Nine years after it began a national campaign to boost literacy, Raise a Reader was out in force Tuesday with more than 200 volunteers greeting people across the city.
At the North Shore McDonald’s, the Kamloops Broncos teamed up, off the gridiron, collecting donations for community literacy programs in exchange for a specialty edition of Kamloops This Week.
“I think it’s important for everyone to know how to read and write; that’s the most important thing,” said Cody Tang. “It’s an everyday tool.”
Volunteers in the familiar orange t-shirts were on hand at Starbucks, A&W, and Tim Horton’s along with McDonald’s outlets to help the cause.
Organized locally by the Kamloops Early Language and Literacy Initiative (KELLI) and Literacy in Kamloops (LinK), the effort last year raised $60,000, boosted to $110,000 by matching government contributions. They’re hoping to match or better that sum this year.
Funds raised in September sustain literacy programs throughout the year, including children’s supports such as Come Read With Me workshops and the One-to-One Children’s Program, as well as adult literacy programs such as the Storybook Project offered by John Howard Society to KRCC inmates. In the latter program, inmates record book readings and send them to their children.
On top of the volunteer drive, the B.C. Ministry of Education is topping up the totals this year with a $500,000 contribution.