Literacy vital to community

The Select Standing Committee recommended government provide $2.5 million annually for community literacy but we need more support

To the Editor,

Literacy Alberni Society (LAS) is a not-for-profit organization whose mandate is to increase the level of literacy in the Alberni Valley. Most of our clients come from marginalized sectors of the Port Alberni community.

Some clients have dropped out of the formal educational system due to many contributing factors, such as poverty, undiagnosed or unaddressed learning disabilities, lack of structure in the home to support educational focus, bullying, and other personal or developmental obstacles. Some clients are adults who have not learned to navigate the necessary aspects of literacy appropriately enough to succeed in their lives.

Still others are newcomers to Port Alberni and Canada, from faraway countries, and need support in learning the culture, language, and ways of their new home.

Literacy Alberni annually assists 275 unique clients. We are a volunteer-driven organization, with 40 people supporting, tutoring and mentoring clients.

The niche that the organization fills is an important, if not integral, one to the health and success of Port Alberni.

The government of B.C. is again expected to cut literacy coordination funding across the province.

The Select Standing Committee has made a recommendation to the government to provide $2.5 million annually for community literacy work in BC. We are encouraged by this, but need a great deal more support than just hoping that it will be accepted.

Letters sent to our MLA, Scott Fraser from concerned community members emphasizing the need for continued literacy coordination funding in this area will help to keep our programs viable. Please ask him to support government annual funding of $2.5 million for literacy.

Charmead Schella,

executive director,

Literacy Alberni