Barriere and Area Literacy Outreach Volunteers are shown hawking news papers on Raise-A-Reader Day in September. 2019. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 social distancing requirements they will not be hawking the papers in Barriere this year. However, donations can be made online or by contacting Yellowhead Community Services in Barriere. Pictured (l-r) are Louise Lodge, Christine Proulx, Michelle Johnson, Audrey Rilcoe, and Donna Kibble. (YCS photo)

Changes ahead for Barriere Raise-A-Reader fundraiser

Raise-A-Reader is the major fundraiser for youth and family literacy programs in the Barriere area

Volunteers won’t be hawking newspapers this year but Postmedia’s annual Raise-A-Reader Day fundraiser will still be held in Barriere in an effort to raise money for family literacy programs.

The annual event, slated for Sept. 18-25 this year, will involve Barriere volunteers contacting community members and supporters by email or telephone for donations. Anyone who would like to lend their support is asked to contact Barriere and Area Literacy Outreach Coordinator Jill Hayward directly.

“We know the loss of hawking the newspapers will impact what we can raise for our programs, but it is not feasible to ask our volunteers to do that this year,” said Hayward. “However, we still have to fundraise to continue offering these programs. If folks would like to make a donation they can contact me, or they can do it online.”

Raise-A-Reader is the major fundraising event for youth literacy programs in the North Thompson Valley. For every dollar that is donated, it is matched up to 100 percent by a partnership between the province and corporate literacy sponsors. And, best of all, Hayward said, 100 percent of all Raise-A-Reader funds raised in the Barriere area will remain in this area to help provide essential literacy programs for children and families.

Family literacy programs help parents to improve both their parenting and literacy skills while providing young children with early childhood education.

“Helping children to form the letters of the alphabet, to read from a storybook, understand multiplication, become computer literate, and even to become more self-confident as they grow and embrace the world – all have an immense impact on a child’s academic achievement – and all contribute to the foundation of social and economic well being within our communities,” Hayward said.

She noted programs provided by Barriere and Area Literacy Outreach are easily accessible for children and families and in almost all instances are at no charge thanks to funding provided by the annual fundraiser.

Barriere Literacy and Learning programs include the Parent-Child Mother Goose program for families or caregivers of children up to age four, Books For Babies, ABC Literacy Fun Day, Literacy and Learning Summer and Theatre Camps, the annual Indoor Teddy Bear Picnic in January, A New Book For Every Child, Art in The Park, and Tutors For Kids. They also support the One-To-One Reading Program, Strong Start, the Annual Breakfast With Santa, and Kidz Zone at the Fall Fair.

“We’ve had to cut back on some of our programs this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Hayward said. “However, we have become innovative with other ways of connecting with youth and their families. We are also working together with other local volunteer organizations regarding assisting youth and families with literacy needs. Currently, we are putting together plans for what our fall and winter schedule will look like under COVID-19 social distancing health requirements, and hope to have that finalized by the end of this month.”

To donate online to Barriere’s Raise-A-Reader fund go to: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/42475

Be sure you click on the FUND section and then scroll down and click on RAR Barriere for your donation to stay in community.

You can connect with Barriere and Area Literacy Outreach Coordinator Jill Hayward at: jill.h@yellowheadcs.ca, or call 250-319-8023; or contact Yellowhead Community Services at The Ridge in Barriere at 250-672-9773.

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