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March 2022 Newsletter

The Book on the Bench at the Corner

The thin light of winter shone weakly through the pale Okanagan sky. A half light gave a dim brightness to the day but lacked the strength to pass through the window to warm her. The cold days were hard on Emma. She disliked the stiff, indifference of the air. The way it made everything feel separate. Even though the snow had its moments and provided a rolling tidiness to her yard, she longed for spring and the return of birds, green grass, flowers, and walks without the risk of slipping. Emma looked around the livingroom and into the kitchen. With so much time inside, the small house was tidied to the point of extinction. Not a cup, pot, candle or notepad was out of place. Even her reading glasses were collected into a new decorative basket. As she looked out of the window at the slowly melting snow, she glanced upward and complained. “Come on! Really? Two weeks into spring and this is the best you can do?”

Emma sat down on her lounge chair and huffed. She didn’t even have a good book to read. Not anymore. Not since she finished the last one. The one she had found. “I did find it.” Emma reminded herself. “I did.” But there it was again, a nagging thought that maybe she shouldn’t have ‘found it.’ Maybe she should have left it where it was. You only found it because someone else forgot it, a voice whispered in her head. “Well, it wasn’t very good anyway,” Emma said in her defense. You know that’s not true, the whisper persisted. You know you liked it. You like it very much. You read it twice, remember?

Emma nodded. She had read it twice, and she did like it. She liked it because it was the kind of book she wished she could write. It was the very book she dreamed of writing, someday. You’re a reader, not a writer, said the whisper. “I can’t write like that,” she said to herself. “I write plainly. If I wrote a book, it wouldn’t be a grand drama, or literacy masterpiece, it would be a memoir, or a cookbook, or a book about flowers. Likely something tedious and unimportant. Simple lines with simple details, that’s all I can do.” Well, you’re in a mood, said the whisper. You won’t ever really know unless you try.

Emma sighed and sat in silence for a while before agreeing. “Ok. It was a good book. For all its flaws, it read well and had something interesting to say.” She nodded to herself, daring the whisper to challenge her. When no voice came, she stood up.  “Fine. You win! I’ll put it back. I’ll put the book right back where I found it. Then I won’t have technically found it and I won’t have to be reminded about what I can’t write. I’ll put the book right back where I discovered it and that will be the end of the whole thing.” But you haven’t been outside in weeks! the whisper replied. “Well then you shouldn’t have brought up the whole book thing.” Emma stated to the empty room. Moving towards the bedroom she added, “I’m getting dressed. Then I’m getting my coat and boots on and then I’m taking it back. And that’s all there is to it! And I don’t need another word from you!”

Twenty minutes later, Emma was slowly sloshing down the bright snow-melted street of her block. She cautiously moved one foot in front of the other, refusing to take a real step in case she might fall. The book swung awkwardly back and forth in a plastic bag at her side. The sun was getting brighter, making Emma wish she would have thought to bring her sunglasses. Still, in a few moments she’d be there. Emma sloshed forward, stopped, took two more awkward steps then turned to face a small bench, half covered in snow. She looked up one street and down the other, then quickly brushed off one side of the bench and sat down. Now she was just a woman taking a rest. Nothing special. When she started brushing off a spot to put the book, her hand hit something. It was square, solid and covered in snow. Emma slid it closer and lifted it up. To her surprise, it was another book. 

(To be continued… in the Summer Newsletter)

Written by Paul Zuurbier
Executive Director
Project Literacy
 
‘For Love & Apples’ a huge success!
Our original radio play “For Love and Apples” was performed twice at the Kelowna Community Theatre on Sunday, March 27th.

This comedy-drama takes place in Kelowna in the present, 1930s and 1800s. It follows the recent engagement of three couples connected through fortune and circumstance. The 2pm and 5pm performances were well attended, with many familiar faces in the audience. Apples, donated by BC Tree Fruits, were sold in the lobby as part of our fundraiser along with socks for our ‘Sock It to Literacy’ Campaign.

A huge thank you to our incredible cast and crew for two wonderful performances! And a big thank you to all who came out to see the play and support this unique endeavour by Project Literacy! 
 
VOLUNTEER APPRECIATION WEEK
April 24-30, 2022
We are so grateful to our volunteers who dedicate their time, energy, knowledge and kindness to improve the literacy and lives of our learners.

Please drop by the Learning Centre (1635 Bertram Street) during ‘Volunteer Appreciation Week’ to enter your name into a draw for some special prizes. If you can’t come by in person, email April King, Office Administrator at [email protected] and she will place your name into the draw for you.
 
Jeff and Ezequiel: A Tutor-Learner Success Story
Jeff and Ezequiel celebrating
Ezequiel’s Permanent Residency!
The Learner

Ezequiel was born and raised in Monterrey, the second largest city in Mexico. He has always been very curious, and discovered his love for engineering and computers while he was a child, when he used to disassemble his toys to see how they worked. Later, he started to take computer lessons during the summers. Ezequiel is the oldest of 3 children. He has two sisters who still live in Mexico. He also has a  4 year old daughter named Sara and she has lived longer in Canada, now, than in Mexico. They have two pets: a dog named Nala and a cat named Miztly who still live in Mexico but Ezequiel  is determined to get them here one day.

Life before Project Literacy was not easy for Ezequiel. The stress of moving abroad, escalating issues at work while struggling to keep up on his activities, take notes, have conversations at full speed — this was his first experience living in an English-speaking country. He was determined to meet his personal goals to increase his speed of speaking, learn the regional language, the slang, the “real” English that is entirely different from the one you learn in schools. Project Literacy has helped him by giving him the opportunity to practice with his tutor, Jeff, in an informal and stress-free environment. This, in particular, has helped him a lot. After some sessions, he even noticed how he became more fluent and confident in conversations. The most fantastic thing for Ezequiel is that his tutor helped him practice his English and understand the Canadian culture, the city, his experiences working in Canadian companies and even how investments work in Canada, among other topics. The most important thing for Ezequiel was the friendship that helped him have a sense of belonging. While working with his tutor, Jeff, Ezequiel succeeded at his first Canadian job, passed his IELTS (International English Language Testing System), became a Permanent Resident and accepted a even better job offer from a new company.

Ezequiel’s main hobby is his work, learning new technologies and creating software. From living in Kelowna, he has learned to have different seasonal activities. In the spring, he grows vegetables in his garden, and last summer, he started to practice outrigger canoeing in the lake and went camping as much as he could. Now his daughter loves campfires and grilled sandwiches.

This winter, Ezequiel was learning cross-country skiing, and hopefully, he will continue enjoying more beautiful things here in the Okanagan for a very long time.

 
The Tutor

Jeff Herman is originally from Montreal. After receiving his MBA from The University of Western Ontario, he settled in Toronto. He had a long career in sales and marketing with a number of technology companies including IBM, Xerox and Hewlett Packard. He has been retired for 9 years. He enjoys golf, hiking, cycling and working out. Aside from sports of all kinds, he also enjoys fine dining and winters in the sun. He has been with his wife, Jackie, for 17 years. Jeff and Jackie have two dogs, Digger and Finn who are both rescues. They hike with them, every morning. Jackie’s family are all in Ireland and Jeff’s are in Israel, so it’s just the four of them in Canada.

Jeff has been volunteering with Project Literacy for approximately 8 years. One of the former Board Members, Florence Bertuzzi, was at his house for dinner one night when Jeff mentioned that he was looking to do some volunteer work to give back to the community. Florence made him aware of Project Literacy and he hasn’t looked back.

Jeff had no previous teaching or tutoring experience aside from leading some sales training courses but he really felt that Canada has been very good to him and he wanted to give something back.

Jeff has met some of the most interesting people of his entire life at Project Literacy. He has also learned a great deal about many countries and cultures from the unique perspective of young dynamic people. He has found it truly rewarding.
 
3rd Annual Team Spelling Bee Challenge
May 31st , 2022
Companies and organizations are invited to participate in our 3rd Annual Team Spelling Bee Challenge! This team-building event has teams of eight working together to come up with the correct spelling of each spoken word. Teams have 45 seconds to determine their answer. There are three rounds, with five words spelled in each round. The winner takes home the Team Spelling Bee Cup!

All funds raised go towards supporting our literacy programs.

The event starts at 7:15am with a hot breakfast!
The Team Spelling Bee is from 8-8:45am.


Click here for more details.

Registration Form deadline is May 17th, 2022.
 
We want your old computers!
We are donating our old computers and monitors to the BC Technology for Learning Society. We need your help to meet their quota for a pick up! BC Tech is a registered charity that collects donated computers no older than 2015 (and all types of other tech devices), trains and hires youth to refurbish the computers, and then distributes the computers to schools, nonprofits, libraries, Indigenous groups, and students. They accept used computers, laptops, monitors, printers, and other electronic items from businesses, individuals, and the government.

If you would like to donate your old computer tech, please contact April King, Office Administrator at [email protected] and we will gladly take it off your hands!
 
Meet our UBCO Summer Intern!
Project Literacy is pleased to provide a one-month internship for Teacher Candidate, Mackenna Galloway! As part of her Bachelor of Education Degree, Mackenna will be interning with Project Literacy for the month of May.

Mackenna will be tutoring some of our learners, assisting with the digital literacy program and helping Katia Bois develop the course material for our second ‘Summer Reading Program’ for children in grades 1-4.

Welcome Mackenna!
 
Our Learning Centre will be CLOSED for Easter.
The Learning Centre is closed for the Easter holidays from Friday, April 15th to Monday, April 18th. We hope you have wonderful long weekend with your friends and family!
 
Volunteer Digital Literacy Tutors Needed!!
We are seeking volunteer tutors to help seniors (65+) learn how to operate their personal digital devices. If you have a knack for understanding mobile phones, laptops, and/or iPads, and would like to share this knowledge with a senior, please contact Katia Bois at: [email protected] or call 250-762-2163 Ext. 3.
 
We are now OPEN on Fridays!
Project Literacy is now open the following hours:
Monday          9am – 5pm
Tuesday          9am – 5pm
Wednesday     9am – 7pm
Thursday         9am – 5pm
    Friday            9am – 12pm
 
Can you name these two movies?
 
Cartoon Corner
 
Project Literacy is very grateful for the support of our community partners:
 

 

 

December 2021 Newsletter

 

A Bend in the Road

Sitting slightly slumped. Staring out the window. Tired but awake. Coffee started. Classical music playing, sounding a bit too intellectual and precise, more than what I’m up for this early winter morning, but loud enough to keep me awake.

Zoe, my cat, is looking out the window, pondering. She’s sitting lazily on the back of the sofa chair, her butt close to my face, but not awkwardly so. Zoe never seems to care where her butt is; only that it’s clean. She’s a very clean cat.

It’s a week before Christmas, and I’m getting ready for my last day of work before the holidays. It’s calm, snowy, and quiet outside. The early morning light is just bright enough for me to see the collection of houses nestled unevenly across the street. Some of them are set forward towards curb, others are nestled further back in their yard. Most have dishevelled driveways. The snow piled high to the edges and scuffed low through the middle by child’s play. The snow displaying scattered toques, single mittens, and red nets decorated with hockey sticks.

There was a lot of good play last night as a cold wind blew our street towards midnight and the start of the school holidays. I was going to stay inside, but a phone call from my neighbour pulled me into the night. Odd, because I’m comfortable indoors, especially when it’s cold. I’ve always been this way, but I’ve learned that being comfortable isn’t the same as having fun. Comfortable is a type of old happiness. It’s eating your favourite snack when you can’t be bothered to make a meal. Or rewatching a movie you like, rather than trying a new one. No surprises, but no disappointment either. New happiness usually takes more effort. Like rushing a puck up and down frozen streets with kids slashing at your heels.

My coffee is finally ready. I pour a cup and turn the radio from Classical to Folk. There is something simpler about Folk music. Even the word sounds softer. Folk isn’t trying to be sophisticated. It doesn’t care about structure or instrumentation. Folk songs tell a story by singing about how life feels, with just enough music to keep the words company.

Zoe stares at me from the carpet by the fireplace as I finished my cup of coffee. Outside the first car of the morning drives by, likely on their way to work. The car slows down as it goes around an odd jog in the road.

The road is plain enough, but the bend in the middle of the block is a mystery. It creates a sudden curve, which demands attention. The remnant of an old pathway, I suspect, a road once followed by horse drawn wagons, old milk trucks, and cows changing pastures. I imagine an ancient tree once stood there and the road was built around it.

For some reason, though, the road was never straightened out.  I doubt the bend would be allowed today. The city planners would require an even street. But back in the 30s, when this neighbourhood was planned, both the cars and the roads blended more lines and curves than they do today.

I finish dusting the snow off my truck as a woman with her two young children walk by. I give them the morning wave. The kids wave back. I see them each morning as I’m pulling out of my driveway. Me commuting to work, the kids weaving off to school.

Paul Zuurbier
Executive Director
Project Literacy

 

35th Anniversary Celebrations a Huge Success!

A huge thank you for helping us celebrate our 35th Anniversary! Over the past year, we’ve organized several unique events, including a room dedication to Jean Lee, our longest serving volunteer, a short story writing contest, the creation of a photo collage, featuring volunteers both past and present, and the writing and production of an original radio play. We also featured five in-depth stories of people who have benefited from the support of Project Literacy.

Project Literacy started as an idea. The idea was to help people who fall through the cracks. To help people who struggle with literacy, so they can have a better life. Our vision today, remains “to empower individuals to reach their literacy goals.” This is as important now, as it was 35 years ago. With your support, we know Project Literacy will continue to provide literacy support to children, families and adults in the Central Okanagan, for years to come.

 
A Radio Play ‘For Love and Apples
TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE!

The radio play “For Love and Apples” is a one-hour romantic-comedy, which takes place in Kelowna. It will be performed and recorded live at the Kelowna Community Theatre on Sunday, February 6th, 2022, at 2pm and 5pm.

The play follows the awkward marriage proposals of three couples; Marcel and Gail, who are in their sixties, Dorothy and Richard, who are in their twenties, and Sweetgrass and Philippe who live near Kelowna in the 1890s. As the couples work out their marriage proposals, they discover they are all connected through time and circumstance.

Tickets are available online, by donation at: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/219311004117

 

Raya and Alex: A Tutor-Learner Success Story

                       Raya                                                              Alex

Raya and her husband are from Iran. They immigrated to Canada in August 2019 to start new careers. Raya studied Computer Engineering in Iran. She has seven years of experience in software development and support. To secure a career in Computer Engineering in Kelowna, Raya needed to improve her proficiency in English. At Project Literacy, Raya met with Elaine, one of our Education Coordinators to be assessed for the One-to-One Adult Tutoring program. Elaine works closely with the tutors and learners to determine the best fit to make sure the tutor can help the learner reach their goals.Raya worked closely with her tutor, Alex, over two years to improve her proficiency in English. Raya and Alex first started to work on vocabulary, idioms, speaking and listening. Graduating to The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) curriculum. Raya used the IELTS textbook of taking personal stories in Farsi, translating them into English and present to Alex in a simulated exam situation. Alex says, “his experience with Raya, over the last two years, has been very positive and fruitful. She is a highly intelligent and educated young lady.”

Raya improved her English and, therefore, her confidence while working successfully at entry level jobs in Kelowna. Raya interviewed at a computer company and secured a full-time position. Raya’s hard work to improve her proficiency in English paid off. Raya says, “Alex is very caring and friendly. I always looked forward to his classes. He not only helped me to improve my English, but also gave me the self-confidence to communicate in English.”

Raya and her husband are looking forward to the day they acquire Canadian citizenship.

 
Project Literacy’s Short Story Contest Deadline for Submissions Now Closed!

Thank you to all those who submitted their writings. The submission deadline has closed. Judging will now commence.

Contest winners will be notified end of January, 2022 with an official awards ceremony held February 6th, 2022 prior to our radio play performances.

 

It’s time to get rid of your old computer!

We are donating our old computers and monitors to the BC Technology for Learning Society. BC Tech is a registered charity that collects donated computers (and all types of other tech devices), trains and hires youth to refurbish the computers, and then distributes the computers to schools, nonprofits, libraries, Indigenous groups, and students. Since 1994, they have delivered the Computers for Schools Plus program across British Columbia, distributing over 180,000 computers!

They accept used computers, laptops, monitors, printers, and other electronic items from businesses, individuals, and the government. If you would like to donate yours, please contact April King, Office Administrator, for more details: [email protected] and we will glad take it off your hands!

 

We are Hiring!!

Project Literacy is hiring a Part-time Resource Development Officer.

For more information about this position please go to:
https://ca.indeed.com/viewjob?jk=ad564428860e431c&from=tp-serp&tk=1fn2m95slp11l801

 
 
Our Learning Centre will be CLOSED for the Holidays.
The Project Literacy Learning Centre is closed for the holidays from Friday, December 24th to Monday, January 3rd, 2021. We will be back to welcome you to the New Year on Tuesday, January 4th, 2022.
 

Volunteer Digital Literacy Tutors Needed!!

We’re seeking volunteer tutors to help seniors with their digital devices. If you have a knack for understanding mobile phones, laptops, and iPads, and would like to share this with a senior, please contact Katia Bois at: [email protected] or just drop by the learning centre.
 
Do you know which Christmas Movies these actors starred in?
 
Project Literacy is very grateful for the support of our community partners
 

 

 

October 2021 Newsletter

 

Thanksgiving and Reflection

First Nation Territory Names                                           First Nation Children’s Books

 

The fall is often a time of reflection. The weather cools. Leaves turn from green, to red and orange, the days become shorter and our daily routine adjusts to accommodate the new season. During this time, we often reflect back and consider: “What has been accomplished? What have we done? And where are we going?”

This year, the Federal government established a new holiday:  ‘Truth and Reconciliation Day’. Truth and Reconciliation Day took place on Thursday, September 30. It was created in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s call for a statutory holiday, which honours Residential School survivors, their families, and communities, and ensures the public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools. It was created as a day of reflection. A day when Canadians could consider their relationship with Indigenous communities and the legacy of this relationship. On September 30th, many people chose to wear orange shirts, in acknowledgment of the ‘Every Child Matters’ movement, which aims to raise awareness and draw attention to the plight of Indigenous children who attended residential schools.

The Residential School system operated in Canada from 1881 to 1996. At its peak, over 80 Residential Schools were open and running in Canada at the same time. Indigenous children were forcibly removed from their families and made to live at the school. For the first 70 years, the residential schools only taught children three hours a day. For the rest of the day the children were forced to do manual labour, either to raise money for the school or to reduce the school’s operating expenses. A typical school day for children as young as 5 years old was:

  • 5:30am – woken up
  • 6-6:30am – attend morning Chapel
  • 6:30 to 7:30am – chores (cleaning, making beds, sweeping rooms, laundry)
  • 7:30am – breakfast
  • 8-9am – more chores, especially for boys
  • 9am to 12pm – school
  • 12-12:30pm – lunch
  • 12:30 to 2pm – recreation
  • 2-4pm – trade work (farming, cutting wood, tending farm animals)
  • 4-6pm – more chores
  • 6-7pm – supper
  • 7-8pm – recreation
  • 8pm – bedtime

In 1969, the system was taken over by the Department of Indian Affairs, ending church involvement. The government decided to phase out the schools, the last Residential school closed 30 years later, in 1996.

Twelve years after the last Residential School closed, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, on behalf of the Government of Canada, offered an apology to all former students of residential schools in Canada. The apology openly recognized that the assimilation policy on which the schools were established was “wrong, has caused great harm, and has no place in our country.” The apology recognized the profoundly damaging and lasting impact the schools had on Indigenous culture, heritage and language.”

The final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, published in 2015, outlined several “undeniable” conclusions about the Residential School system:
First, the federal government failed to set clear goals and standards for education at the residential schools.
Second, the curriculum at residential schools was essentially an elementary curriculum, which reflected a belief that Indigenous people were intellectually inferior.
Third, the government did not develop or implement a policy regarding teacher qualification.
In short, the education and vocational training provided by residential schools was completely inadequate.
Source: https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/residential-schools

During Thanksgiving, as we reflect on all the goodness in our life, we may also want to remember that goodness changes. It is not a fixed mark, but something we carry inside of us. We cannot always count on the government to do what is right. Sometimes, the government is wrong. A reflection on the mistaken views of the past will better enable us to protect against other types of discrimination while supporting the values of diversity and equality in the present.

To learn the name of the Indigenous land your live on, go to this website and type in your address: https://native-land.ca/

To learn more about indigenous culture, head down to your favourite bookstore and pick up one of the many wonderful books by First Nation authors. Or pick out a First Nation children’s book and read it to your child or grandchildren.

Paul Zuurbier
Executive Director
Project Literacy

 

Upcoming Events!!

We are continuing to celebrate our 35th Anniversary with
Short Story Contest and A New Radio Play!

Short Story Contest

Project Literacy is excited to be hosting a short story contest!

“As though she had entered a fable, as though she were no more than words crawling along a dry page, or as though she were becoming that page itself, that surface on which her story would be written and across which there blew a hot and merciless wind, turning her body to papyrus, her skin to parchment, her soul to paper.”

          ~ Salman Rushdie
A writer once said, “We may not all have a novel within us, but we are sure to have a damn good story!”The short story contest will accept submissions from youth (under 18) and from adults (19 and over). Submissions will be accepted from Monday, November 1 to Friday, December 17th.
Click here for more information and to download the submission form: https://projectliteracy.ca/about/our-news/Project Literacy organizes the production of a new radio play!

In celebration of our 35th anniversary, Project Literacy is producing a radio play! Lee Karvonen, lead of the Geri-Actors Troupe from the Society for Learning in Retirement has co-written the play with our Executive Director, Paul Zuurbier. The radio play is funded through the New Horizons for Seniors Program.

The play is written specifically for seniors in our community! It is a historical romantic comedy, which follows the lives and loves of two couples, both in the past and in the present.

Call for Director!

Project Literacy is holding a CALL FOR DIRECTORS for our upcoming Radio Play. The one-hour radio play will be performed and recorded live at Kelowna Community Theatre on January 23rd, 2022. We are looking for a creative, talented and experienced director who is interested in creating Radio Play magic! Previous radio play experience is an asset. Due to funding guidelines, the director must be 60 years of age or older. An honorarium will be provided.

Interested Directors are asked to provide:

  • 1 copy of your theatre CV (focusing on Director experience)
  • 1 reference

Please submit your application to Project Literacy via:

  • Email: [email protected]
  • Mail or In Person:  1635 Bertram Street, Kelowna, BC, V1Y 2G5

Application Deadline:  Wednesday, October 20th, 2021

Project Literacy will review all applicants. Only Directors chosen for an interview will be contacted.

Thank you for your interest in supporting Project Literacy!

Casting Call

Auditions will be held at the end of November with the majority of roles performed by seniors.

Two live performances/recordings will take place at the Kelowna Community Theatre – Main Stage, on Sunday, January 23rd, 2022. All are welcomed to attend! Contact [email protected] for ticket information.

 

Learner Success Story

Hamed Ghannad and his wife Faezeh came to Kelowna, from Iran, in December of 2010 because Faezeh got accepted into the PhD program at the University of British Columbia – Okanagan (UBCO). Faezeh completed her PhD and is a food scientist. Hamed has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. They have a son, Ryan, who is 4 years old.

Hamed and Faezeh arrived around Christmas. A time all about family and love. Already feeling homesick, missing family and friends, life for them was not very exciting compared to their lifestyle back home. Hamed and Faezeh found it hard to adjust to their new life in Kelowna. Back home things were very busy and dynamic. Hamed was a rock musician and a manager of engineering projects. Being far from home in a completely new place with no friends was difficult.

Hamed started searching to find things to occupy his time. He heard about Project Literacy and started working one-on-one with a tutor. Meanwhile, he was looking for a job. Hamed’s goal was to advance his English skills and appreciate the culture to a greater degree, so he could find a job in his field. However, there were not many industrial opportunities in Kelowna, at the time, and he had no luck in finding any relatable jobs to his degree and work experience. He soon started looking for other options.

Hamed’s tutor, Ryan Klassen, supported him a lot and helped him in developing his language skills and understanding Canadian culture. Hamed and Ryan are still good friends today.

Attending Project Literacy was the highlight of Hamed’s life. At the time he was lonely and didn’t have friends. Project Literacy helped him to improve his communication skills giving him confidence to make friends. Making friends brought excitement back into his life, and kept him busy. He thought it was great to know the stories of other immigrants and he made new lifetime friends.

Hamed got a job as a produce clerk at Peter’s Your Independent Grocer. After a year and a half, Hamed was promoted to Produce Manager. Hamed worked hard as a Manager; happily working overtime, if needed. He loved the environment and tried his best to make it better. Hamed used his management skills from previous experience back in Iran to run the department before he was offered the job six months later. Hamed increased sales by 42% in his first year as Manager and was one of the top selling produce departments in all Your Independent Grocers. Hamed is thankful to Peter, the owner of Peter’s Your Independent Grocer, for giving him the chance to grow and advance his managerial skills in Canada. Being far away from family, Hamed looks to Peter as a father figure.

Hamed worked for 8 years as the Produce Manager. After Faezeh graduated with her PhD, Hamed started his own business. He felt it was time to move on and found an opportunity he liked so he went for it. With seven years in the cement industry, back home, he was familiar with the concept and confident enough to start his own business. Hamed’s business: Stone Brothers Countertops Ltd., prepares and installs countertops and takes on renovation projects in bathrooms and kitchens.

Faezeh is doing great. After her graduation in 2015, she is leading R&D projects in the Pharmaceutical and Natural Health Products. Ryan, who is named after Hamed’s tutor, loves painting, singing, making art and biking. He graduated from daycare and is starting kindergarten in September.

 
Ryan Ghannad graduating Kindergarten.
All these years and through ups and downs of a life of an immigrant, Hamed kept his music career alive. His band “The Ways” is still producing music for fans in Iran and other countries. You can stream “The Ways” music through Instagram, Spotify, SoundCloud and YouTube.

Hamed is grateful for all the opportunities and great people that he has met over the past ten years of his journey in Canada.

 
A big welcome to our new Office Administrator, April King!
April started with us on Thursday, September 8th. She has a background in Theatre and has worked for several local charities before joining Project Literacy.
 

Volunteer Fair a Huge Success!

Volunteers Jeff and Amir at the KCR Volunteer Fair.

The annual Central Okanagan Volunteer Fair was held on Saturday, September 18th. There was a record number of people interested in volunteering for Project Literacy. At the end of the Fair, over 50 people had signed up for volunteer tutoring. A big thank you to Jeff, Amir and Bev for helping Elaine and April with our volunteer booth! We received over 50 applications from people interested in volunteering as a tutor for adults or to help children in grades 1-4 with their reading.

 
We’re Recruiting New Board Members!
The Project Literacy Central Okanagan Society is currently looking to expand their Governance Board of Advisors. Our thoughtful and innovative Board helps set the tone and direction of Project Literacy. We have a wide range of skills and backgrounds on our Board and, above all, we are passionate community builders that care deeply about the success and growth of Project Literacy. If you’re interested in learning more about this opportunity or if you have questions about our Board of Advisors, please reach out to our Recruitment Committee Chair, Alexandra Reid at [email protected].
 
The Community Care Garden wraps up another great season of providing vegetables and Food Literacy information to our community.
 
A big thank you to volunteers Byron, Meg, Alida, Lucky and all the staff at Project Literacy and KCR for keeping the garden well-watered over the summer months!
 

Raise-a-Reader

Our annual September Raise-a-Reader fundraiser was held, again, during September and we have raised over $25,000! A huge thank you to the many supporters and volunteers who donated to Raise-a-Reader! All donations received during the month of September are topped up by the provincial government; making September the best month to donate! All funds raised during Raise-a-Reader go towards supporting our One-to-One Children’s Reading and Adult Literacy Program.
 
 
Project Literacy is very grateful for the support of our community partners
 

 

 

 Summer 2021 Newsletter

 

Remember Your Toes

Remember your toes? Those five little digits living at the end of your foot. When you start to think your life is tough, think of them. Hidden away in socks and shoes most of the year. Living with poor ventilation, restricted movement and questionable hygiene. Living close to the ground and kept in the dark, they seldom receive any real attention. Still, they carry on, day to day, living a quiet, thankless, unassuming life with only the occasional nail clipping as appreciation for all they do.

Their glamourous cousins, our fingers, steal all the attention. Fingers live flashy lives right out in the open. They spend most of their life feeling their way around. They get to open doors, carry popcorn, dance across keyboards, drive our car and run through our hair. They are the first part of our body to be decorated with rings and nail polish. Our ears and thumbs try to compete, but it’s really our fingers who get to live the life of minor celebrities.

There is only one time of year when our toes get to shine. That’s the Good ‘ol Summertime! Released from their confinement, they are finally allowed out in the open. They can breathe in the fresh air in a pair of opened toes shoes or sandals. And if the weather is really hot, they delight in waves of ups and downs from a fast-moving flip flop.

Ah…summer!

Toes in the sand. Toes in the water. Toes on the grass. Toes in the air! Toes. Toes. Toes. For these few months we forget our hands and marvel at our feet. How freeing it is to have our toes out in the open. “Hey there little guys”, we ask, “How have you been?”

If they could answer, they might say, “Well, you could wash your socks more often. You could keep the shower tub a little cleaner, and it wouldn’t hurt if you reached down and scrubbed between us once and a while, seriously!”

Over the summer, enjoy the sunshine, the beach, and the hot weather. And remember to thank your toes. It’s their season too!

Paul Zuurbier,
Executive Director

 
Celebrating our 35th Anniversary!
We are so grateful and excited to be celebrating our 35th Anniversary. A huge thank you to all the dedicated volunteers, Board members and staff who have helped to ensure the needed literacy support Project Literacy provides has continued for all these years. Project Literacy is still the only literacy based, non-profit, charity organization providing free literacy support services to children, families, adults and seniors in the Central Okanagan. We continue to support over 250 individuals each year. Many of our learners have gone on to become successful businesspeople and professionals in this community. With your support we look forward to continuing our legacy of diverse and accessible literacy support for low income families and immigrants in the Central Okanagan.
 

Owners of the Bai Tong Restaurant and Project Literacy

Kitti and Jamjit Karunyasopon and their two young sons arrived in Kelowna in 2000. They came  from Thailand where they had professional careers and strong family ties. Kitti and Jamjit  made the decision to emigrate to Canada because of the opportunities Canada offered them and their young family. When they arrived in Kelowna, Kitti and Jamjit spoke little English and spent several difficult years in this new, very alien environment. They felt isolated and insecure, not knowing Canadian customs or culture. They were determined to open a Thai restaurant in Kelowna to provide their family with a financially secure future, but to do so, they needed to improve their English literacy skills.
In 2004, Kitti and Jamjit were referred to Project Literacy (Project Literacy Central Okanagan Society) and this changed their lives. They not only learned English but were encouraged to achieve their goals and, as Kitti said “to never give up.” In 2006, they opened Bai Tong restaurant with Kitti managing the restaurant and Jamjit preparing delicious, authentic Thai food.  Bai Tong is located at 275 Bernard and has an outdoor patio. In 2007, the whole family became Canadian citizens.
For the past 17 years Kitti and Jamjit have been giving back to the community. They returned to Project Literacy frequently and offered jobs in their restaurant to other Canadian immigrants. They have volunteered extensively in the community and, throughout the years, have donated their time and money to several agencies and foundations.
In 2012, Kitti and Jamjit partnered with Project Literacy on a fundraiser. The month-long event called “Dine & Donate,” raised $4000.
Their son, Poom returned to Bangkok, Thailand and trained at the Blue Elephant Cooking School and Restaurant. He now plays a key role at Bai Tong and has continued their very generous contributions to Project Literacy. Similar fundraisers were held in 2013, 2016, 2017 and 2019. Over the past 14 years, Kitti, Jamjit and Poom, through their Bai Tong Restaurant fundraisers, have contributed close to $10,000 to Project Literacy.
In celebration of our 35th Anniversary, Project Literacy is honoured to recognize this outstanding family which has given so much to the greater community of Kelowna. At Project Literacy we continue to thrive, in part, because of the generosity and commitment of people like Kitti and Jamjit who give back to an organization which has meant so much to their family.

Check out Bai Tong for authentic Thai cuisine. 

 
 

2021 Annual General Meeting

Our AGM was held on June 15. It was well attended by all the Board of Directors, Staff and many volunteers. Project Literacy’s ability to continue to thrive during the pandemic was noted in the President’s report along with our ability to successfully provide all our programs online when needed, and the dedication of the staff in keeping the Learning Centre open and safe for in-person tutor and learner matches.
The past year saw the creation of the Community Care Garden, a community partnership with KCR Community Resources, the development of online versions of our Adult Tutoring and Children’s Reading Programs, and the on-line delivery of our Immigrant Parents as Literacy Supporters Program.
The Board of Directors remains unchanged as we go into our new fiscal year, with Laurie Evans continuing as Board President, Shirley Hutchinson, continuing as Vice President, Colin Kirkpatrick continuing as Treasurer, Alexandra Reid continuing as Board Secretary and Charlene Covington, Rebecca Desjarlais, Jane Cartwright, and Jamie Piercy continuing as Board Directors.
The Board and Staff are looking forward to the year ahead and the continued celebration of our 35th Anniversary!
 

Emily the Summer Student

Project Literacy is pleased to have Emily Chu join our team as a summer student. Emily will be working as our Promotion and Education Coordinator until the end of August. Emily will be supporting our social media campaign and will assist with the Summer Reading Program. Emily is going into her third year in Fine Arts at the University of British Columbia.
 

Project Literacy launches Children’s Summer Reading Program!

We’re thrilled to be offering a summer reading program for children going into grades 2 and 3. The Summer Reading Program will take place twice for three weeks during the summer. The program will take place at the Learning Centre on Tuesday and Thursdays from 9:30am to 12-noon. There may be some disruption to the regular availability of lesson rooms during program hours. To learn more about our Summer Reading Program, contact Katia Bois: [email protected]
 
The Community Care Garden is now up and running for our second year. This year the Garden is being generously sponsored by Fortis BC. The Community Care Garden provides over 250 lbs of produce each year to families in need of fresh produce. Last year the garden supported over 50 families over the spring-summer months (May to September). The Community Care Garden is a partnership with KCR Community Resources. The garden is watered by staff and volunteers! Thank you, Byron, Meg and Lauren, for watering on the weekends!!
 

Original Canadian Radio Play Under Development!

Project Literacy is pleased to be producing a radio play with support from the Society for Learning in Retirement. An original script is currently being developed by Lee Karvonen with support from our Executive Director, Paul Zuurbier. Sound design and recording will be done by local recording artist and performer Jodi B.
Auditions for the radio play will be held in late September, with a live performance and recording of the play taking place in November. The majority of the roles will be performed by seniors. Please stay tuned for more information!
 
 

Raise-a-Reader

The annual Raise-a-Reader fundraiser will be held again this year during September. Centered around International Literacy Day (Wednesday, September 8), Raise a Reader is our largest fundraiser of the year! All funds raised during Raise a Reader go towards supporting our children and adult literacy programs.

All funds raised during Raise-a-Reader are matched by the Provincial Government. The best time to donate is in September.

Thank you for supporting Project Literacy!

 

Adult Team Spelling Bee

We are thrilled to be preparing for our third annual Adult Team Spelling Bee! This year the Spelling Bee will be held on Thursday, September 30. Depending on COVID health restrictions in place in September, the Team Spelling Bee will likely again have teams of four competing for the Spelling Bee Trophy and bragging rights for a year! We will begin registering teams for the fundraiser in August.
 
Check out the Project Literacy Facebook and Instagram pages to stay informed and up to date!
 
Meet Lenny the Literacy Llama! Lenny is a fun way to encourage literacy with adults and children. Look for Lenny in our social media and at events!
 
Project Literacy is very grateful for the support of our community partners.

 

 

 Spring 2021 Newsletter

 

The Earth is always open

There is something magical about the Crocus flower. It seems like such a fragile plant, this first flower of Spring. It grows just above the near frozen ground, has almost no stem; its bright tiny blossoms reaching with determination towards the distant sun.  Brave little dudes; facing off against the morning frost and the last weeks of winter. It’s no surprise the Crocus is considered a symbol of hope.

Many of us are looking for signs of hope these days. Perhaps, the best place to find it is close to the ground. The earth is a great starting point for hope. If trust is built upon the firm reliability of someone or something, then the earth can be appreciated as a very reliable partner. It keeps us alive.

And yet, the earth often remains the elephant in the room. The one thing we need most, but seldom discuss in relation to our physical and mental health. Technology is always evolving. Governments and societies change. Even viruses like COVID will eventually pass. If you’re needing some hope during this time of uncertainty, it may be helpful to spend some thoughtful time outside, pause, take a deep breath and really connect with nature. Feel the earth beneath your feet. More than anyone, the earth knows what we need and it is always open.

Paul Zuurbier,
Executive Director

 

 

 

Get Going with Literacy Contest!

We have launched our first online fundraiser! Get Going with Literacy is a fun contest- fundraiser, which runs until Saturday, April 24. The contest involves submitting a photo or video related to your favourite type of literacy.  If you like to cook, this involves food literacy, if you like yoga, this is physical literacy, if you like music, this is musical literacy, if you like to dance, this is cultural literacy (every culture has a unique dance style). Be creative and create a photo or video, which inspires others to vote for your entry! There are prizes for best photo and video, plus People’s Choice prizes. Enter your favourite photo here: www.gogophotocontest.com/getgoingwithliteracy

All funds raised go towards supporting our free literacy programs for children, families and adults.

 

Learner Spotlight – Jane and Gerry

Jane, her husband Scott and their three boys are from Korea. The education system in Korea is intense. The children study many subjects from morning to night. The children are so busy there is not enough time to play. They often lack sleep, and they can be very stressed. By comparison, in Canada children have more variety in the subjects they study at school. The children seem to be more relaxed and happier.

Jane and Scott came to Canada for the children to benefit from a Canadian education and to learn English. They believe Canada is a safe place to live. Jane and her family enjoy exploring the Okanagan and going camping.

When first arriving in Canada Jane was unable to speak any English. Jane’s greatest need was to learn to have a conversation in English. She wanted to understand English for everyday use such as shopping, appointments, discussions with her children’s teachers and for finding work.

 
Jane heard about Project Literacy through KCR Community Resources. Jane met with Elaine, one of our Education Coordinators. Elaine assesses people who want to be tutored in English. Elaine works closely with the tutors and learners to determine the best match and to make sure the tutor can help the learner reach their literary goal.

Jane was matched with a tutor, Gerry, in October 2018. Jane and Gerry met once a week for a year and a half. Jane started by learning sentence structures, vocabulary, and pronunciation. During Jane and Gerry’s time together, Jane gained confidence and began working as a server.

Jane would discuss with Gerry the challenges she had at work with her English. Gerry says “To help Jane overcome this challenge we would find ways to use relevant language by role playing as customers and taking telephone orders. This helped Jane feel more comfortable and confident. We laughed a lot!” During COVID Jane has gained a lot of experience taking phone orders at her place of employment and earned a promotion!

Jane continues to make steady progress with her English. Learning English takes time and Jane has taken on the challenge with determination. Jane is continually asking questions and wanting to know more. Jane’s enthusiasm for learning will help her reach her next goal of writing the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) test. Once Jane passes CELPIP, she wants to study English at Okanagan College.

Jane often says, “she waits for Mondays when Gerry and her can meet for coffee!” She enjoys this time because she is relaxed and, at the same time, she is improving her English. She says, “It feels so good!”

 
Project Literacy is celebrating our 35th Anniversary year!

Project Literacy started with a few dedicated volunteers back in 1986. From humble beginnings we’ve grown into a regional organization with over 120 dedicated volunteers and four full-time staff. Together we support over 200 learners a year!For those too young to remember what it was like back in ’86, Female artists were leading the pop charts, with the number one hits like Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Love of All” and “How Will I Know” to Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors” and, of course, Madonna’s “Live To Tell” and “Papa Don’t Preach.”

The number one movie was Top Gun, staring Tom Cruise. Interestingly, Cruise has another Top Gun movie coming out this Spring. The more things change, the more they….

Help us Celebrate!

We are requesting our wonderful volunteers send us their favourite headshot. We’re going to combine these to create a photo collage of the number 35. We’ll then send a print quality file to all our volunteers. If you would like to participate in the project, please email us your photo by Sunday, April 18.  Send to [email protected]There are many more celebrations being planned. Please keep an eye out for notices of events and activities posted around the Learning Centre during the coming year.

 

Room Dedication!

In Celebration of our 35th Year, we are dedicating Lesson Room 3 to long time tutor, Jean Lee. Jean has volunteered with Project Literacy for 30 years. She is our longest serving volunteer. In April, we will be holding a small ceremony to dedicate Room 3 in her honour. If you haven’t been at the Learning Centre for a while, next time you’re here you will notice there are several changes to the room, which are there to help acknowledge the special person it celebrates.
 

Immigrant Parents as Literacy Supporters (IPALS) Program

This year’s IPALS Program supported six Chinese families and six Korean families with young children. For the first time the program was offered online. Katia Bois was the facilitator. The programs take eight weeks to complete and teaches immigrant parents how to develop early literacy skills in their children, so their children can be better prepared for Kindergarten.Here are some photos of this year’s participants:

 

Unplug and Play Week

Interior Savings Unplug and Play Week runs from Sunday, April 18 to Saturday, April 24, 2021. Unplug and Play encourages children, families, and communities to unplug from their screens and explore different ways of spending time together.

Interior Savings Unplug and Play Week provides families with free, community supported activities so they can increase their time spent participating in healthy, interactive fun!

Check out the Unplug and Play Week website to see all the fun happening in the community! www.unplugandplayweek.com

 
 

Project Literacy is producing a new, original Radio Play!

 
Project Literacy has been awarded funding through the New Horizons For Seniors Program to support seniors in the Central Okanagan to write, direct, perform and record an original radio play! We have partnered with the Seniors Learning in Retirement Society to help us connect with seniors who are interested in being involved with the project. The radio play will be recorded and performed in front of a live audience in the fall. If you’ve missed being on stage, or watching a play, stay tuned for more details on auditions and performance dates!
 
 

Design Day For GOOD

 
Project Literacy is honoured to be a part of this year’s Design Day For GOOD. Design Day For GOOD showcases the skills of our local design and marketing professionals by providing local nonprofit organizations with custom-designed collateral materials. Design Day For GOOD is recognized internationally for their professional designations, ethics and standards.

Design Day for GOOD is presented as a way to help build stronger communities through volunteering services. This year’s Design Day takes place on Saturday, April 17.

 
Project Literacy is very grateful for the support of our community partners.

 

 

Winter 2020 Newsletter

 

It’s comin’ on Christmas

Since its original release in 1971, Joni Mitchell’s iconic song ‘River’ has become a surprise Christmas favourite. Its melancholy tone and lyrics of loneliness and regret resonate with many people who find this holiday season emotionally difficult.

I heard the song recently on my drive to work and it made me curious about how Christmas began. Was it always so cheerful? This is what I was able to find out…

Christmas was first declared a formal holiday in England in 1448. Long before this, the Winter Solstice, which takes place on December 21, was celebrated. December 21 is the date when the earth is at its furthest tilt away from the sun, causing maximum darkness and the year’s shortest day. Seems like weeks of long dark days could be cause for some despair, so I decided to continue researching.

Originally Christmas was called ‘The Feast of the Nativity’ by Pope Julius I – who, in the fifth century -dedicated this feast to celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. This was done through ‘The Mass of Christ’ (Christ’s mass, or Christmas). Prior to this, from the time of Emperor Aurelian, in the third century, the Romans celebrated December 25 as ‘Sol Invictus’ The Birthday of the Sun.

The 1953 hit Christmas Song “Cool Yule” by Louis Armstrong, owes its name to the Yule Time celebrations of the Germanic and Scandinavian people. Yule Celebrations predate the celebration of Christmas by hundreds of years. Still, some of today’s most cherished holiday traditions have their origin in Yule Time. These include:

  • Holly – which was hung inside to bring good luck and to celebrate the start of longer days
  • Mistletoe – a feminine symbol representing fertility, was worn by young women
  • The Yule Tree – a symbol of continual life, used to celebrate the return to light, is now our Christmas Tree
  • Wreaths – symbolize the wheel of the year and the completion of another cycle. They were made of evergreens, adorned with cones and berries, and hung as decorations
  • Caroling – The word ‘Carol’ means dance or song of praise! As with today, Carols were sung out loud in a group as songs were shared with the community.

Although the end of December represents the year’s darkest days, our collective human heritage for this time of year is full of celebration. The time of Christmas, for both Christians and non-Christians, is a celebration of the light we bring each other and the light to come.

Paul Zuurbier,
Executive Director

 

‘WOOL FOR WINTER’ CAMPAIGN

Keep you and your loved ones warm this holiday season!

Project Literacy’s ‘Wool For Winter’ Campaign offers women and men’s cozy merino wool socks for $10/pair (includes taxes). Funds raised will be used to support our community literacy programs. Merino wool socks are a must-have in the cold season and are great to wear while reading by the fire.

To assist you with your order please contact Kate at [email protected] or at 250-762-2163

 

Learner Spotlight – Mohammed and Dennis

Mohammad is from Yemen. He has his PhD in Electrical Engineering. Mohammad came to Kelowna, in 2017, to work on his PhD at the University of British Columbia Okanagan (UBCO). He initially arrived by himself, leaving his wife, Fatima, and their two children behind. Fatima and the children were reunited with Mohammad in 2018.

Mohammed wanted to improve his accent and to learn Canadian customs. He was referred to Project Literacy by fellow students at the university. At Project Literacy, Mohammed met with Elaine, one of our Education Coordinators. Elaine works closely with the tutors and learners to determine the best fit, and to make sure the tutor can help the learner reach their literacy goals. Elaine paired Mohammed with Dennis and they have been working together since April 2019.Mohammed says, “working with Dennis has helped my verbal communication when lecturing at UBCO.” His success in the One-to-One Adult tutoring program inspired his wife, Fatima, to learn English. Learning English has helped Fatima to connect to community and enjoy her time in Canada. She is also working with a tutor through the One-to-One Adult tutoring program.

Dennis believes “the trust factor has helped Mohammed discuss more personal details and given him a better understanding of Canadian life and how to pursue his goals in that context.” For example, Mohammed did not know about taxes. He has a goal to purchase a house but was unaware that owning a house incurs extra taxes. He had to learn that the more income a person earns the more tax the person pays. Additionally, in the 18 months of working together there has been a significant change in Mohammed’s accent. Mohammed has worked hard to improve his accent and to learn Canadian customs. Due to COVID-19 restrictions and isolating Mohammed has had fewer chances to practice English. He is thankful for the opportunity to continue meeting with Dennis at Project Literacy’s Learning Centre. With so many places closed or providing limited seating, the Learning Centre is one of the few places they can meet during COVID-19.

 

New Three-Year Strategy Plan

The Board of Directors are pleased to announce the development of our next Three-Year Strategic Plan. The plan is being developed with the support of our Executive Director and a consultant, Avril Paice. The plan will be approved at the January, 2021 Board Meeting. It will be used to guide the direction of Project Literacy from 2021 to 2024.
 

Story Walk in Celebration of National Child Day

Project Literacy was please to support the Early Years Partnership Story Walk. Children’s stories were placed on large signs in 10 Kelowna Parks to help celebrate November 20th, National Child Day!
 

Immigrants Parents as Literacy Supporters Program (IPALS)

Project Literacy is pleased to offer the IPALS Program again this winter. This year the program is being offered to Korean and Chinese immigrant families. IPALS is an eight week program which provides early literacy instruction to young parents, so they can teach early literacy skills to their children before they begin kindergarten. IPALS is funded through our Provincial Partner, Decoda Literacy Solutions and is made possible through our partnership with KCR Community Resources and the Okanagan Family Hub.
 

2020 Team Spelling Bee Champions!

Congratulations to the winning team, ‘Agraphia-ites’ from the Provincial Court of BC. The team was headed by our very own Board Member Jane Cartwright. Our Second Annual Team Spelling Bee was held on Thursday, September 24. We look forward to seeing new and returning teams at the Spelling Bee next year!
 
Project Literacy Learners Pass Difficult Exam!

The Canadian English Language Proficiency Index (CELPIP) is a general English language proficiency exam. CELPIP allows test takers to demonstrate their ability to function well in English. The test assesses English language abilities in a variety of everyday situations, such as communicating with co-workers and managers in the workplace, interacting with friends, understanding newscasts, and interpreting and responding to written materials.The CELPIP exam is very challenging. At Project Literacy our tutors work closely with their learners to prepare them for the test.

A big congratulations to Sajjad, Sergei, Andrea and Lucky who worked hard and recently passed their CELPIP test!

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Project Literacy Staff (from left to right; Kate, Elaine, Paul, Katia) wish you a warm holiday season filled with love, peace and joy.
 

The Learning Centre will be closed for the Holidays on Thursday, December 24. We will reopen on Monday, January 4th.  The Board of Directors and all the staff wish you a wonderful Holiday Season!

 
Project Literacy is very grateful for the support of our community partners.

 

 

Fall 2020 Newsletter

 

Learning Moves in Autumn

I remember the excitement of starting back to university in the fall. For good or bad, summer was over. The work, the romance, the adventure, the long nights, and warm mornings were pulling in on themselves, slowly rolling into memory like a warm hoodie tucked under new books and a squished lunch at the bottom of my pack.

Ahead were all the new courses I’d registered for, and behind them, my dream of an English degree and perhaps the start of a career as a writer or copy editor for some nouveau advertising firm. Fall was always a time of moving forward.

Back then I never stopped to wonder what would happen if my feet couldn’t race with my mind; if the excitement of learning wasn’t matched by the rush of running across campus to make the next class. Or the lurch and slippery dash along a tiled floor to line up with a professor for coffee. Or the simple thrill of being squeezed in last before the bus driver closed the door and steered the bus away from campus.

Going to college or university online, will eventually be a memory for today’s students.  I hope their virtual learning still allows them to find new ways to race across the grass, run up stairs, bump into people and catch the rush of life between classes.

Paul Zuurbier,
Executive Director

 

September is Raise-a-Reader and Literacy Month

Every year in September, Project Literacy, and the Daily Courier team up to for the annual Raise-a-Reader Campaign. Raise-a-Reader is sponsored by Post Media. All funds donated during September are topped up by the Provincial Government.

This year, Project Literacy is encouraging donors to donate online, or attend one of our fundraising events. The Virtual Team Trivia fundraiser is taking place on Tuesday, September 22. Teams of two to six can participate in this fun event. To register go here. Our Second Annual Team Spelling Bee is taking place on Thursday, September 24. Registration is open until September 18. For more information, go to Project Literacy.

 

Community Care Gardens

The first summer of the Community Care Garden will wrap up at the end of September. The Garden Boxes have been a huge success and have enabled Project Literacy and our partner, KCR Community Resources, to provide fresh vegetables to over 50 families since vegetables started growing in May. A huge thank you to the following volunteers for helping to support the garden over the past five months:

Gerry Hewitt, Meg Hinton, Oksana Sadkina, Heather Muir,
Judith Gunderson, Bev Mallett, Alida Oenema and Lucky Zhang
 
A Big Welcome to our Newest Board Member!
The Board and Staff of Project Literacy are pleased to welcome Charlene Covington as our newest Board Member. Charlene joined the Board in August.
 

Welcome Kate De Kruif!

We are pleased to welcome Kate De Kruif as our new Office Administrator. Kate is taking over for Sarah who left in July to start her career as an Occupational Therapist. Kate has a degree in Business Administration from Okanagan College and is a mother of four teenage boys.

 

Welcome Back Katia!

We’re thrilled to be welcoming Katia back after her one-year maternity leave. Katia gave birth to her son Marcus just over a year ago and will be starting back with us on Monday, September 21. Please feel free to drop by anytime between Monday and Friday to say hi.

 
 

Learning Centre Open Wednesday Evening! 

We are extending our hours on Wednesday nights until 7pm. Wednesday is the only evening the Learning Centre is open for Tutors and Learners to meet, or for new learners to come in and meet with one of our Literacy Coordinators. We’ll be staying open Wednesday nights starting Wednesday, September 30th.

 

Adult Team Spelling Bee, Thursday, September 24

The Second Annual Adult Team Spelling Bee is taking place Thursday, September 24 at the Coast Capri Hotel.  We currently have seven teams of four registered to compete. If you know of anyone who would like to join in the fun and help raise money for children’s literacy, please have them contact Kate at 250-762-2163 or k[email protected]

The Team Spelling Bee is part of our Raise-a-Reader campaign, which runs until the end of September. All funds raised from Raise-a-Reader to be topped up by the Provincial Government.

 
A big thank you to Kelowna’s 100 Women Who Care for supporting Project Literacy with their group donation for August! Their donations came at the start of our Raise-a-Reader campaign and will be used to help support literacy programs for adults and children in the Central Okanagan.
 
Project Literacy is grateful for the ongoing support of our Community Partners.