As September is literacy month, the Lifelong Learning Centre and their many partners in literacy will highlight literacy and learning throughout the start of autumn.
COVID-19 has highlighted how health literacy, digital literacy, financial literacy and workplace literacy can make a significant difference to personal outcomes. This past year, the Lifelong Learning Centre has provided valuable programming to ensure that children, families and individuals could continue to grow and share learning even while distancing and staying safe.
Working with community partners and donors, Comox Valley residents have been able to receive access to free laptops and at-home family activities, use an onsite internet café to connect with government and health services and enjoy storywalks in the community throughout the pandemic restrictions.
This fall the centre is launching a Community Book Bike to bring literacy into outdoor spaces where families gather.
“While we recognize that the model for reading and learning is traditionally an indoor one, we are hoping that by bringing books into public spaces in an engaging way, we can encourage families and children to recognize that any space can include the joy of reading,” said executive director Peter Bazovsky.
The evolution of the Community Book Bike was a long process. It took a year of fundraising and a generous contribution from First Credit Union to allow the Lifelong Learning Centre to purchase the community resource. By providing free children’s books and information on programming alongside tips for early years literacy and family support programs, the centre sees the bike as a community outreach initiative.
“Our community has a huge number of services for both individuals and families, and even selecting one or reaching out for assistance can be a daunting prospect,” Bazovsky said. “We hope that by offering conversations and recommendations for programming in community settings, parents can feel supported in navigating their families needs.”
The centre is also hoping to recruit community members to ride the bike or provide donations of gently used children’s books.
Initiatives like the storywalks and the Community Book Bike are costly and depend on community support. As a small grassroots agency, the Lifelong Learning Centre relies on donations and support from local businesses to cover costs and develop new programs annually.
Sept. 14 to 21 of this year is Postmedia’s Raise a Reader week in British Columbia and the Lifelong Learning Centre will be actively seeking community donations throughout Literacy Month. Contributions of time, energy and funds are always appreciated.
To learn more about the centre’s work, donate to their initiatives or volunteer your services, call 250.338.9906, visit their website at cvllc.ca or catch up with the Community Book Bike in a local park or playground.