. “Anything they need done at the school or the reading programs we’re there 100 per cent.”

Mayor Dieter Bogs is a strong promoter of literacy and believes that literacy goes beyond reading and writing.

“Literacy to me is also talking and having the ability to express your feelings and opinions adequately,” said Bogs. “Literacy is the first stage to have the ability to be knowledgeable about community, provincial, national and even international issues. Without literacy you don’t really get to know and appreciate the issues that are so important to that individual but also to the community.”

Black Press and CBAL are working in conjunction to raise as much awareness as possible.

“We have committed all of the Black Press papers in the Kootenays to this unique and valuable initiative,” commented Bennett.

–“It is both worthwhile and relevant for our business. CBAL does many wonderful things in our communities and I wanted to find a way to support them in meaningful and financial way, which is really what the organization needs.”

For more information on CBAL please visit:

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