Literacy alliance snaps up provincial honour

The Literacy Alliance of the Shuswap Society is the recipient of the 2012 Council of Federation Literacy Award

Cavelle Layes

Black Press

The Shuswap gets an ‘A’ in literacy.

The Literacy Alliance of the Shuswap Society is the recipient of the 2012 Council of Federation Literacy Award.

Dave Witt, North Okanagan-Shuswap School District superintendent, nominated the alliance for the B.C. recipient earlier this year.

The award was given to LASS for the immense amount of work the organization provides in the community.

“Virtually every citizen in the North Okanagan-Shuswap has benefited from the variety and quality of the programs that LASS has developed and nurtured,” said Premier Christy Clark during her announcement of the award.

“An enhanced regard and enthusiasm for literacy has been woven into the fabric of these communities under their guidance.”

The Council of the Federation Literacy Award covers the entire spectrum of the field, including family, aboriginal, health, workplace and community literacy, and is given to recognize the excellence of educators, volunteers, learners, and community organizations (including non-governmental organizations) and businesses in each province and territory.

LASS has brought many programs to the Shuswap community that have benefits in most of these areas.

Some of their accomplishments include the Coyote Cafe, where young aboriginal students can strengthen their reading abilities through play, puppet shows, group and one-on-one reading, among other methods.

Coyote Cafe has just ended their pilot year and work is already underway towards expanding the program for next year.

Other programs run by LASS are Unplug and Play Family Literacy Week, which has close to 1,300 participants take part each year, Save/Spend/Share Financial Literacy Program, a program which provides students with the chance to learn about the importance of setting financial goals and One-to-One Children’s Literacy Program, which involves 200 community volunteers in 13 different schools.

“Literacy is a gateway every individual must pass through if they are to become fully engaged citizens,” said George Abbott, B.C.’s education minister and  Shuswap MLA.

“Groups like LASS help create the opportunity for everyone, no matter what their background, to achieve that goal,” says Abbott.

Witt is delighted the value of his nomination was recognized by the panel.

“I am thrilled for the recognition this award brings to the outstanding work being done by the Literacy Alliance of the Shuswap Society,” says Witt.

“LASS is an amazing volunteer group, which, in two short years, has proven to be a force in providing literacy opportunities for those in need – from babies to seniors – in the large geographical region which is the North Okanagan-Shuswap district.”