Education minister ‘goes to bat’ for literacy funding in Comox Valley

The Comox Valley Lifelong Learning Association is able to continue offering programs and events through the next fiscal year.

The Comox Valley Lifelong Learning Association is able to continue offering programs and events through the next fiscal year, thanks to restored funding from the Province.

The group will receive $30,000, as it has the past several years, enabling it to co-ordinate Family Literacy Week, Story Slam and other such events.

On Monday, Comox Valley MLA/Education Minister Don McRae announced government is providing Decoda Literacy Solutions — the provincial literacy body — with a $1 million grant to support programs throughout B.C.

“Although we faced tough choices to remain fiscally responsible, I committed to working with Decoda to try and find additional funds for their co-ordination of community literacy programs,” McRae said in a news release. “I believe strongly in the work they are doing.”

The CVLLA is among 102 literacy groups in B.C. that will receive money.

McRae managed to find an additional $1 million for literacy programs, on top of the $1 million government had initially given this year to Decoda, which requires a minimum $2.5 million for each literacy group in the province. Decoda will provide the remaining $500,000.

“Restoring this funding to a total of $2 million was not easy for the minister and he had to make a very good case for it,” said Brenda Le Clair, Decoda’s chief executive officer.

“We really appreciate he (McRae) went to bat for us,” said Danielle Hoogland, CVLLA literacy outreach co-ordinator.

The group’s Literacy for Change campaign is focused on book distribution to families in the Comox Valley. Research indicates parents reading to children is “quite foundational” to developing a child’s learning practice and reading abilities, Hoogland said.

“Just fostering those initial skills, appreciation for reading and writing.”

The CVLLA will move forward with plans to include a greater number of literacy supports into family programs, and possibly another essential skills session for young parents.

“That program involves potential employers and community services that support young parents in finding employment, learning about employment,” Hoogland said.

“What we really aim to do is initiate that love of learning again.”

Along with McRae, the association appreciates support from its partner organizations and the community at large.

“The letter writing worked,” Hoogland said in reference to a letter writing campaign to reinstate funding.

Visit www.cvliteracy.ca for more information about the CVLLA.

reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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