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Basin literacy programs given million dollar boost by Trust

CBAL's diverse programs were recently given a boost with Columbia Basin Trust committing $1 million over two years.
There were many mini-giggles at the CBAL locale in downtown Trail on Thursday when a roomful of little ones and their caregivers met for Mother Goose. The free program focuses on the pleasure and power of using rhymes

Literacy is a common thread woven through resilient and thriving communities.

“It has a direct impact on issues such as crime rates, poverty, health and wellness, economic prosperity and workplace safety,” says Desneiges Profili, soon-to-be executive director of CBAL (Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy). “As an organization we are proud of the work we do, not just because it feels good, but because the work has meaningful and long reaching impact on the individuals who participate in literacy programs and that in turn, benefits communities, the region and beyond.”

CBAL’s diverse literacy programs were recently given a boost with Columbia Basin Trust (Trust) committing $1 million over two years for the non-profit to continue serving 77 basin communities.

“Our work would not be possible without the support of our partners and funders,” Profili said. “Our organization is built on the strength of those relationships and we are grateful for the commitment the Trust has made to our region across multiple initiatives these are the kinds of partnerships that are models for other communities,” she added.

“This unique Basin-wide approach truly speaks to the benefits of working together towards a common goal.”

Since 2001, with support from the Trust and community partnerships, CBAL has delivered popular literacy programs like Mother Goose, ESL (English Second Language classes) and technology lessons for seniors.

Because in today’s world, literacy encompasses much more than learning to read and write.

“The universality of CBAL’s programming is truly our greatest strength,” Profili shared. “From family literacy programs that promote learning and growing together, to adult literacy programming helping learners to gain the necessary skills to fully participate in the modern word.”

She says program offerings are reflective of each community’s needs.

“Trail and Area offers a Tech Learning Place that is in high demand among our older adult and senior demographics,” Profili said. “Life is complicated by the advancement of technology. The need to use technology to complete everyday tasks, apply for jobs and to stay connected to friends and family makes these programs desirable.”

Profili will be taking on the executive director role on May 1 when Ali Wassing retires after 10-plus years at the helm.

“The Trust’s generous support over the past 16 years has allowed CBAL to build its internal capacity and stability,” Wassing said. “There is no question in my mind that we would not have had the ability to increase our literacy services over the years and, especially, to provide settlement and language services to newcomers to the Basin without the Trust’s support.”

Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy ensures that communities have access to the literacy programs and support services they need their unique regional approach will continue to have Columbia Basin Trust’s support with another two year funding commitment,the Trust stated.

“This is a unique arrangement in the province; it’s a regional strategy that is driven by community priorities,” said Trust President and CEO Johnny Strilaeff.

“Nowhere else in B.C. uses this coordinated approach to literacy that also accounts for local support and priorities. It’s a very successful method, and we are happy to continue this partnership with another funding commitment.”

To learn more about the Trust’s programs and initiatives, and how it helps deliver social, economic and environmental benefits to the Basin, visit or call 1.800.505.8998.

Sheri Regnier

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