ESL students with the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy’s Creston branch on a field trip at the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area.

ESL students with the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy’s Creston branch on a field trip at the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area.

Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy, Black Press joining forces for Reach A Reader

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The Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL), a non-profit charity, joins with Black Press for the second annual Reach A Reader campaign on Oct. 11.

On Oct. 11, when you buy the Creston Valley Advance from CBAL and Black Press staff and volunteers out on the town, all funds go to supporting literacy programs in that community.

“The Reach A Reader campaign is an important way for us to promote our region-wide commitment to building literacy skills and healthy learning communities,” said CBAL executive director Ali Wassing.

This joint campaign demonstrates Black Press’s dedication to building literacy skills in the communities it serves and helping CBAL stretch its reach. Reading is at the heart of CBAL’s drive to help citizens improve literacy skills, engage in lifelong learning and increase their confidence to get involved in the community.

“We have 16 coordinators delivering services in 77 communities,” said Desneiges Profili, CBAL regional program manager for the West Kootenay and Boundary. “Their work with children, adults, families and seniors to build reading, writing, numeracy, computer and workplace skills is in demand. Fundraisers, such as our Reach A Reader campaign, help support communities to meet this increasing need.”

CBAL is working hard to expand services to meet growing and changing needs in communities across the region. In addition to regional funding received from Columbia Basin Trust, Selkirk College, College of the Rockies and the province of British Columbia, local partnerships and fund raising campaigns are critical to developing more community-led programs targeting local needs. The Reach A Reader campaign demonstrates this shared commitment.

“We partner with businesses, community organizations, libraries, schools and colleges to help meet demand for our services,” said Betty Knight, regional program manager for the East Kootenay. “Getting the communities involved in supporting us through the partnership with Black Press and the Reach A Reader campaign takes our message to the heart of the communities we serve.”

Over the last 10 years, CBAL has delivered an average of 230 programs to 7,000 participants each year. Positive feedback, living examples of the benefits and community response has been very supportive. Participants can choose from a variety of programs such as Love 2 Learn, young parents education program, Cyber Seniors and English as a second language.

You can make a difference in your local community. Participate in the Reach a Reader campaign by purchasing a paper on Oct. 11, volunteer to sell papers or simply spreading the word as a campaign champion.

To get involved, contact the Creston Valley Advance or Creston community literacy co-ordinator Linda Steward at