For many literacy is just a word, like thousands of others in the dictionary.
But for others literacy is much more than just a word.
It is the first rung of a better life. The first step on a journey of knowledge.
It’s no surprise that on Wednesday the Trail Times, as well as every other Black Press newspaper will be selling its newspaper to help raise money for the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy.
The idea of a publication helping raise awareness for literacy might seem like a natural partnership.
After all readers are our lifeblood, our raison d’être.
But there’s more behind the support for literacy than just promoting our product.
If there were food groups for knowledge, literacy would join the likes of curiosity and problem solving as main ingredients in a healthy and balanced learning diet.
Without it the engine of education grinds to a halt.
Without it the daily chores we take for granted would be insurmountable.
Without, especially in this day and age, we’re stranded on the side of the information highway.
So imagine not being able to read. Not being able to cook, count or surf the Internet because the words are a fence keeping you penned in.
And that’s what literacy provides – freedom.
Literacy allows anyone the opportunity for a better life. If you can read, you can grow. Literacy is a tool. What you do with it is up to you.
When some people think of literacy they probably think of the those that fell through the cracks of the education system. People like former Montreal Canadiens coach Jacques Demers who led his team to the Stanley Cup, signed several professional contracts yet never learned to read.
But while Demers survived and thrived despite the hurdles he faced every day, there’s more to literacy than just reading.
The Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy proves that point.
In recent weeks we’ve published stories on the CBAL ranging from helping young immigrants learn to read English so they can improve their education.
We’ve had stories about a bus driver who brought books on board for bored kids.
Yet another story focused on seniors learning how to use the Internet to its full potential.
Ironically, that story on literacy was widely read to the point were a waiting list arose for people wanting to learn more about the Internet.
And that’s the beauty of the CBAL. It’s more than just learning to read.
In fact, most of those stories involve people who can already read but haven’t tapped into the full potential of that special gift.
That’s what it is, a gift.
And it’s the best kind of gift.
We can share it with our kids at bedtime. We can share with our families in Christmas cards. We can use it everyday without it running dry.
So imagine having the power to share that gift with people who haven’t sampled it or need to clear that hurdle.
That’s what Wednesday is all about.
So when you see someone selling our Wednesday edition on the street corner, take a second and donate.
That money will go towards giving someone else the gift we often take for granted.
And when you sit down and read that day’s news or the latest in sports or what’s happening in our province and country, take a second to remember that literacy has allowed you to process those words from a bunch of symbols into information.
And thank the people in your life that made sure that gift grew in you.