Words and Wine

I used to believe that literacy meant a person could read. That was before I got to know the folks at Project Literacy Kelowna Society (a United Way funded Community Partner Agency) and learned that literacy is a much broader spectrum of abilities beyond reading and writing.

Many of us take our literacy skills for granted, but think back to your life-changing milestones (graduations, new jobs). Most of these achievements were possible because you had the tools to make positive changes happen in your own life.

More than 15,000 adults in the Central Okanagan lack the necessary literacy skills to meet the demands of a knowledge-based society. This would prevent them from achieving their dreams, if Project Literacy did not exist.

“I have found help at Project Literacy,” says one client. “I was halfway through my math course, when I was advised that it would no longer be accepted at the college to which I had applied. I had to start all over again with a much more complex math. I contacted Project Literacy and they provided me with volunteer math tutors! I received an A in the subject and I could not have accomplished this without them.”

Blair Lischeron is the Executive Director for Project Literacy Kelowna Society.

The ability to keep a job, secure a new one, enroll in higher education or leave a life of social assistance have been important milestones achieved by many of our learners. The community economy is enhanced when learners have higher literacy levels. Learners pull themselves out of poverty and chronic under-employment by increasing their literacy, which opens more educational and employment opportunities. Improved literacy levels are correlated with greater educational outcomes, higher employment rates, increased job retention, higher earnings, reduced transition time between jobs, improved job maintenance and advancement, increased self-confidence, and most importantly enhanced community engagement. All of these benefits enrich the Central Okanagan community.”

Project Literacy Kelowna Society is celebrating its 25th Anniversary with “Words and Wine” at the Laurel Packinghouse on June 8, 2012. Tickets are $40 and are available at their office at #205-591 Bernard Avenue, by calling their office at 250-762-2163, or at Mosaic Books on Bernard Avenue. The event is proudly sponsored by Mosaic Books, Harmony Honda and Harmony Acura.

Change starts here, because volunteer tutors share their skills to help others. More information on Project Literacy Kelowna Society can be found at http://www.projectliteracykelowna.org/ .

To find out how you can be part of change, visit unitedwaycso.com.


More Change Starts Here articles

About the Author

The mission of United Way is to improve lives and build community by engaging individuals and mobilizing collective action.

We call this our Community Impact Mission. Community impact is about achieving meaningful, long-term improvements to the quality of life in Canadian communities, by addressing not just the symptoms of problems but also getting at the root causes. It’s about making fundamental changes to community conditions.

United Way is achieving this mission by moving people from poverty to possibility, promoting healthy people and strong communities, and supporting all that kids can be.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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