Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Raise-a-Reader Campaign

PROVINCE MATCHES FUNDING
FOR RAISE-A-READER CAMPAIGN

NANAIMO – The Province is contributing more than $46,000 in matching funding to the Nanaimo Daily News 2008 Raise-a-Reader campaign, Nanaimo-Parksville MLA Ron Cantelon announced today.

“Literacy challenges affect people of all ages and all walks of life,” said Cantelon. “This campaign is a tremendous support for the more than one million B.C. adults who struggle with such tasks as ordering from a restaurant menu, reading the newspaper or understanding a prescription.”

Proceeds from the Raise-a-Reader campaign stay in the community where they were collected, and they are distributed to local organizations to improve literacy for children and families. A local committee has been established to select recipients of this year’s campaign.

“We’re excited about the amount of money raised this year and we thank the public and our sponsors,” said Les Gould, circulation manager for the Nanaimo Daily News. “We are just as excited to work with organizations applying for funding, to give them the ability to aid and further literacy within out Nanaimo Daily News delivery area through non-profit projects.”

Nine newspaper outlets in B.C. now participate in the Raise-a-Reader campaign, with Kamloops and Tofino/Ucluelet launching campaigns for the first time this year. Other communities that participated in the 2008 Raise-a-Reader campaign include Vancouver, Victoria, Port Alberni, Kelowna, Penticton and Prince George. More than 180 organizations throughout B.C will benefit from the money raised through street sales of CanWest papers, and the Province is matching these funds. Since 2004, the Province has contributed nearly $3.3 million to the campaign.

The Raise-a-Reader campaign was first launched in Vancouver in 1997. Since then, Raise-a-Reader and its sponsors have made significant contributions to help improve literacy for children and families not only across the province, but also across Canada.

“Once again, the Raise-a-Reader campaign in B.C. was a huge success,” said Education Minister Shirley Bond. “We are very proud that British Columbians are giving such strong support for literacy programs in their communities. We made a commitment to match funds raised and we continue to do that. Our government recognizes the importance of improved literacy levels, and we are leading the country with this initiative. Nanaimo has strong literacy programs and this incredible total certainly reinforces how much the community cares.”

Since 2001, government has invested more than $150 million in new literacy initiatives, including pre-literacy and early learning programs such as $12 million to operate the kindergarten readiness program Ready, Set, Learn and $2.7 million for the ActNow Literacy Education Activity and Play (LEAP BC) program that encourages literacy, physical activity and healthy eating in preschool-aged children.

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