With just one vote separating first and second place, it was a tight race, but Vicky Koenig and Family Place emerged as the winner of the 2011 Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL) Community Literacy Award.
Announced by Creston CBAL co-ordinator Linda Steward on Sept. 8, Koenig and Family Place edged out Nancy Devuono, early childhood facilitator for School District No. 8 (Kootenay Lake) and principal of Erickson Elementary School. They were joined by nominees Mormon Hills School kindergarten teacher Jeanne Marie Plante, Prince Charles Secondary School principal Sharen Popoff and Adam Robertson Elementary School principal Rod Giles.
“I’m absolutely in shock considering the other nominees,” said Koenig, co-ordinator of Family Place. “This actually is a wonderful privilege for us because Family Place is a wonderful conglomerate. … Without all of those people, Family Place doesn’t exist.”
Run through the Creston and District Community Resource Centre Society, Family Place is located at the Creston Education Centre and provides a home base for Success By Six, StrongStart and pregnancy outreach, among other early childhood programs.
“It’s wonderful to be in a community that understands and supports literacy,” said Koenig. “When we engage kids in anything, it’s all about literacy.”
“I think it’s really nice that early childhood development is getting recognition,” added StrongStart co-ordinator Karen Ritter, who accepted the award with Koenig.
“Early childhood was a winner this year,” said Steward, acknowledging both the Family Place win and runner-up Devuono.
“Our literacy community in Creston has really been building for many years,” said Devuono. “So much has happened in the last few years because of the devotion of people working with early learners. … There’s no competition — it’s co-operation.”