In 2017, tutor Chris Martiennson and student Kash Scott were working together. (Photo contributed)

Like to read? Help kids? The Literacy Alliance needs volunteers

Assistance required reading with students as well as computer, cell phone literacy for seniors

“It is hard to identify any other single issue that can have such a large payoff to individuals, the economy and society” – Craig Alexander, economist. Alexander is referring to literacy.

“Literacy matters and we need your help,” says Darcy Calkins, literacy outreach coordinator with the Literacy Alliance of the Shuswap Society (LASS).

LASS is working hard in the North Okanagan-Shuswap to provide literacy support to residents.

“LASS offers many different programs and almost all of our programming is dependent on amazing volunteers. If you have some time and want to get involved in your community, please consider volunteering with LASS. Communities with high literacy levels are among the happiest and healthiest communities to live in,” she says.

Read more: Volunteers wanted to support literacy in the Shuswap

Read more: Okanagan College professor awarded for promiting financial literacy

The largest group of LASS volunteers support the ONE TO ONE Children’s literacy program. LASS trains volunteers to work with students in schools during school hours. These students are identified by their teachers as needing a boost in their literacy skills. The program is aimed at the ‘grey-area students,’ those who do not receive any other resource support directly from the schools (i.e. no designated learning issues) but are not yet reading at grade level.

ONE TO ONE ran in 15 of the 17 local elementary schools and volunteers are needed for all communities. The volunteer commitment for ONE TO ONE is 1.5 hours per week for about 10 weeks. A three-hour training sessions is required to volunteer in this program.

In addition to ONE TO ONE, last year LASS, in partnership with the school district and Valid Manufacturing, ran a 16- week after-school literacy program. All four Salmon Arm schools that ran the program had a LASS volunteer who spent 1.5 hours per week supporting the program. This year, Valid Manufacturing is funding five elementary schools, four in Salmon Arm and one in Enderby.

“This is amazing support of our young people and community by a local company,” says Calkins.

Read more: Bringing literacy to life

Read more: Jam the GM for literacy around the Shuswap

LASS also runs a Cyber Seniors Computer Tutoring Program. Last year this program ran in Sicamous, Enderby, Blind Bay and Salmon Arm. The program runs for six to eight weeks, three times per year. In this program, senior learners are partnered with a volunteer tutor who supports their seniors in learning about technology. The technology varies from cell phones to computers. The volunteers in this program work one hour per week with their learner. You do not need to be a technology expert to volunteer in this program, Calkins explains. All you need is to have patience and one hour a week to spend helping a senior navigate the technology dependent world of 2019.

To sign on as a volunteer or for further information, contact Darcy Calkins at 250-463-4555 or admin@shuswapliteracy.ca. A criminal record check is mandatory for all LASS volunteers.


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