Wendy Aasen (left), executive director of the Literacy Society of the North Okanagan, enjoys a friendly game of Scrabble with the society’s president, Bill Miller while promoting the society’s new name and location on Sept. 20. (Erin Christie/Morning Star

New name, same services

While their mission to spread the seeds of literacy and learning throughout the North Okanagan remains the same, residents can expect some other major changes from the Junction Literacy Centre this fall.

While their mission to spread the seeds of literacy and learning throughout the North Okanagan remains the same, residents can expect some other major changes from the Junction Literacy Centre this fall.

It began with the transfer of operation of the Teen Junction from the society to the Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs in May and has culminated in a new name and location.

Under their new moniker — the Literacy Society of the North Okanagan, the non-profit society will operate out of the third floor of the People Place on 27th Avenue.

These changes, explained society president Bill Miller, come as a result of board’s desire to “purify” their services.

“Two years ago, the board of Junction Literacy Centre met for strategic planning and we identified that it was becoming more and more of a challenge for the society to do two different mandates and do them well — deliver youth services and literacy services and deliver them well for the community.” Miller said.

During this session, he continued, the board realized that while there were “some similarities and overlap” between the two services, to deliver the best programming for both it made sense to separate and have each organization focus on their core competencies.

“With Teen Junction we had this significant asset — this great building that the community raised money for and it was a fantastic youth centre, so it was really important to us as a staff and board to make sure that continued on, and we were really fortunate to be able to partner with Okanagan Boys and Girls Club to look after that.”

In regard to the new location, the society’s executive director Wendy Aasen said the 27th Avenue building is a much more central location that she feels will be more easily accessible to people in the community.

In addition to the new space, Aasen said the society will continue to offer the same programming as the former Junction Literacy Centre, as well as their popular flagship fundraiser, the annual Adult Spelling Bee Challenge, which is slated for April 25, 2018.

Aasen said the society is also hoping to offer expanded programming in financial literacy as well as more tutorial help for people learning new technology. New donations to help fund these, and other programs, are always welcome, she noted. To put that into perspective, she added, every $35 donated provides a student with a full hour of one-on-one tutoring.

Moving forward, Miller and Aasen said the board and staff are looking forward to a “fresh start.”

“It’s a win-win,” Aasen added. “We just want the community to know we’re still out here. We’re still operating the same programming, but with a more fresh, focused approach to literacy.”

To learn more about the Literacy Society of the North Okanagan, donate or find out how you can volunteer visit www.literacysociety.ca.