Money set aside for literacy project

Ladysmith and Nanaimo are pulling together to help local residents become the most literate in the province. On Jan. 23, the public is invited to a Literacy Launch event at the Coast Bastion Hotel to discuss the community’s literacy needs and help develop a literacy project.

“This meeting is for anyone who is interested in literacy,” said Louise Ward, Ladysmith 0-6 community co-ordinator and member of the Ladysmith-Nanaimo Literacy Now steering committee. “We want to identify the challenges in our communities, set some priorities and develop a program.”

Funded by Literacy Now, Ladysmith-Nanaimo has been awarded $15,000 to establish a plan for a literacy project that meets the needs of the community. Once a project is established the community can apply for more money to get the project started.

The meeting on Jan. 23 will include a presentation about Literacy Now, the process and the commitment involved, along with a working group session in which people will be asked to share their ideas and suggestions.

Ward said all ideas will be welcomed and she hopes people will consider all ages from early childhood to seniors. It’s not only children that face literacy challenges, she said, but often parents and seniors face literacy challenges that stop them from succeeding in life.

According to Statistics Canada, 21.8 per cent of the residents over the age of 20 in Cowichan Valley have not graduated high school and 5.9 per cent of the population in Nanaimo have less than a Grade 9 education.

The province has set aside $5 million for Literacy Now and 60 B.C. communities are taking advantage of the program.

The Literacy Launch event takes place from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Coast Bastion in Nanaimo. RVSP to for catering purposes.

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