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September is ‘Literacy Month’ in Trail

Passersby on the Trail bridge may have noticed the coloured lights cast an iridescent shade of violet onto the Columbia River Saturday night.

The purple theme marked International Literacy Day, celebrated annually Sept. 8, as a day to reflect on the challenges, changes and improvements to literacy on the local front and around the world.

Purple bridge lights also showed Trail council’s declaration that all 30 days of September will represent “Literacy Month” in the city.

“Literacy is the key to opportunity for Canadians to increase their life changes and be successful in today’s modern world, as literacy is no long simply the ability to read and write,” the provincial proclamation reads.

And, as Carolyn Amantea from CBAL (Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy) points out, “It is important for Trail to recognize September as Literacy Month, as it is an opportunity to promote our community-based resources and to highlight the importance of literacy for all.”

Related story here: Trust boosts literacy programs

Related story here: Trail Times helps raise literacy funds

Amantea works on the front line of literacy programs in the Trail area as Community Literacy Coordinator for CBAL.

“Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy has a vision that local communities will be healthy, inclusive, and committed to literacy and learning as lifelong and life-wide activities,” she explained. “By joining the growing list of B.C. communities proclaiming September as Literacy Month, the City of Trail is demonstrating its support for the citizens of our community as well as for the organizations that provide opportunities for residents to access barrier-free programming.”

The Trail Times asked Amantea if, in her experience, certain barriers or obstacles to literacy still exist in Trail.

“Literacy impacts every aspect of modern life: health care, civic engagement, education, employment and the economy,” she replied. “While the majority of residents have adequate literacy skills, too many simply do not. Approximately 45 per cent of adults in British Columbia have some difficulty completing tasks related to daily living due to limited literacy skills. Literacy is not limited to reading and writing; numeracy and digital literacy are just as important for success at home, work and in the community.”

CBAL, a not-for-profit organization, helps address literacy barriers in 77 communities across southeast B.C. In Trail, the programs are run from an office located at 1160 Cedar Ave.

“Our mission is to promote literacy and lifelong learning,” Amantea said. “By educating the public about the importance of literacy and by supporting local community actions related to literacy.”

In the 2017-2018 program year, CBAL in the Greater Trail area (including Rossland, Fruitvale and the Beaver Valley) offered free literacy programs for children, families, adults and immigrants which saw approximately 450 adults and 560 children and youth in attendance.

Coming up next is Reach a Reader, a month-long initiative in October.

Story here: Reach a Reader

“We will be on the streets fundraising for our Books for Kids campaign,” said Amantea. “Which directly helps children in our community have access to quality books and free family literacy programs.”

For information about programs, volunteer opportunities, or making a donation, contact Carolyn Amantea at (250) 368-6770, or at trailcoordinator@cbal.org or visit the CBAL website at www.cbal.org .

Sheri Regnier

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