Raise-a-Reader Day volunteers in orange shirts were out and about throughout the business district of Barriere canvassing for donations towards local youth literacy and learning initiatives on Wednesday, Sept. 26. Pictured in the foyer at Barriere AG Foods are: (l-r) volunteer Susan Hewitt, AG Foods staff person and volunteer Beverly Murphy, District of Barriere councilor and volunteer Donna Kibble, and Barriere and Area Literacy Outreach Coordinator Jill Hayward. Elli Kohnert photo:

Raise-a-Reader raises $3,600 youth literacy in the Barriere area

On Wednesday, Sept.26, the annual Postmedia Raise-a-Reader fundraising campaign once again took to the streets of Barriere in the early morning hours to raise funds that are earmarked to promote youth literacy learning initiatives within the Barriere area (McLure to Little Fort).

Twelve willing volunteers stepped forward to wear the signature orange Raise-a-Reader t-shirts and canvass the public for donations to the program while offering a special Raise-a-Reader newspaper issue from Kamloops This Week. Some took the newspapers and some just made a donation, but each and every one contributing was most appreciated by the Barriere and Area Literacy Outreach program that operates under the umbrella of Yellowhead Community Services.

One hundred per cent of the $3,600 raised within the Barriere area will remain here to assist in funding youth programs such as the weekly Parent Child Mother Goose, Books For Babies, Blue Bookshelves, Breakfast With Santa, ABC Literacy Fun Day, Literacy and Learning Summer Camps, the Teddy Bear Picnic, A New Book For Every Child, Tutors For Kids, and more.

For every dollar that was donated, it will be matched by a partnership between government and corporate literacy sponsors. All of the money raised in Barriere, and the matching funds, will be used for the youth literacy initiatives in Barriere and area.

Barriere and Area Literacy Outreach Coordinator Jill Hayward (who is also the editor of the North Thompson Star/Journal) commented during the Sept. 26 canvassing morning that it was really a rush to get everyone out and about with their newspapers in the community by 7:30 a.m. so as to catch many on their morning commute.

“We get out early so we can hopefully canvass folks stopping at service stations and local restaurants on their way to work,” said Hayward, “We also stop at the schools where parents are dropping off their youngsters, and we pop into all of our local businesses as well.”

Hayward says the annual fundraiser is really what funds the youth literacy programs that she oversees, and that those who donated are very much appreciated.

“We fund the weekly Parent Child Mother Goose (PCMG) sessions at the Ridge for parents or caregivers with children zero to six years old,” said Hayward, “We also welcome the Barriere Success By Six who partner with us on the PCMG initiative so that we can keep it in our community.”

She notes that youth literacy starts at birth, and that as a child learns about their world it is important that the input they are absorbing will have a positive effect on their futures.

“What we teach now lasts a lifetime,” said Hayward.

She also noted a big thank you to the volunteers who helped keep youth literacy supported in the Barriere area; Bev Murphy, Susan Hewitt, Councilor Donna Kibble, Mayor Virginia Smith, District CAO Colleen Hannigan, TNRD Area O Director Bill Kershaw, Laurie Buis, Michelle Johnson, Colleen Tremblay, Audrey Rilcoe and School District 73 Trustee Rhonda Kershaw.

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